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Maine-based L.L. Bean has taken the top spot in an annual ranking of the nation's leading companies for customer service.

The fourth annual Bloomberg BusinessWeek "customer service champs" rankings gave the No. 1 position to the Freeport outdoor gear and apparel company, ahead of USAA insurance and financial services company and Apple Inc.

Bloomberg cited L.L. Bean for adapting to the way its customers now shop through the design and features of its Web site and its return policies. It also commended the company for keeping its back-office operations in Maine rather than moving them offshore to save money.

L.L. Bean was ranked 24th on last year's list.

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