Companies big and small know the key is consistency.
Customers expect the same treatment no matter where they go. The benchmarks for good customer service are higher than ever! But how often do you revisit your customer service strategy?
Below are 10 customer service examples of brands that went that extra mile with their excellent customer service.
To rake up great customer reviews or blow up on social media, it comes down to good ole genuine customer support.
Check out our top ten examples of good customer service below:
- Nordstrom — Be Willing to Say “Yes!” Every Time
- Drybar — You Can’t Replace a Unique Customer Service Experience
- Danny Meyer’s Union Square — Making Your Customers Feel Special Never Gets Old
- Virgin Atlantic Airlines — There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Customer
- Zappos — Empower Your Employees to Wow Your Customers
- Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers — Invest in Your Customer Service Reps/Culture
- Safelite Autoglass — Customer Service is a Team Sport
- USAA — Treat Your Employees as Your First Customers
- Umpqua Bank — It’s Easier to Stand Out When You’re in an Unglamorous Industry
- Starbucks — Focus on Setting Customer Service Standards
Actionable insights from over 1,000+ professionals.
1) Nordstrom — Be Willing to Say “Yes!” Every Time
Staying in business for over 100 years is rare. Thriving in business for more than 100 years — in a competitive field — is even more so. Seattle-based Nordstrom has managed to pull this off. Year after year.
For example, Nordstrom is so customer-focused that it once refunded a customer for a tire. The company never sold tires! You can always tell that the entire staff strives to get you a “yes” to anything you request.
The big idea: Be ready to say “yes” to your customers, regardless of the request. With this approach, not only will you care for your customers, they’ll care for you as well.
2) Drybar — Your Moat is Your Customer Experience
Drybar is the “blowout bar” that expanded to 100 locations from the founder, Alli Webb’s basement. (Not to mention their bestselling line of hair dryers and products carried at Sephora.) Their $40 hair wash and blowout have built massive customer loyalty.
Their secret? Exceptional customer service experience at every single touchpoint.
From romantic comedies on flat screens and custom-designed chairs, Drybar doesn’t hold back. “The customer service experience is everything,” says Drybar co-founder Michael Landau, co-founder.
The big idea: No matter what you’re selling, you can turn it into more than a commodity. Double down on creating examples of excellent customer service at every touchpoint.
3) Danny Meyer’s Union Square — Making Your Customers Feel Special Never Gets Old
Danny Meyer is a successful New York restaurateur, who loves creating a real sense of hospitality. All his restaurants have the distinctive Meyer touch.
He only selects new employees based on what he calls the “hospitality quotient.” This includes six personality attributes:
- Optimistic warmth
- Work ethic
You can apply Meyer’s tips to your customer support hiring process. Another idea is to train for these specific customer service skills.
The big idea: The human aspect of customer experience is irreplaceable. Make sure your customers feel recognized. In turn, they’ll give your company the recognition it deserves.
4) Virgin Atlantic Airlines — There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Customer
It’s impossible to please every customer every time. But customer service statistics show that your response to unhappy customers matters most.
Virgin Brands are spectacular at using negative feedback to bond with their customers.
“A complaint is a chance to turn a customer into a lifelong friend,” says Richard Branson. “At Virgin, we think that if we address a complaint well, and even involve the customer in the solution, it brings customers closer to our brand.”
In a famous episode, a customer in first class had what sounds like a dreadful Indian-themed meal on a flight. The letter he wrote to Branson was both funny and disturbing.
The passenger described one item as a “miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter.”
The most significant part of the story isn’t the letter, though, it’s how Branson responded. Branson invited the passenger to help Virgin overhaul its menu. He also later asked the passenger to be on the board of the airline’s culinary council.
The big idea: A complaint is a gift. If you can win over your upset customers, your business success will know no bounds.
5) Zappos — Empower Your Employees to Wow Your Customers
Can you imagine a leading e-commerce company whose core principle is “to live and deliver WOW”? Zappos is exactly that company. Zappos grew to be a leader in the online shoe space with its obsessive customer devotion.
The company is willing to spend any amount of time on the phone to serve and to bond with a customer. Even up to a world record 10 hours and 29 minutes made famous on late-night TV by Jimmy Fallon!
A customer service representative will do anything — even spend Zappos money — to “wow” customers. Not only has the company won customer service awards for it, its founder literally wrote the book on customer service best practices.
Even it means flying to a customer’s home to return jewelry that got shipped to the company by accident!
Zappos even made a video out of this story!
The big idea: Strive to wow — to surprise and delight — every customer. Your customers are real people. And people love feeling special.
6) Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers — Invest in Your Customer Service Reps/Culture
Freddy’s has grown to over 280 locations in the U.S. while sporting a retro vibe and some delicious burgers. (Yes, steakburgers are hamburgers by another name. They’re good, thanks to a pounded-flat preparation on the grill!)
