7 Businesses That Raised the Bar for Customer Service

People share almost everything on social media, sometimes, a little too much. Admittedly, it’s the stories about a company’s wins and gaffes on customer service that catch the attention—and rightfully so. After all, everyone is a customer one way or another.

You may be judging the company by its hashtags nowadays, but there are legitimate organizations that measure customer satisfaction with proper metrics, such as the US American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which ranks companies based on customer evaluations of their goods and services. Aside from US-based firms, they also rank international organizations with substantial US market shares.

Outside of the ASCI rankings though, the following companies have made waves for raising the bar for customer service:

1. Chick-fil-A

Over the last few years, Chick-fil-A saw many ups and downs. But, there are still those who keep coming back for their legendary chicken sandwiches. It may also be because the chain values customer experience in the simplest way possible. According to QSR magazine, Chick-fil-A is statistically the most polite restaurant business chain.

Survey reveals that their employees are the most likely to say “please” and “thank you,” and smile at drive-thru customers when compared to other fast-food chains and that they’re the second best in “pleasant demeanor.”

2. Amazon (Prime)

ACSI said that retail giant Amazon “has mastered the combination of value, satisfaction, and delivery efficiency that consumers love.”

One of their breakthroughs is Amazon Prime, a premium membership that comes with perks like free shipping (for same-day, 2-day, and 2-hour deliveries) for eligible purchases and shipping addresses, free streaming of movies on Prime Video, exclusive shopping deals, and more.

Amazon’s drive is to serve the needs of their customers. CEO Jeff Bezos has said, “Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight will drive you to invent.” Bezos has been known for being meticulous with customer service that he reportedly sat through a 5-minute wait during a customer service call to understand what their buyers are experiencing.

Learn more about Amazon’s efforts toward a better customer experience by reading our recent feature on the Four Comma Club.

3. Zappos

Another retail store, Zappos, goes above and beyond in offering excellent customer service. They’ve been known to surprise customers as ways to connect and engage. There has been an instance when a Zappos employee sent baby blankets to a customer when, during a call, they heard a crying baby in the background. They also make sure to reach out to the audience by hosting events and concerts.

4. Trader Joe’s

Aside from being one of the US’ top employers, Trader Joe’s is also a favorite among buyers. Joe-Joe’s Cookies may be one of the reasons, but ACSI commented that their private label items and organic produce also helped the brand propel its growth.

Their loyal customers love that Trader Joe’s employees are focused on them, creating a personalized experience for each buyer at every local branch. This focus has allowed them to innovate their fast checkout lanes and product recommendations.

5. The Ritz-Carlton

Legendary hotel chain Ritz-Carlton’s service policies are as sophisticated as the hotel itself. Group President and COO Herve Humler believes that employee engagement is the key. Their mission, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” proves that the value they give to their employees is also the value that their customers will experience.

Many great customer service stories have come out of the Ritz-Carlton—in fact, books have been written about it. One story came from author John DiJulius, who left his laptop charger in his guest room at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. He was surprised to find that the hotel had already air-packaged the charger the next day, even before he got the chance to call them about it.

6. Harley Davidson

The motorcycle manufacturer treats every customer like family—specifically the Harley Owners Group (HOG). Anyone who has bought a Harley motorcycle is encouraged to join this group of 300,000-plus members. HOG is more than just a fan club, though, as it connects riders with other riders and the brand itself to help with their bikes’ maintenance.

7. Spotify

A big part of good customer service is knowing and offering what your customers want, until such time that your product or service becomes an integral part of their lives. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek found that people want a better way of listening to music without resorting to piracy, and so, the music streaming service was born.

As an added service, Spotify curates customized playlists and radio stations for each listener based on their listening preferences. In addition, their customer service makes interaction more fun. For instance, they reply to Twitter queries with customized playlists. This makes them more in-tune with the current, internet-savvy generation.

Make Your Own Customer Success Story

Today’s customers are more informed than ever thanks to the information readily available to them, making it a lot easier find the brand they would rally behind. However, this also gives them the power to warn everyone of any company who may have been failing in customer support.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial for businesses to fine-tune their customer service efforts and address the needs of this new generation. There will be more customer service success stories—as well as horrors—for years to come; don’t let yours be a bad one. Make sure to level-up your customer service efforts this year.