20 Companies with the Nicest Customer Service
A tasty sandwich, cute top, or cheap produce is what gets you in the door, good customer service is what keeps you coming back. Here are the 20 companies that are getting it right.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) ranks fast-food giant, Chick-fil-A, higher than any other American company, when it comes to customer service. ACSI scientifically analyzes multiple points of data, compiled via customer interviews, to figure out which companies are hitting all the right notes and which ones aren’t when it comes to keeping customers happy. The beloved chicken sandwich spot’s A+ rating comes as no surprise to Linda Murray Bullard, chief business strategist at LSMB Business Solutions. “Chick-fil-A has the cheeriest employees, who go over and above to call their customers by name, and get their order right the first time,” she explains. “In addition to great customer service, this national restaurant chain also has a great product.
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Whether they’re for-profits or nonprofits, hospitals today have got to keep their clients (aka patients) happy, in order to keep their doors open, in a highly competitive climate. Revered for its high standards in research, the Mayo Clinic is also known for treating patients like people and putting compassion ahead of the bottom line. Laurie Richards, who teaches customer service courses, gives the Clinic five stars for helpful personal service at every level—and she would know, her father was a patient there, off and on, for two years. “Any time we asked an employee where something was, (Mayo consists of a maze of tunnels and walkways covering several blocks) the employee, be it a nurse, phlebotomist, or a candy striper, would walk us directly to the place—whether it was a coffee shop or the labs. And never a complaint, sigh of frustration, or lack of a smile,” she recalls. “Our entire experience was filled with wonderful customer service, surrounding a terrible health experience,” she explains.
People love Apple products, but even a great product needs to be backed up by great customer service. “Apple and AppleCare put the consumer first, and train their employees how to greet and help their customers,” says Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. “Companies spends thousands of marketing dollars trying to convince us to buy their products, but if customer contact is not handled just right in a store, at a call center, or on the web by customer service representative, all that money is wasted.” Apple gets it just right.
That urban myth about Nordstrom taking back a pillow that they hadn’t even sold is more than just an old wives’ tale—it happens to be the truth. Nordstrom’s generous return policy is based upon a willingness to treat customers fairly and with respect. It is the hallmark of their great reputation for customer service, and one of the reasons why shoppers remain loyal to them, year after year. “The single greatest way a company can distinguish itself from its competition is by the level of service it offers and the higher level of service you offer, the more successful you will be,” says Friedman, who lists Nordstrom among her personal top ten companies with best customer service. These are 13 other stores with good return policies.
Number two on ACSI’s list, grocery chain Trader Joe’s ranks high for customer satisfaction, partly because their checkout lines move swiftly and efficiently. The grocery store business is a tough one to be in, and keeping customers happy is paramount. According to Forbes, Trader Joe’s private label products, and fresh, organic produce, are significant factors in bringing people into the store and its customer service is what keeps them coming back. Don’t miss these company names you might be mispronouncing.
The meal-kit business can be even more challenging than other food-based businesses. Take the case of Sun Basket, a lesser-known, organic alternative to the meal kit giants who have become household names. Sun Basket is carving out a customer-friendly niche for itself by catering to the needs of health-conscious consumers who follow hard-to-shop-for eating plans that feature protein customization, such as Paleo, pescatarian, and Lean and Clean.
According to a study run by the customer experience advisory firm Watermark Consulting, companies that deliver a great customer experience are rewarded over the long-term – not just by consumers – but by investors, too. “In short, it pays to be a beloved company,” says Jon Picoult, Watermark’s founder and principal. Take, for example, the online behemoth, Amazon. “Amazon is a great example of a firm that’s hitting all the right notes. They understand the broad spectrum of touchpoints that comprise their customer experience and manage each very deliberately. While other online retailers thought their customer experience ended when they shipped their product, Amazon recognized that even the act of opening the package will, in part, shape consumer impressions. So they invented “frustration-free” packaging, eliminating those hard-to-open clamshell packages that trigger wrap-rage among even the most patient and reserved consumers,” he says. Find out 17 Amazon Prime benefits you might not know about.
With over 10,000 stores in 20 countries, this supermarket chain has had a lot of practice keeping customers happy. ALDI stores are run by the principle that different is better, as long as that difference represents high quality and low hassles, throughout the customer experience. Patrons love them for their Twice as Nice Guarantee and commitment to selling only high-quality produce and food products at great value. Customers who shop here tout the small-town vibe, and friendliness of ALDI stores and employees. Check out these famous companies that originally had very different names.