Also, they have great Chicago-style hot dogs. And, they have a wild assortment of custard-based desserts.
Their always-cheery employees distinguish their customer service team.
Freddy’s invests well beyond industry norm in customer service training. They have a mix of in-person and online training (dubbed “Freducation”).
They also encourage employees to rise through the ranks. Recently, a group of employees who began as cooks and cashiers in Wichita rose to executive roles.
They then went on to be successful operators of not one but two franchises, with more on the way.
The big idea: A culture of customer service never gets old. Grooming an employee to be a future leader shows everyone how much you value your people.
7) Safelite Autoglass — Customer Service is a Team Sport
Safelite Autoglass has grown, quarter after quarter, with a focus on improving customer experience.
A good example is Safelite’s unique approach to customer feedback. They pay more attention to feedback in the verbatim and not the actual net promoter score.
This is how they discovered that customers care about a technician’s live location along with their total arrival time. Customers like knowing that they’re on the way and that they’re in the neighborhood.
Now, using an app-based approach like Uber, customers can track a technician’s arrival.
The big idea: Customer experience improvement should be a multi-pronged effort. There are technology, personnel, and training aspects to consider. Nail these three, and you can create a positive experience.
8) USAA — Treat Your Employees as Your First Customers
USAA always has a top rating across its various industries for customer satisfaction. One of their secrets is their unique approach to propelling customer-focused innovation.
The culture of innovation here is so strong that a security guard authored 25 patents for his company.
These patents are among the 10,000 submissions from employees each year. Each of these has ideas to improve USAA’s customer experience. And that’s not all — 900 of these have received U.S. patents!
USAA also urges employees to be on the lookout for moments to create loyal customers.
Beyond this, USAA harvests ideas through its “Always On Ideas Platform.” There are more ways for employee innovators to take part. The USAA hackathons and competitions are a good example.
The big idea: Build long-term relationships with your employees. They will then create loyal customers for you.
9) Umpqua Bank — It’s Easier to Stand Out When You’re in an Unglamorous Industry
Umpqua empowers employees to help customers in any way they can, using their creativity and the resources of the bank.
For example, a customer service representative fixed a jam-up at the drive-through when she jumpstarted a senior man’s car. She didn’t have to ask permission to do this, and Umpqua praised her for this.
Umpqua employees also undergo Ritz-Carlton-led customer service training refreshers regularly.
The big idea: Even if you’re in an unglamorous industry, there are always efforts you can make in customer service to stand out in the crowd.
10) Starbucks — Create Strong Customer Service Standards
Starbucks strongly believes in meeting customer service standards.
For example, employees are taught to put effort into the visual look of each drink. When you order a caramel macchiato at Starbucks, it has a precise pattern of caramel sauce. It has a lattice of seven vertical and horizontal lines with two full circles around it.
They also pay attention to every detail in the store — from the lighting to the furniture, they’re on point!
It’s no wonder that the average customer goes to Starbucks 6 times every month. Did you know they sell 8 million cups of coffee every day around the world?
What’s the takeaway? These Starbucks values may help:
- Know your customer’s name and who they are
- Remember their previous orders
- Create new ideas based on customer feedback
The big idea: Great customer service is more than smiling hard. It also depends on having exceptional standards that govern portions of customer experience.
So, What do All These Companies Have in Common?
While these customer service stories vary across industries, they have these in common:
- Accessible FAQs, self-service content, or self-ordering kiosks.
- Quick follow-ups and precise response times.
- Easy access to a customer support representative (via live chat, email, or social media.)
- Personalized solutions based on each customer’s situation or context.
- Widespread practice of active listening and empathy.
- Sense of accountability, including zero tolerance for bad customer service.
- Smart use of software like CRM, data analytics, and surveys in customer support.
- Focus on building long-term relationships and seeking feedback and customer testimonials.
- Seamless alignment with the overarching customer experience strategy.
- An authentic, motivated, and highly trained customer support team.
Any business with an efficient customer service organization will stay relevant. Customer service has a measurable link to customer retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue. You can optimize your business’s customer service with a Customer Service CRM.
Where is Your Customer Service Strategy Headed?
Customer service plays a vital role in attracting, retaining, and nurturing customers. It supports revenue generation, customer loyalty programs, and referral campaigns. Along with product features and your UX, customer service keeps customers engaged.
In the future, customer service will also be a critical area where brands will fiercely compete. So, maybe take these examples and build them into your customer service strategy for 2020?
Gaetano DiNardi is the Director of Demand Generation at Nextiva and has a track record of success working with brands like Major League Baseball, Pipedrive, Sales Hacker and Outreach.io. Outside of marketing, Gaetano is an accomplished music producer and songwriter – he’s worked with major artists like Fat Joe, Shaggy and loves making music to stay turbocharged. To get in touch, follow him on LinkedIn.