We all need a hero—someone who, by their actions, can inspire us to do better. To be better. The five companies I profile here are are reaping the financial benefits of making customer service a top priority.
Amazon is the best of the best. It builds everything around the customer experience. That includes speed, flawless execution, and exceptional service response. Amazon also empowers each of its more than 1,650,000 employees throughout the world to take care of their customers without asking for permission, trusting them to do what is best for the customer.
Ease of shopping—along with ease of making returns—is the standard at Amazon. The company uses technology to ensure its customers have the best experience possible. Customers are notified within seconds that their orders have been received; they are also notified when their orders are shipped and when they are delivered. If a customer needs to contact someone at the company by phone, an employee will answer the call; there is no robotic technology involved.
Amazon’s commitment to its customers has paid off in numbers its competitors can only dream of achieving. In 2021, sales increased by $83.7 billion over the previous year’s sales of $469.8 billion.
Costco is another company that is incredible in the service it provides its customers. It offers the highest-quality products and the best prices—including gas at 30 cents per gallon less than standard gas stations. The company provides great service at great speed. Often the lines of customers waiting to check out with their purchases are long but each checkout station is manned by two employees—one scanning the products while the other loads them into a cart, which moves the process along with great speed.
Costco also uses technology to ensure its customers are well cared for. I recently returned some fish that I didn’t like. The employee didn’t ask for a receipt; she simply pulled up my purchase information on the computer and instantly refunded it to my credit card.
The company operates 838 warehouses throughout the world—528 of them in the United States. Fourth quarter sales were up 8.7 percent for the year ending August 28, 2022. Its sales during that time reached $70.8 billion, a 14.4 percent increase over the previous year.
Chewy.com also makes service a priority and is handsomely rewarded for doing so. The company was sold to PetSmart in 2017 for $3.5 billion—and today has a value of $35.billion.
Chewy.com makes it easy to purchase its products online. Like the other companies mentioned here, it has high-quality products and great prices. It also has a money-back guarantee and makes it easy for customer to return a product. When my dogs didn’t like one type of food I had ordered, I contacted the company—employees answer the phones in person 24 hours a day, seven days a week—and was told there was no need to return it. The employee told me I would get a refund and suggested that I give the food to a friend whose dog might like it.
When it comes to the health care industry, the Mayo Clinic outperforms all others. The care is the best in the world but the cost is similar to that of other institutions. It also goes the extra mile to ensure that patients and family members are comfortable in its facilities. That includes attractive waiting rooms and offices and computers located throughout the Mayo for use by anyone without the need for a password. The Mayo is the Ritz Carlton of health care; virtually all other healthcare organizations fall into the Motel 6 category.
The Mayo’s focus on providing exceptional service to its patients and their families has resulted in impressive numbers. In 2021, it had more than 1.4 million patients from throughout the United States as well as from 139 foreign countries. It also had $15.7 billion in revenues and spent more than $1 billion on philanthropic endeavors.
Northeast Delta Dental is an insurance company that works with businesses to provide their employees with dental coverage. What sets this company apart from others is that its plan includes a Guarantee of Service Excellence Program that addresses seven areas—ranging from quick processing of claims to no inappropriate billing by participating dentists—and it backs up those guarantees with money.
In 2021, Northeast Delta Dental had $422.9 million in revenue. That year, the company paid out $10,843.15 for incidents when it did not meet its guarantees. Today, the company has a market share of 70 percent in New Hampshire, 60 percent in Vermont, and 50 percent in Maine.
These companies go the extra mile in meeting—and exceeding—their customers’ expectations. In doing so, they are hugely successful and are great role models for other companies that want to make service their highest priority.
About the Author
John Tschohl is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant. He is the President and founder of Service Quality Institute (the global leader in customer service) with operations in over 40 countries. John is a self-made millionaire traveling and speaking more than 50 times each year. He is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on service strategy, success, empowerment and customer service in the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge. He can also be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
For more information on John Tschohl and the Service Quality Institute, visit www.customer-service.com.