Customer service is subjective. Every single customer will expect something slightly different based on who they are, and their own life experiences. This matters a lot for brands looking to provide the best class customer service for their industry.
Before you can begin to lay out your customer service strategy, you have to understand your customer. It’s best to get as detailed as possible on two key questions:
- Who are they?
- How do they like to be treated?
To help, here are a few examples from a variety of industries to get you started thinking about who your customer is, and how that relates to how they like to be treated. Trust me, the answer is rarely as simple as: “They like to be treated well.”
To understand who offers the best service, we look to Newsweek and Statista’s Best Customer Service Awards of 2019. Using the Net Promoter Score, they unveiled which brands consumers love the most based on their customer service.
The 5 key elements of customer service
The Newsweek and Statisa research broke customer service down by following 5 categories:
1. Quality of communication: Measures whether the contact (via email, telephone or face to face) was friendly or polite.
2. Technical competence: Measures the quality of information received and whether questions were answered correctly and in sufficient detail.
3. Range of services: Measures whether one’s personal expectations and requirements were fulfilled.
4. Customer focus: Measures whether a personal concern/requirement was addressed with a tailored/specific solution.
5. Accessibility: Measures the availability of customer service in a shop or on a helpline.
Top 10 brands with the best customer service
The following brands might not be ones that you’d typically associate with great customer service, likely because you don’t shop there – this is where the importance of who your customer is and how they like to be treated comes in.
For instance, Justice sits high on the list with a score of 9.24 out of 10. This brand has nailed who their customer is (pre-teens) and how they like to be treated.
1. Disney Cruise Line: Service Score –– 9.59 out of 10
2. See’s Candies: Service Score –– 9.38 out of 10
3. Justice: Service Score –– 9.24 out of 10
4. Lands’ End: Service Score –– 9.18 out of 10
5. Chick-fil-a: Service Score –– 9.11 out of 10
6. Publix: Service Score –– 9.07 out of 10
7. Vitacost: Service Score –– 9.04 out of 10
8. Avon: Service Score –– 9.02 out of 10
9. Morton’s The Steakhouse: Service Score –– 9.02 out of 10
10. Cracker Barrel: Service Score –– 9.01 out of 10
How do these brands provide excellent customer service?
These brands provide the best customer service because they understand who their customer is and they focus on that. For many of the brands listed above, there are quite a few naysayers.
But these brands, like Chick-fil-a, don’t listen to those who don’t fall within the demographic of who their customer is and how they like to be treated.
This then leads us to…
How do you handle difficult customers?
There are a variety of ways to handle difficult customers, but you must base it on this important factor: Are they a customer who falls within your brand’s target demographic?
If the answer to the above is yes, then you want to do everything you can to win that customer over and repair or maintain the relationship. Often times, if you’ve done your branding exercises well, going back to the brand message and mission will resonate with these folks.
If they’re not a customer who falls within your brand’s target demographic, it might be okay to smooth over the relationship, but then let them on their way. Often, it isn’t a bad idea to recommend competitors to those customers who don’t fit your demographic. This is a great exercise in branding, but also in niche and targeted marketing.
Not everyone will love your brand. Your goal is build a community around the niche that most resonates with your mission. This will set you up for some of the best service in your industry, similar to those who have received above 9 in the Newsweek and Statista research.