Sunday, October 09, 2005

The 2005 Customer First Awards

(I know this was released weeks ago, but we are catching up on our reading.)

Fast Company magazine has published their annual list of companies that excel in customer service in the US. This year winners of the Customer First Awards are:

  • Netflix
  • Panera Bread
  • Talbots
  • Cabela's
  • W Hotels
  • Intuit
  • Build-A-Bear
  • Craigslist
  • Travelocity
  • Kiehl's
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Best Buy
  • USAA
  • Zappos
  • Whole Foods Market

The interesting thing about Netflix -the overall winner per the magazine's criteria-, is that it is an "automated-web-based-self-service" business. The workers that are closest to the customers are the warehouse employees who prepare the DVD shipments.

Is impersonal service becoming more important than human interaction?

Not quite… technology and automation bring consistency and responsiveness to services processes by minimizing or eliminating human error.

Netflix got high marks because they do what their customers expect and want. And that's the basis of great service.