Customer Service Champion Is …
by Donald Cooper
In February, BusinessWeek magazine released its third annual list
of “Customer Service Champs,” and the top scorer is … Amazon.com.
How can this be? How can a business that never even meets its customers
face to face score higher on customer service than The Ritz-Carlton
Hotel Company, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Lexus or the
legendary Nordstrom department stores?
The No. 2 company in this ranking is USAA, an online
insurance, banking and investments company. Who would have guessed that
ordering a book or insurance online could be a better customer service
experience than a weekend at The Ritz?
This is simply goofy. Obviously, somewhere along the line,
process, policies and quick response in a transactionally based
commodity business have beat out ambience, style and joyful human
contact. I don’t get it, but then I’ve never even used a banking machine
because I can’t have a conversation with it.
Newcomer Zappos.com, the quirky Internet-based shoe
retailer (ranked No. 7), also has managed to create an online love
affair with its customers in a very short time.
When Internet shopping first started, the big appeal was
convenience and price, but now these high-tech interlopers are beating
out many traditional service icons on “service.”
Perhaps this means that there’s a fundamental shift in
consumer thinking. Perhaps it means that convenience and quick response,
even in the absence of human contact, are the new measure of service
excellence in this hugely time-compressed world. We do know that it was
Amazon.com’s discount prices and one-stop service model that propelled
it to the top spot this year.
One thing is clear: Every business had better get its
processes, its policies, its response time and the value proposition of
its products and services to a world-class level in a hurry. The online
guys have raised the bar, and you have to meet the challenge, or you
will fade away.
See the complete list of 2009 Customer Service Champs at
from The Donald Cooper Corporation Business Management Newsletter, March
Donald Cooper is respected by clients in more than 40 industries
throughout the world as a “thought leader” and passionate visionary in
the key areas of management, marketing and service excellence. Drawing
from his experience as a world-class manufacturer, award-winning
retailer, business speaker and coach, he has helped thousands of
businesses sell more, manage smarter and grow their bottom lines. To
contact Mr. Cooper, call (416) 252-3704, or visit