Unhappy customers cost brands in more ways than one. Customer feedback and data analytics can uncover pain points and improve CX to boost customer loyalty.
When it comes to the best customer service, 2024 is THE year where it’s really going to start mattering most when it comes to business outcomes. Survey after survey signals that about 50% of consumers will jump ship if they encounter a bad customer experience or poor customer service – and consumers have never been more angry about the level of services or services that they receive.
And as basic as great customer service may seem on the surface, implementing it well at scale across your organization often feels like nothing less than a miracle. Get it wrong and you pay a high price:
Bad customer service puts $3.7 trillion in sales at risk every year.
It’s no wonder that entire teams are dedicated to it, entire companies built to help solve it, and that books are written year in and year out about how best to do it.
In recent years, artificial intelligence burst onto the scene, touting its ability to transform customer service and solve it once and for all. So far, it hasn’t lived up to the promise.
New research shows just how biased AI chatbots can be, opting for violence in simulated wargames, or promoting the products of the company that built it. Alternatively, some AI chatbots empathize with the customer too much, turning to trashing the company itself.
None of this is particularly solution-oriented or customer-first, nor does it help solve the headaches of customer service reps throughout the world.
Instead, the best customer service brands in 2024 focus on the foundational aspects of service, fixing their company’s cracks and aligning teams, no matter what technology they use. And they’re using AI to optimize – not own – customer service.
It’s the people behind the customer service arm of any organization that make it effective or not. And it’s the interaction between those people and the customers needing help that make a profound impact on both a company’s brand and bottom line.
The methodology of the “best in customer service” ranking
Newsweek and Statista’s annual customer service brand ranking surveys 30,000 U.S. consumers for their likelihood of recommendation based on the following five evaluation criteria:
- Quality of communication: measures whether the contact (via e-mail, telephone or face-to-face) was friendly or polite.
- Professional competence: measures the quality of information received and whether questions were answered correctly and in sufficient detail.
- Range of services: measures the variety of solutions available to fulfill one’s personal expectations.
- Customer focus: measures whether the customer feels acknowledged and important.
- Accessibility: measures the availability of customer service in a shop or on a helpline.
All brands included in the report received at least 100 evaluations from U.S. consumers.
Brands with the best customer service in 2024
The 2024 best customer service brands received the highest scores for customer service across 724 brands in 166 categories. Customer service, in general, was measured by making the customer “feel happy.”
According to consumer survey data from Newsweek and Statista, these are the top 15 brands with the best customer service in 2024:
- Mandarin Oriental, Customer Service Score: 98.68
- Lime, Customer Service Score: 97.43
- Glory Cycle, Customer Service Score: 96.93
- Liberty Travel, Customer Service Score: 96.71
- Via, Customer Service Score: 96.65
- Unum, Customer Service Score: 96.30
- Waldorf Astoria, Customer Service Score: 96.16
- zZounds, Customer Service Score: 96.01
- Park Hyatt, Customer Service Score: 95.99
- Which Wich, Customer Service Score: 95.69
- W Hotels, Customer Service Score: 95.49
- Dollywood, Customer Service Score: 95.46
- Viking Cruises, Customer Service Score: 95.45
- Electric Forest, Customer Service Score: 95.43
- Bose, Customer Service Score: 95.27
These brands illustrate customer service trends and practices that you can infuse into your own service program to create happy customers, no matter what issues come up.
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Customer service and CX for the win: Creating an experience for the best customer service
More than 78% of millennials prefer experiences to physical goods, and millennials make up the largest portion of the buying population today. It’s no wonder, then, that seven of the top 15 best customer service brands in 2024 are companies that produce experiences by their very nature: hotels, cruises, theme parks, or music festivals.
How can you create an “experience” within your customer service organization? First, take your brand seriously. Work with your brand team to build tone and voice into your customer service team, and work to bring the brand experience all the way through to the customer service channel. Tone and voice is important, yes, but so are colors, response type, and more.
For instance, does your company have more of a laid back vibe like Marine Layer? How might that change how you respond to your customers? Can you offer more than fixes to any issues––including insights on great surf in their area, or other persona-relevant information?
