In the most valuable companies across the world, exceptional customer experience (CX) is the catalyst to success. Harry Gordon Selfridge, of Selfridges-fame, coined the phrase “the customer is always right”; hotelier César Ritz used the slogan "le client n'a jamais tort" (the customer is never wrong); a variation used historically in Germany is "der Kunde ist König" (the customer is king); while in Japan the traditional motto is "okyakusama wa kamisama desu" (the customer is a god).
This customer-focused culture exhorts service-staff to prioritise customer satisfaction. The focus is on delighting the consumer and letting word-of-mouth marketing attract repeat and additional business. But, while these standards are now well-established, there are modern-day companies who are keeping up these same traditions. Here are a handful of those who do it best.
While Amazon has come under fire in recent months for the conditions of its employees, no such criticism can be ascribed to its customer service. From free next-day delivery and streaming services to unlimited reading and grocery delivery, Amazon Prime aims to make the lives of the consumer easier in just about every area possible.
The e-commerce giant is constantly innovating to find new and intuitive ways to solve consumer problems and make the customer experience as simple and worry-free as possible. This includes the facility of a responsive service team that is empowered to provide gift vouchers, free Prime membership, and refunds should anything go wrong during the order process.
The Disney brand is perhaps one of most recognisable in the world for adults and children alike, with Mickey Mouse consistently voted the most famous cartoon character ever. But while Mickey may be celebrating his 90th birthday this year, there’s life in the old dog (mouse?) yet, thanks to the success of the Disney experience.
Visit any Disney theme park throughout the world – Paris, Florida, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo etc. – and you’ll be greeted with characters brought to life by specially-trained employees who not only vivify the personalities they imitate but also refer to guests by name, especially when interacting with children. This helps to enhance the experience of the consumer and bring the so-called magic of Disney to life.
Innovation is also a core facet of Disney's success, the company is unafraid to innovate and digitally transform to keep its theme park experience at an ultimate high. This includes the introduction of NFC cards or wrists bands in place of traditional tickets, which help streamline park entrances, give up-to-the-minute queue time information, and even connect to a dedicated CX app which stores ride/park photos.
There is a lot of fierce competition within the subscription streaming industry, but Netflix stands atop of the mountain because of its fanatical focus on its customers.
The streaming giant’s obsession with what its audience is watching is matched only by its propensity for unlocking value from customer data. And, by combining the two, it’s able to recommend new shows that viewers will love as well as create award-winning content they want to see. By putting its customers first, Netflix continues to build its knowledge-base, create ever-more engaging content, and further accelerate away from its competition.
The iconic look, sound and feel of the Harley-Davidson motorbike has ensured its popularity has been maintained throughout all its 115-year history. But Harley also go the extra mile to ensure that the experience continues long after the initial purchase.
Once a consumer buys a motorbike, they immediately become a part of the Harley family for life. Customers are actively encouraged to join “the world’s greatest motorcycle riding club” HOG – Harley Owners Group – where riders are connected with one another and the brand to help with maintenance and other bike queries. It’s the core focus on making sure their consumers feel like they’re part of a family that has helped Harley to become a force within the motor industry and a favourite among bikers all around the globe.
Spotify has grown to become a true force within the music industry, changing the way many people gain access to their favourite artists. This is reflected in the success of the company, which, as of January 2018, had 70 million paying subscribers worldwide.
One of the fundamental reasons for this success is that Spotify is known for putting its listeners first and for creating incredibly personalised playlists that recommend new music to its users. This personal touch is transcended throughout the company and includes an annual release of listening behaviours, the ability to see what your friends are listening to, as well as a personalised playlist of your most listened to songs.
6. VIRGIN ATLANTIC AIRLINES
Talk to anyone who works within the Aviation industry, and you’ll quickly come to learn that air travel is an anxiety-inducing experience for the vast majority. Even among business travellers, the stress created by tight time-constraints, exhaustive security protocols, and the ever-present fear of cancellations and delays is enough to knock even the most confident off their stride.
Virgin Atlantic is one of the few airlines that truly puts itself in the shoes of its passengers and tries to alleviate the stresses of air travel through its superior customer service. While Virgin offers amenities such as mood lighting, on-board Wi-Fi, seatback entertainment, and high-quality in-flight meals as part of the package, the real value is in how the employees interact with customers. Virgin crew go through a rigorous training regime where only 1% get through. Those who make it are competent, friendly, and committed to providing customers with a superior level of service. This commitment to positive interaction has ensured that the experience is valued above all, and why Virgin is one of the few airlines that bucks the trend of airline unprofitability.
It’s hard to create a list of successful customer-centric companies without including Google. The global technology behemoth is a near-perfect example of how a customer-focused, data-driven company can delight its users. This has not only paved the way for it to rule supreme in the search-engine industry but also has enabled its expansion into an array of technology-focused offerings.
One of Google’s core tenets is: “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” And it was through this mantra that its simplicity, speed, and relevancy of results was able to eclipse all others. Not only did the search-engine provide results that the user wanted to view quickly, but, in doing so, it made the labyrinthine internet a more hospitable place to be, catalysing the rise of e-commerce that many on this list have reaped the benefits of.
On The SHoulders of giants
It was the likes of Selfridge and Ritz who were first to grasp the true value of customer experience – consequently, both companies have withstood the sands of time and thrive to this day. And while many business now claim to offer a superior customer experience, only a select few who ever truly get it right.
The companies above are by no means alone in their dedication to their customers, but those highlighted do offer a number of lessons to be learned. If you want to find out more about what great CX looks like, simply click here and check out our new infographic.