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Providing the best customer service amid an ongoing worldwide pandemic isn’t easy. After all, businesses are made of people, and a lot of people are at their brink. The brands with the best customer service entering 2022 demonstrate a drastic change in customer experience and perception.
Top takeaways on the brands with the best customer service 2022:
- People are exhausted and sick. And the repercussions of exhaustion and sickness can easily show up in how well customers’ feel they are being treated.
- From the brands that topped Newsweek’s 2021 best customer service list, based on NPS score, there’s A LOT to learn.
- The organizations who made the top ten understand that customer service is subjective, and that every single customer will expect something slightly different based on who they are, and their own life experiences.
- These businesses have also strategically and intelligently added the stress and weight of the pandemic to the customer experience equation, because you simply can’t ignore a global event that affects all of us.
- Some of the customer experience leaders are brands you would never expect – like a cruiseliner – an industry hit very hard by COVID.
The last time we updated the brands with the best customer service list was in early 2020, prior to the pandemic, so we’re also including the list of former top 10 customer service brands, for comparison.
There is one thing you should note: the customer service bar seems to have been lowered. The #1 spot today would be #4 on previous lists. This likely correlates with the pandemic, and the massive shifts we’ve seen in the workforce and mental health worldwide.
The 5 key elements of customer service
First, let’s understand how Newsweek puts together their list of businesses best at customer experience.
To publish this annual list, Newsweek partners with Statista, and breaks customer service down by the following five categories:
- Quality of communication: measures whether the contact (via email, telephone or face to face) was friendly or polite.
- Technical competence: measures the quality of information received and whether questions were answered correctly and in sufficient detail.
- Range of services: measures whether one’s personal expectations and requirements were fulfilled.
- Customer focus: measures whether a personal concern/requirement was addressed with a tailored/specific solution.
- Accessibility: measures the availability of customer service in a shop or on a helpline.
The 10 brands with the best customer service 2022
Viking Cruises tops the list of brands with the best customer service, and three hotel chains round out the top 10 – all pointing to a world in which people started traveling again, but incredibly cautiously.
Insurance companies and investment companies also rounded out the list nicely – while only one e-commerce company made the top 10.
In a digital world, customer service is crucial. Learn how to improve customer service for e-commerce, then watch loyalty and revenue soar.
Our priorities shifted in 2021, and these companies were best able to leverage that shift into a great customer experience by providing the best customer service:
- Viking Cruises: Customer Service Score – 9.2 out of 10
- USAA: Customer Service Score – 9.16 out of 10
- Waldorf Astoria: Customer Service Score – 9.12 out of 10
- Four Seasons: Customer Service Score – 9.03 out of 10
- LakeHouse Spa at Lake Austin Spa Resort: Customer Service Score – 9.03 out of 10
- Vanguard: Customer Service Score – 9.01 out of 10
- Helzberg: Customer Service Score – 8.99 out of 10
- Park Hyatt: Customer Service Score – 8.99 out of 10
- The Hartford: Customer Service Score – 8.98 out of 10
- BoxyCharm: Customer Service Score – 9.96 out of 10
The 10 best customer service companies in 2019
Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s fascinating to look back on 2019 and see which brands were leading the customer service charge.
None of the brands that held rank in 2019 are on the current best customer service list, though Disney’s Parks and Resorts (not it’s cruise line) would have made #11.
- Disney Cruise Line: Customer Service Score – 9.59 out of 10
- See’s Candies: Customer Service Score – 9.38 out of 10
- Justine: Customer Service Score – 9.24 out of 10
- Lands’ End: Customer Service Score – 9.18 out of 10
- Chick-fil-a: Customer Service Score – 9.11 out of 10
- Publix: Customer Service Score – 9.07 out of 10
- Vitacost: Customer Service Score – 9.04 out of 10
- Avon: Customer Service Score – 9.02 out of 10
- Morton’s The Steakhouse: Customer Service Score – 9.02 out of 10
- Cracker Barrel: Customer Service Score – 9.01 out of 10
If you're looking to deliver a great customer service experience that boosts revenue, loyalty, and your brand’s reputation, customer profile management (CPM) is the key.
How do these brands provide excellent customer service?
These companies provide the best customer service because they understand who their customer is and what they care about.
These brands made sure their customers felt heard, and safe, as people tried to get on with their lives after a year of lockdown.
This is important, because many of the brands you see on the list have customer demographics that skew older – a segment of the population more disproportionately affected by COVID than others. It was essential for these companies to message properly, update their websites, and provide in-person experiences that wowed, while reinforcing safety.
Customer service trends in 2022: More companies will make service a priority to drive growth, customer loyalty, and C-suite strategies.
Customer service challenges: How do you handle difficult customers?
Even if you have a high NPS score for your customer service, every brand has to deal with difficult customers.
And while there are variety of ways to handle those situations, 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 smooth over the relationship. Oftentimes, if you’ve done your branding exercises well, going back to the brand message and mission will resonate with these folks.
If they are not a customer who falls within your brand’s target demographic, it might be OK to smooth over the relationship, but then let them on their way.
In fact, it isn’t a bad idea to recommend competitors to customers who don’t fit your demographic. This is a great exercise in branding, but also in niche and targeted marketing.
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Not everyone will love your brand. Your goal is to build a community around the niche that most resonates with your mission. This will set you up for some of the best customer service in your industry.
And of course, don’t ignore factors outside of your control. The last couple years have taught both people and businesses how to be more flexible, agile, and accommodating.
Use those new skills within your customer service strategies to make the most out of each interaction.
And remember, customer service isn’t only about your support teams, chatbots, or crisis lines. Customer experience is an omnichannel experience.
Use your website, social channels, and in-person activities to reinforce your messaging, and hit on key concerns (like COVID safety) for your audience before they even ask the question.