How To Become a Top Customer Satisfaction Company
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How To Become a Top Customer Satisfaction Company

How To Become a Top Customer Satisfaction Company

Forbes’ latest Best Customer Service ranking highlights the U.S. companies that, according to consumer feedback, stand out with high customer satisfaction scores for delivering exceptional service. These are companies that also have significant brand loyalty.

“Customer service is one of those areas that has historically been viewed as a cost, but our data shows that there’s an opportunity to view it as an edge,” says Rob Pace, founder and CEO of HundredX, a data analytics company focused on customer insights. “There’s a massive return on investment when companies focus on things that are probably within their grasp. It just requires a mindset of customer-centricity.”

Some winners shared their customer service philosophies in a related Forbes article, “Best Customer Service 2024: The Winning Strategies.” With more than 800 locations, Dutch Bros Coffee placed 10th on the list.

“Our greatest differentiator is our people and how they strive to be difference-makers in people’s days,” said Brian Maxwell, COO at Dutch Bros. Part of the company’s mission, he says, is still to be “fun loving” and to have customers “drive away feeling important, appreciated, and better equipped to have an amazing day.”

Become the brand customers cannot live without

We all have a company or two that we can’t fathom life without. What are the few companies that you would be extremely upset if I told you, “You can no longer do business with them, ever again”? When I ask my audiences this question, the same brands always get mentioned: Apple, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Amazon, along with local mom-and-pop shops. These are all companies with high customer satisfaction.

Now the important part is, think about what they have done and what they consistently do to make you so loyal, to make you feel that you cannot live without them. That is power. That is brand loyalty. The more people you can make feel like they cannot live without your brand, the closer you are to making price irrelevant. The key deciding factors to being a business people cannot live without are:

  1. Great service/products
  2. Consistency
  3. Ease of doing business
  4. Employee evangelists
  5. Educate versus sell
  6. Personalized experiences

1) Great service/products

This is a given. It is the price of admission that your product or service better be damn good. However, this is typically not even listed in the top three reasons why people are loyal to a brand. A company is in trouble if they are relying on their product or service to differentiate themselves in their market. Today every product or service is eventually commoditized.

2) Consistency

This is huge and cannot be over-emphasized. Undeniably, more than anything else, customers want brands to be brilliant at the basics. Consistency drives customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Basically, you can forget the bells and whistles; just be consistent, reliable, accurate, and friendly in every interaction. Don’t make it dependent on which location or which employee your customer deals with.

3) Ease of doing business

Think about Amazon, Zappos, Nordstrom, and Uber. Amazon is the easiest and most convenient company for purchasing, from one-click, to returns, to their customer support. Is it any surprise they have high customer satisfaction scores? Companies like Zappos and Nordstrom are known for their liberal return policies. Surprisingly, you can bring an item back in a year, and you don’t need your receipt. Does your company have policies and rules to make your life more convenient? How easy is it to speak with a human being? How easy is it to find a phone number on your website? Is the buying experience for your customers convenient for you or your company?

4) Employee evangelists

Great brands have employee evangelists of two things: 1) what they do, and 2) the brand they do it for. Because of this, when you shop at world-class brands, you see a strong similarity: their employees love the product, love helping and discussing the benefits of different types of products, and love working for that brand. Their employees are loyal to the brand, and customers are likewise brand loyal.

5) Educate versus sell

The best brands gain brand loyalty and high customer satisfaction scores by teaching their employees to educate customers, versus selling to them.

I love technology and the moment something new is released I have to have it (worst thing a consumer can do). Consequently, when Apple released a new iPad, I ran to the Apple store to upgrade. When the Apple employee asked me what I wanted, I said, “I currently have the iPad, but I want the iPad 2.” He could not have had an easier sale. However, he asked me what I used my iPad for. I said, “For email, surfing the Internet, social media, and I read articles and books on it.” He said, “Do you play games or watch movies?” I replied, “No, never.” He said, “Don’t get it. It won’t be worth it. The big difference between the iPad and iPad 2 is the resolution that you would only appreciate if you played games or watched movies.”

I couldn’t believe he talked me out of spending $500. Subsequently, I was actually bummed! Then I said, “Well maybe I will start playing games.” No seriously, I would have bought anything in the store from this employee after that. He wasn’t about selling me, he was about educating me and thus making sure I spent my money wisely.

6) Personalized experiences

Every regular customer at Starbucks has “their order.” Additionally, it often is unique. It usually is something long and complicated, like a “grande, single shot, 4 pumps sugar-free peppermint, nonfat, extra hot, no foam, light whip, stirred white mocha.” Did you know there are more than 80,000 ways you can order your Starbucks drink? What is easier than that?

How can your company be the brand customers love?

Review the list of six things that make a company a brand customers cannot live without. Then, do an audit of how your company fares in each of the six categories and see where you can improve so you can become the brand your customers can’t live without.

John DiJulius III, author of The Customer Service Revolution, is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies such as Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or info@thedijuliusgroup.com.

Published: February 20th, 2024

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