Good customer service skills are critical to any kind of business that serves the public, but there are two industries where excellent customer service is especially critical: Dining and retail.
When it comes to retail, reputations are made on whether the best customer service techniques are understood and adopted throughout the business. Of course, a quality product is very important. Without good customer service skills, however, people are not likely to put up with the atmosphere where they can get those products. When it comes to the most trusted, reputable brands – brands that win repeat business against competitors with similar offerings – excellent customer service is the factor that makes the difference.
Let’s look at some beloved brands that have truly taken customer service techniques to the next level. These brands often face competition from much larger firms that may have advantages on price, selection, or other areas – but they continuously distinguish themselves with a welcoming atmosphere that provides customer service and support before, during, and after the sale. Below, we’ve picked out four to watch when it comes to customer service:
When it comes to clothes, L.L. Bean may not have much to offer that other brands don’t. Even so, though, the company has quickly become known for exceptional customer service whether you are shopping at a retail location or online. When it comes to returns, L.L. Bean is well-established as one of the easiest brands in the business. If you have to call for product support, you can always look forward to speaking to a knowledgeable and friendly representative. Service is one reason people become so attached to their L.L. Bean products.
A regional grocery chain prominent in the southern U.S., customers are always raving about Publix. True, Publix does have a number of strong competitive advantages, including high-quality store brands and excellent point-of-sale organization. But the thing that gives Publix its warm “home town” appeal is the customer service ethos, which you can see at work in every aspect of the store. From fresh sandwiches made to order to a bakery where children are always welcome to a complementary cookie, Publix is always a great shopping experience.
Costco is the “anti-Sam’s Club,” a company that has most of its rival’s “big box” clout with none of the image problems. Costco has distinguished itself by making a commitment to employee well-being that has paid off through a motivated, engaged workforce. This strengthens customer service efforts in countless ways, helping ensure a pleasant experience is always in store when it’s time to go to Costco. Despite being a membership-based wholesaler, the company has grown consistently. Of course, it’s ranked highly in employee satisfaction and retention.
When you think of customer service, you probably don’t think of an airline. Southwest Airlines has staked its entire reputation on giving passengers outstanding customer service from terminal all the way to final destination. Company culture is centered around doing what it takes to make the flying public happy, and employees who go above and beyond to exceed passengers’ expectations are recognized on a daily basis. That’s the spirit that has helped Southwest, founded 1967, grow into one of the largest low-cost carriers in the U.S.