Ranking the top 100 customer experiences

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on May 27, 2011

Ranking the top 100 customer experiences

The US military financial services company, United Services Automobile Association (USAA), is now the top brand to shop with in America, according to the 'Customer Experience 100' report by customer experience specialist Nunwood.

The Texas-based USAA beat some of America's biggest brands to first place, with a customer experience score of 8.34 on a scale of 0 - 10, while online retail giant Amazon.com (at 8.29) took second place, and restaurant chains Red Lobster (at 8.19) and Olive Garden (at 8.02) - both owned by Darden Group - took third and fifth places respectively, and investment group Charles Schwab (at 8.06) took fourth place.

The report was based on a survey of 4,853 customers across the US, and sought to discover exactly why and how the top performing brands provide such an exceptional customer experience - and what their competitors can do to catch up. Customers rated each brand on four key factors: would they recommend them, how did they meet their needs, were they easy or difficult to deal with, and how did the company meet their expectations?

Among the study's highlights, top performers were found to:

  • Offer low prices and high quality;
  • Provide a consistently branded experience;
  • Listen to their customers and swiftly rectify problems;
  • Consistently exceed customer expectations.

Despite the global financial downturn, USAA was reported by customers to have consistently delivered on its statement, "For those who stood tall for this country and for their families, we stand ready to return the favour". One customer summed up USAA's success by saying, "My family has been with them for 40 years and every time we needed them they've come through for us".

The internet movie subscription service Netflix (7.97) came 6th overall, being one of three online retailers in the top ten, including Zappos.com (7.89) in ninth place - just ahead of Southwest Airlines (7.95), which was the top performing air travel company and one of only four in the top 100. Fast food chain Krispy Kreme (7.90) came 8th in the rankings, while Subway and electronics retailer Apple Store tied for 10th place (at 7.87).

According to Nunwood's chief strategy officer, David Conway, "What distinguishes these companies from the rest is that all of them have an ingrained customer satisfaction culture in which the customer is always right, and they all have the ability to deliver on their customers' expectations. All of the leaders demonstrated that offering low prices and outstanding service are not mutually exclusive; they are highly innovative, listen to their customers and give them new products, and all with fantastic quality. Most importantly, they work fanatically to charge their customers less."

Some 40 of the top 100 brands were retailers, while fast food restaurants and financial services companies each made up one fifth of the full list. In travel and tourism, only four airlines and seven hotel chains were represented.

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