Why These 5 Brands Are Winning Customer Service in 2023

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Alana Chinn
Alana Chinn

Published:

When I think of good customer service, I can’t help but think of Chick-Fil-A and their “my pleasure” philosophy.

support rep providing excellent service on the phone

Oh, and this:

@gavinblake23 Above and beyond customer service! #chickfila #fyp #comedy ♬ original sound - Gavinblake23🐉

But what if I told you they were ousted from the #1 spot by Wendy’s according to Newsweek’s America’s Best Customer Service rankings for 2023?

Still, there’s a lot to learn from Chick-Fil-A and other brands that are doing customer service right. Let’s get into it.

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Table of Contents

The Sources of Truth

We all know there’s no better “source of truth” than the customers themselves.

Along with tapping into my personal experiences, I looked at two key customer service and satisfaction ranking systems to identify some of the top performing brands out there.

This includes:

Let’s explore why these five brands came out on top this year.

5 Brands That Are Winning Customer Service in 2023

Chewy

Chewy is an online retailer of pet supplies including food, toys, treats, and other pet-related products.

Here's a snapshot of the most recent ratings for Chewy:

newsweek rankings
Category: Pet Food and Pet-Related Products (Online)
Rank: 1
Score: 9.16
ASCI® score
Category: Online Retailers
Category Average: 80
Score: 85

Why Their Customer Service Shines

Chewy's "Customers First" philosophy is designed for customer satisfaction. They provide 24/7 expert support, and the company has a 100% Unconditional Satisfaction Guaranteed Policy on every order.

They also value their customers and truly work to build lifelong connections with them. And one of the things they're very well known for is their empathy — especially when a customer is dealing with the loss of their pet.

Chewy has been known to send heartfelt cards, pet portraits, and flowers to grieving customers. They also provide refunds for pet products that were purchased but are no longer needed.

This not only humanizes Chewy as a brand, but it shows that they care far beyond the buyer-business relationship.

Here’s an example from a customer who was brought to tears by the Chewy team’s outreach after her dog crossed the rainbow bridge.

@becca_vonbereghy Replying to @simplysteffey I am literally speechless 😭❤️ thank you @chewy I will keep this beautiful painting forever #chewy #customerservice #petloss ♬ fix you - favsoundds

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's is a chain of neighborhood grocery stores across the U.S. known for their low prices on unique food items. This list has some of the best.

Here's a snapshot of the most recent ratings for Trader Joe's:

newsweek rankings
Category: Discount Supermarkets
Rank: 1
Score: 8.98
ASCI® score
Category: Supermarkets
Category Average: 76
Score: 84

Why Their Customer Service Shines

Trader Joe's has a commitment to providing high-quality products at affordable prices to create value for their customers.

They work to create a safe, welcoming, inclusive, and respectful environment for both customers and employees. Trader Joe's also gives back to local food agencies in the communities they serve.

Plus, customer-facing employees at Trader Joe's are known for being extremely personable, talkative, relatable, and helpful.

While the example below pokes fun at the employees being "aggressively friendly," it also shows how much emphasis the company puts on delivering exceptional customer experiences.

And there's some clear consistency in these experiences. After all, over 107K people liked this TikTok.

@itsjennalu job requirements: aggressively friendly 🌺 #traderjoes #traderjoesmusthaves #traderjoesemployee ♬ original sound - 😝👻 ѕcRⒶ𝓅ℙ𝓨 ᗪⓞo ♬👽

Lush

Lush is a handmade cosmetics retailer that specializes in making ethically-sourced and low-waste bath, body, skin, and hair products.

Here's a snapshot of the most recent ratings for Lush:

newsweek rankings
Category: Perfume and Cosmetics
Rank: 1
Score: 8.85
ASCI® score
N/A

Why Their Customer Service Shines

The Lush "We Believe" framework shapes the way they do business. Here are some of the highlights:

  • "We believe in happy people making happy soap."
  • "We believe that all people should enjoy freedom of movement across the world."
  • "We believe that the customer is always right."

A lot of what Lush does to delight customers is through their products. They use fresh, organic, and vegetarian ingredients. They're transparent about what's in their products and when they were made.

Lush values honesty and integrity toward their customers. And that's one of the key attributes that makes their customer service special.

The stores also look fantastic and smell incredible when you walk past, so that's a great experience on its own IMO.

But don't take my word for it. The customers have spoken (or at least the one in this example has). Shout out to #DevinFromLush.

@2bluntzs AND LET ME TELL YOU — DEVIN GAVE ME THE BEST DAMN CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE ❗❗ @lush ♬ Good Days - SZA

Starbucks

Starbucks is a coffee company. Well, it started as such but has since evolved into a purveyor of innovative coffee- and tea-based drinks and breakfast items.

Here's a snapshot of the most recent ratings for Starbucks:

newsweek rankings
Category: Coffeehouse Chains
Rank: 1
Score: 8.53
ASCI® score
Category: Fast Food Restaurants
Category Average: 76
Score: 77

Why Their Customer Service Shines

Starbucks aspires to be "people positive" which means they're invested in the humanity and well-being of their communities, partners, and customers.

Their founder Howard Schultz sums it up nicely: “We are not in the coffee business serving people but in the people business serving coffee.”

Starbucks wins at customer service because the company focuses on perfecting the quality of the customer experience. Their people-first mentality is why so many people can't start the day without their Starbucks fix.

Their employees are also empowered to have genuine and lighthearted interactions with customers — again, without compromising quality. Here's an example of just that.

@starbucks.bowmanville #starbucks #starbuckscanada #fyp #viral #funny #customerservice ♬ Strawberry - Prod. By Rose

Duolingo

Duolingo is a language learning app that provides educational programs with bite-sized lessons for over 30 languages.

Here's a snapshot of the most recent ratings for Duolingo:

newsweek rankings
Category: Language E-Learning Platform
Rank: 1
Score: 8.46
ASCI® score
N/A

Why Their Customer Service Shines

Duolingo provides personalized instructions for aspiring language learners across the world. Their machine learning algorithms adapt to create specialized learning material for each individual user.

They also recognize that learning isn't one size fits all. Duo offers a variety of experiences to support interaction, conversation, and reading and listening comprehension.

They meet their customers where they are in their educational journey, and this is likely why more than 500 million users turn to Duolingo for their language learning needs.

While we're on the subject, I can't forget to mention the famous Duolingo streaks. Duo (the app's sometimes scary but always encouraging owl) refuses to let you miss a day of learning.

Because of this, many users, like the one below, get a laugh out of how strict Duo can be about maintaining your learning streak. I'm at 223 days, btw.

@charkaylotte DUOLINGO IS OUT TO GET ME | @Duolingo | #duolingo #xyzbca #fyp ♬ original sound - charlotte 🧚🏼‍♀️

The Results Are In

While these are just a few examples of customer service wins, it's clear that there are more ways than one to provide value for your customers.

Use these brands as inspiration to really "wow" your customers in 2023.
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