Your priority should always be to fix solve the issue, and help the customer. But helping the customer can go far beyond just solving the issue. Make their day better.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index has found that companies with high levels of customer satisfaction have increased levels of consumer spend and stock returns that beat the market. In general, higher levels of customer satisfaction can predict business performance.
The below infographic notes the key elements of providing a great customer service experience, which include:
- Making customer service fast and convenient
- Sharing data across teams for great outcomes
- Automating what you can – but remember – customers want to talk to a human
- Survey and then follow up with action
Double down where competitors fall short
For brands in competitive industries, like Lime, an e-mobility company, and Via, a ride-sharing company, a good way to stand out is by doubling down on where your competition stumbles – in both product and in consumer perception.
For Lime, a big focus has been profitability, something seemingly impossible in the e-mobility space. To do that, Lime doubled down on creating its own scooters. This helps them both increase their unit economics, while also making a product they have more control over––and can tweak for the needs of their customers, something competitors cannot do.
For Via Transportation, the company focused not just on ride-sharing, but serving all possible customers, including municipalities. This earned them trust with local governments willing to partner to improve city mobility.
Being a brand that excels in customer service isn’t just about answering chats, emails or calls about issues. It’s about listening to those issues and complaints, and then figuring out how to solve them at a higher level.
Lean into the niche and beloved
It’s hard to overlook Which Wich and Dollywood topping the list of best customer service brands, but who doesn’t love sandwiches and Dolly Parton? To be fair, there are a lot of sandwich shops in the world, even if there is only one Dollywood.
What makes Which Wich stand above the crowd? Well, with 168 locations in the US and two globally, Which Wich is a well-known sandwich brand. But certainly Subway could surpass it. Sure, there is a dedication to quality at Which Wich, but there’s also a dedication to leaning into the sandwich. That is, honoring the sandwich, loving the sandwich, making the sandwich the star of the show––in a way that sandwich lovers worldwide can appreciate.
The same is true of Dollywood, where the park leans into everything Dolly Parton, sprinkling in the fun that is Dolly on everything possible.
Let’s not overlook Glory Cycle. This brand has leaned into its niche, creating a beloved biking brand that stands above the rest.
In 2024, the common theme is clear: lean in to what makes you special and embrace the fandom. Carry this through to your customer service channels, where experts help solve issues for customers who have a similar level of care and appreciation for the product or experience.
In these customer service channels, rep and customer are equals – each helping the other to learn and dive deeper into the fandom.
Is brand loyalty dead? Not really. It's just changing. Find out how to build loyalty even as customer expectations and preferences constantly change.
The 10 worst customer service brands 2024
Analyzing the best performers is a helpful exercise for what to emulate. Similarly, looking at the bottom of the pack can help you to understand what not to do.
The bottom of the customer service list is full of internet service providers, dating apps, moving services, and online hobby stores––suggesting that the details matter, and that these organization may overlook them frequently in regular operations, causing unhappiness for their customers and plenty of service issues.
- Greyhound, Customer Service Score: 74.03
- Thumbtack, Customer Service Score: 75.22
- Advantage Hobby, Customer Service Score: 75.41
- Mega Hobby, Customer Service Score: 75.74
- SpeedDate, Customer Service Score: 76.3
- Frontier, Customer Service Score: 76.35
- Empire Moving Group, Customer Service Score: 76.37
- okCupid, Customer Service Score: 76.78
- Spectrum, Customer Service Score: 76.93
- Two Men and a Truck, Customer Service Score: 76.96
Greyhound appears to get almost everything wrong. The bus company’s dismal customer service involves multi-hour delays, unexplained cancellations, stranded passengers, and issuing customers vouchers instead of refunds.
A survey shows that complaints about products and services are on the rise and frustrated customers are becoming more aggressive.
The intersection of technology and humanity: The best customer service 2024
With nearly every industry impacted by economic challenges, changing consumer preferences, and bad customer experiences, 2024 is definitely the year for businesses to focus on providing great customer service to help boost retention, loyalty, and bottom lines.
And as companies are laying off employees to lean into AI, the smartest brands are thinking about the impact when it comes to service: AI won’t solve for what customers want – human help when they have a problem. Consumers want great experiences; the brands that win will provide those through a strategic melding of technology and humanity.
The companies willing to go the extra mile and invest in customer service solutions that connect operational and business data to provide great experiences will reap the long-term rewards.