Lexus prides itself on customer service which runs as efficiently as its high-end automobiles. Ranked highest among luxury car brands for customer service by J.D. Powers for 17 years in a row, the Lexus customer service model takes into account who their customer will be in coming years, as well as who they are now. This focus on long-term satisfaction seems to have paid off–many people who love Lexus won’t drive anything else. Here’s why Lexus is also the most trusted car brand in America.
These unique, regional supermarkets are happy places to shop. They are immaculately clean, and intuitively designed to generate a positive shopper experience. Just ask happy shopper and college student, Elizabeth Kagan, who stocks her dorm’s fridge regularly at Wegmans. “I love the seasonal flavor that the store always has. Most importantly, I know that everything I am buying is fresh. One time, I realized I had brought back an opened package of baloney. The store took it back, with a smile, two days later,” she says. Wegmans employees may be great at customer service partly because they love their jobs—Fortune ranks Wegmans among its top ten places to work.
This Texas-based, privately-held supermarket chain got uber-high marks for customer service from advisory firm KPMG’s survey of companies. The local giant is loved for its large supply of eclectic, one-of-a-kind food products, local produce and products made by Texans, and personalized, fast follow-up to customer comments. HEB is also known for its friendly service, from the shelf stockers to cashiers.
A car shuttle service that combines reliability with elegance, Blacklane gets high customer service marks because it provides exact fare quotes, instead of estimates. Eliminating surprises upon arrival is important to the customer experience team which manages Blacklane in over 250 cities, worldwide. Unlike many other door-to-door transportation services, the customer care crew at Blacklane consider themselves integral to business operations and always put the needs of their riders first. Here are the 5 best (and 5 worst) car services in America.
According to Consumer Reports, First Republic bank leads the pack for the best customer service in a financial institution. What makes First Republic so great? First and foremost, short teller lines. Convenient hours and ease of use across multiple online platforms were also key. Find out the companies that will pay for your college education.
A Consumer Reports and KPMG favorite, USAA gets top consumer reviews among the populations they serve. USAA limits its services to current and former military members and their families, who give the financial institution very high marks for smart, high-touch service, an easy-to-use website, comprehensible advice that makes sense, and easily accessed information from real-life people.
Abt Electronics and Appliances
Illinois residents love this appliance retailer, giving it the highest possible customer service rating for 12 years in a row, according to Consumer Reports. A great selection of products, good prices, and friendly service were all cited as reasons why Abt is a great place to shop, outranking its national, much-larger competitors.
An employee-owned supermarket chain, Publix has been getting consistently high marks on ACSI’s customer service scorecard for years. The Southern supermarket chain has a pretty significant roster of awards, backing up that score. Feathers in Publix’s cap include Southern Living’s “South’s Best Grocery Store,” and “One of the Most Reputable Companies in the U.S.” by the Reputation Institute. It’s also been rated “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Supermarket Pharmacies,” for eight out of ten years by J.D. Power. Cited by customers as Publix’s secret weapon? It’s employees, who are friendly, and willing to go the extra mile (or aisle) to help out customers.
According to automotive research and vehicle valuation firm, Kelley Blue Book, Subaru is the most trusted automobile manufacturer among consumers from 2015 to 2018. And you can’t have customer satisfaction without trust. Subaru also has established multiple conduits for consumer communication, in an ongoing effort to improve their already high ratings for customer trust and dependability. Don’t miss how 11 iconic stores got their name.
Many people love Google, and others have a love-hate relationship with the web mega-giant. Whichever category you fall into, Google nabbed a high ACSI score for customer satisfaction among internet search engines. Customers cited accurate results, speed, and ease of use as reasons why Google is their online go-to. Google’s grants program for nonprofits and volunteer service initiatives among their employees are other reasons why users feel good about googling.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
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Cracker Barrel, a full-service restaurant chain, has built a solid reputation for customer service on its use of Americana and beloved American recipes. For many, it evokes memories of childhood, while for others, it elicits a yearning for a bygone era, never experienced. Winner of the Chain Restaurant Consumer’s Choice Award for three out of four years, the cozy chain was cited for excellent service, value, excellent food quality, and socially responsible values.
Citing reliability and hand-holding when needed, FedEx gets customer satisfaction kudos, based in part on excellent service, but most especially on community involvement. People view FedEx as a partner during troubled times, especially when their local driver knows them personally, and always shows up with a smile. Next, find out the 40 most trusted brands in America.