When it comes to interacting with companies, modern consumers no longer expect 'good' customer service, but rather exceptional care. Therefore, if your business is falling short on delivering the required criteria – such as quick, attentive, and friendly service to clients – then you need to improve. After all, in an increasingly competitive business climate, you should be aiming to exceed customer expectation – not just meet it.
To illustrate the effect that excellent customer support can have on your organisation – both reputationally and in terms of your bottom line – we've compiled a list of some of the best customer service companies. So, if you're failing to meet the high standards of your clients, and you need a push in the right direction, here are 11 high-profile organisations that can show you how it should be done.
A global consumer and digital goods powerhouse, Amazon proves that the most fundamental element to corporate success lies in the satisfaction of your customers.
Indeed, if you have ever returned or exchanged an item purchased through Amazon, you will likely agree that the entire process is relatively seamless, with each step being simple and clear, while the top man himself drives the relentless "customer-first" mantra of the company. In a now-famous 1999 interview, owner and founder Jeff Bezos claimed that Amazon's entire strategy was built on "obsessing over customer experience", with the user interface of the website, low prices and wide selection of products all geared towards making buyers happy.
Apple's entire brand value is built around the notorious loyalty of its customers, but it's not just about the products: consumers also appreciate that they have access to high standards of customer care when they purchase from the global tech giant.
Through interactions with specially-trained in-store staff members – known as 'geniuses' – consumers feel like they are making strong purchasing decisions, while the company's AppleCare warranty policy sets a gold standard in product aftercare. Indeed, customers who purchase this product will have any no-fault issues with their products resolved promptly and without charge.
A luggage company that – literally and figuratively – goes the extra mile, Away utilises the data of their customers to establish an extensive profile based on previous purchases and their interests. In doing so, they are able to help their customers determine what items are best suited to them, tailoring their entire consumer experience almost exclusively to their own tastes and background.
One of the few downsides to buying products online is that it is difficult to see them in the flesh – a big problem if how they look or feel is key to their purchase.
Mattress company Casper is aware of this issue, offering a unique solution to help their customers make a more informed buying decision; through the creation of a bricks-and-mortar 'Dreamery', potential buyers can book a 45-minute time slot on which to have a quick nap and test drive their potential purchase. In doing so, the company proves that it wants customers to make the right decision and helps them to arrive at that goal.
As anyone with a Costco Wholesale membership will likely testify, this is one of the top companies for excellent customer service. Aside from a competitively low pricing structure, a wide range of products, and even free samples in-store, the company operates a very generous returns policy.
As if that wasn't enough, Costco has also been awarded multiple service awards – well-earned recognition for their service-oriented corporate culture.
Delta Airlines is renowned for its public relations wins, and this includes their consistently customer-centric outlook. With user-friendly mobile and online booking capabilities, luxurious airport lounges, and a reputation for keeping their flights on schedule, the Atlanta-based carrier continues to attract favourable feedback for the way it handles its operations.
Should a dilemma arise, Delta's customer service representatives are known for being attentive and friendly, too, helping passengers to resolve their problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Based in New York City, cosmetics firm Glossier have an interesting and unique approach to customer service; its support and marketing teams are combined into a single unit. This means that the suggestions, concerns and recommendations of customers are all seen by the company's promotional people, giving them a clear and exact idea of what their consumers want.
Glossier also has a favourable loyalty programme in place, whereby existing customers can offer a discount code to friends and family. In turn, this will get them a discount off their next purchase, turning a goodwill gesture into a shrewd marketing move, too.
Regardless of which of IKEA's 300-plus stores that consumers step foot into, they are getting the same experience in each one. This is because the company understands who its customers are and what they need.
From free play centres for small children, in-store cafés and restaurants, to their online virtual reality room design apps, IKEA designs everything to make life easier for customers. This is particularly evident in each store's iconic arrow-based layout, as well as the easy-to-assemble transportable flatpack furniture that is the company's hallmark.
The one-time DVD rental-turned-streaming service may have struck upon a golden business model, but there's more to Netflix than video content. Because there is such a wealth of insightful data available regarding customer viewing habits, every user's experience of the platform will be tailored and unique – a core component of modern consumer trends. Indeed, these habits even shape the content itself, with the production viability of much of Netflix's original material drawn from this same data pool.
Netflix is also famously easy to use and navigate, too, with availability across multiple platforms and technical support readily available to anybody who requires it.
The Ritz London
A brand that has been associated with luxury and sophistication since its inception in 1911, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company provides a level of service to customers that match its high status.
Staff members pay attention to the smallest details and requests of guests, with each one receiving something akin to personalised and unique service. Termed by the company as 'Gold Standards', the emphasis is placed upon addressing customers by name, anticipating and fulfilling their needs, and always ensuring that first and last impressions are warm, personable and memorable – a process that is translatable to any organisation.
Thanks to a wide array of quality products and a business filled with helpful staff members (who are not averse to opening up products for buyers to sample!), it's understandable why Trader Joe's is one of the US's top grocery providers.
From opening earlier to appease commuters, to stocking diet-specific items for individual customers, the company believes firmly that customer service interactions should occur in person – to the point where it shuns traditional call centres.
Trader Joe's also serves as proof of another critical lesson for business owners; that if your employees are happy and you treat them well, then they will adopt the same approach with your customers. From the relaxed dress code to the very generous salaries, the company has always endeavoured to create a cheerful and fun environment.
As a business owner, it can be easy to find your attention and your time divided between multiple aspects of your company, but you should never lose sight of the one thing that can guarantee you success: your customers.
Many of the world's most successful organisations – including the ones on this list – have realised this, and their entire scope of operations revolves around their customer base, rather than the other way around. If you consistently provide a positive experience for your customers, and support them effectively when things go wrong, then you will slowly but surely build a loyal and committed core of buyers on which your company can rely.
What are some other companies with great customer service that we may have missed? What makes them stand out? Let us know your suggestions in the comment section below!