Profit in business comes from repeat customers; customers that boast about your product and service, and that bring friends with them. ~ W. Edwards Deming

There are many, many companies that do a fantastic job with customer service, and you have probably dealt with some of them. That’s why when you deal with a company that has terrible customer service (and there are many of them as well that you have also probably dealt with), they stand out like a tall oak tree in the middle of the desert. The more you deal with and experience great service, the more you expect it from everyone you do business with.

It’s not only the customer service that you notice but the entire customer experience. From the moment you start thinking about doing business with a company until the time you decide to go back (or look elsewhere) is part of the entire customer journey. 

Buying anything these days, be it online, over the phone or in a store is an emotional experience. Why? Because people buy on emotion, and when they feel great after a purchase, they are likely to come back and recommend you to their family and friends. But if they feel like they were ripped off, taken advantage of or disrespected in some way, that’s when the real trouble can start with negative reviews, product returns and just plain bad feelings towards a company.

To review, here are some basics about customer service that should be non-negotiable:

  • Be friendly at every opportunity. A smile to start a transaction could be just what the customer needed. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way and sets the example to follow.
  • Show respect to every customer. It’s all any of us want and deserve from the businesses we deal with.
  • Know your product or service. Giving wrong information or not knowing where to find the correct information can kill a sale.
  • Be responsive. If there’s a problem or concern, deal with it immediately.
  • Continuous training and education are necessary if you want your employees to grow.
  • Listen to your customers. Let me repeat myself…listen to your customers.
  • Get feedback. The only way to know what your customers are thinking is to ask them. There are many ways to accomplish this.

With that in mind, here in no particular order are my top five choices for brands that know how to treat their customers. This is a very unscientific poll that you may disagree with, so feel free to add any others you think should join the list!

  1. Zappos. This online retailer sets the bar for great live support.
  2. Trader Joe’s. This supermarket chain is known for private label products and great in-store service.
  3. Southwest Airlines. While most airlines would be nowhere near this list, Southwest makes it fun to fly. They have proven many times the lengths they will go to please their customers.
  4. Ritz Carlton Hotels. Their motto is “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” If you’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in one of their hotels, you know they live by that statement.
  5. Amazon. Ever hear of them? They make it easy and convenient to do business with them, and making returns is very simple.

The list could continue with Apple, Nordstrom, Costco, Chick-fil-A, Aldi (they just opened one near me—very friendly and helpful) and any other number of businesses who get it right.

Let me know your favorites on our Facebook page!

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Paul Rutter is a customer loyalty, repeat business and customer service expert, a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business author. He has had the unique opportunity to live with his customers and co-workers for months at a time traveling the world, and shares his experiences with land based businesses. For more information on More Than Perfect® Service, contact Paul at, follow him on Twitter on @RealPaulRutter or visit him on Facebook/PaulRutterSpeaks.

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