Forbes has just published the "Customer Experience All Stars" list, which ranks the 300 brands with the best customer experience in 2023. The ranking is the result of a survey of more than 120,000 US consumers. Which brands have the best customer experience and what can we learn from them?
Developed in partnership with the data analytics company HundredX, Forbes' "Customer Experience All Stars" is the result of an extensive online survey conducted throughout 2022. In it, consumers rated the brands and products they believe offer the most positive customer experiences.
In recent years, customer experience has become one of the aspects to which consumers pay most attention and value the most. Now, it is one of the most influential elements in customer decision-making and one of the quickest to make a customer cut their relationship with a brand in the event of an unpleasant experience.
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Why it is important to offer a good customer experience
When a customer buys a product, their satisfaction is not only affected by the product they have purchased, but also by how easy and enjoyable it was for them to buy it. Any type of purchase involves a process, whether it is an in-store purchase or an online purchase, and over the years, it has been discovered that the process is as important and valued as the final product or service.
Delivering a pleasant customer experience has always been critical. However, as competition between brands has increased in recent years, the influence of customer experience on customer satisfaction has also intensified.
Today, there are many possibilities for each product category and it is difficult for brands to differentiate themselves through their products and services alone. At the moment, customer experience is already one of the major elements for positive differentiation among companies all over the world.
Customer experience is also correlated with how customers perceive a product or service. In fact, most people value customer experience much more highly than price. Moreover, consumers remember the service, the experience and the interaction for much longer than they remember the price.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that delivering a satisfactory customer experience is becoming more and more complex, as customers are becoming more and more demanding. Years ago, a good customer experience was linked to aspects such as time and the absence of errors. Now, however, these elements only result in an acceptable customer experience.
Increasingly, the customer experience must be a cohesive and seamless across all communication channels, or in other words, an omnichannel customer experience.
How to measure the customer experience?
Measuring the customer experience and the level of satisfaction it provides to our customers is the first step to become aware of the service we are offering and start improving the experience we provide to our customers.
To ensure an exceptional customer experience, organisations need to use methodologies and techniques that allow them to measure and evaluate the quality of the experience they deliver, as well as the level of satisfaction they provide to customers. Improving any aspect requires detailed knowledge of its current state, identification of areas for improvement and awareness of weaknesses.
There are several metrics for measuring the customer experience, each with different approaches and different measures, but all are effective. The most common are:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
For more detailed information on how to measure the customer experience, see the e-book 'Customer Experience Measurement Tools: NPS, CES, CSAT, Churn Rate and CLTV'. You will learn how to calculate these and other customer experience measurement metrics. You can download it by clicking here:
The companies with the best customer experience in 2023
Buc-ee's is a well-known convenience and gas station chain in the United States, specifically in the state of Texas. Founded in 1982, Buc-ee's has gained popularity for offering a wide range of products, from groceries and beverages to household goods, clothing and gifts. What distinguishes Buc-ee's from other service stations is its focus on offering large, clean shops with a wide selection of products, as well as extremely clean and well-maintained restrooms, which is quite unusual for a service station.
In addition to its product offerings, Buc-ee's is known for its quirky pets, the Buc-ee Beaver, and its motto, "Clean, Friendly, and In-Stock". Its shops are famous for having a large number of gas pumps, which helps to prevent long waits, especially during road trips. The chain has gained a solid "fan base" and has become a popular stop for travellers passing through Texas and other states where Buc-ee's has locations.
One customer surveyed by Forbes commented: “I've never seen a convenience store associated with shopping for gas that has artwork for sale in the entrance to the bathrooms—it’s like walking through an art gallery just to use the toilet.”
Customers also praise the friendliness of Buc-ee's employees, as well as the extensive variety of products and food, which make Buc-ee's much more than a gas station.
All this has led to Buc-ee's being ranked No. 1 by Forbes.
Chick-fil-A is an American fast-food restaurant chain specialising in fried chicken. Founded in 1946 and based in Atlanta, Georgia, Chick-fil-A has become one of the largest and most recognised fast food restaurant chains in the United States. The chain is known for its focus on quality ingredients and better customer service than most of its competitors.
Chick-fil-A's menu focuses primarily on chicken items, including chicken sandwiches, breaded chicken strips, nuggets and chicken salads. They are also famous for their Chick-fil-A sauce, which has gained a loyal following. The chain is known for its commitment to quality, using 100% real chicken and no artificial preservatives.
In addition to its food, Chick-fil-A is known for its policy of being closed on Sundays in observance of the religious Sabbath, a decision that reflects the religious beliefs of the company's founders. Despite this, the chain has experienced steady growth and has a strong following throughout the United States.
Toyota is a Japanese multinational automotive company headquartered in Toyota City, Japan. Founded in 1937 by Kiichiro Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation has become one of the world's largest automobile manufacturers in terms of production and sales.
Toyota is known for producing a wide range of vehicles from passenger cars to trucks and SUVs. The company has earned a reputation for the quality, durability and reliability of its vehicles. Some of Toyota's best-known models include the Toyota Camry, the Toyota Corolla and the Toyota Prius, which is a leading-selling hybrid car.
Toyota has also pioneered efficient production practices, such as the Toyota Production System (TPS), which has influenced the manufacturing industry worldwide. The company has a global presence with operations and sales in numerous countries, making it one of the most recognisable and trusted automotive brands in the world.
Toyota stands out for its customer experience due to its focus on product quality and reliability. Customers trust the brand because of its history of building durable, high-performance vehicles. In addition, customer service at Toyota dealerships tends to be personalised and focused on customers' individual needs.
The company has also demonstrated a commitment to innovation, especially in the field of hybrid vehicles, and has shown concern for issues such as sustainability and social responsibility, which is highly relevant in a context where more and more customers are environmentally conscious and socially responsible.
Costco Wholesale Corporation, commonly known as Costco, is a US-based chain of membership shops and price clubs. Founded in 1983, Costco has become one of the largest and most successful membership shop chains in the world.
Costco's main distinguishing feature is its membership model. To shop at Costco, customers must be members and pay an annual fee that gives them access to Costco's physical shops and online shop. This membership allows customers to purchase a wide variety of bulk products, including groceries, appliances, clothing, electronics, furniture, household goods and more, at wholesale prices.
Costco focuses on offering high quality products at low prices and is known for selling private label products as well as name brand products. The chain is also known for its excellent customer service and generous return policies, which have helped to build customer loyalty.
The company also focuses on the shopping experience, providing clean, organised shops and friendly, helpful employees.
5. In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out Burger is an American fast food restaurant chain known primarily for its burgers, fries and shakes. Founded in 1948, In-N-Out Burger has developed a large fan base, especially on the West Coast of the United States, where it originated.
What sets In-N-Out Burger apart is its focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients. The chain is known for using 100% beef, freshly cut potatoes cut on site and freshly baked bread for its burgers. Their menu is relatively simple, which has contributed to their reputation for quality and consistency. In addition to the classic burgers, they offer options such as double burgers, animal style fries (with cheese, special sauce and onions) and milkshakes made with real ice cream and fresh milk.
Another unique aspect of In-N-Out Burger is its 'secret menu', which includes variations and special combinations that do not appear on the main menu, but are known by the chain's regular customers.
The customer experience at In-N-Out Burger is characterised by a focus on quality and simplicity. Offering a simple but well-executed menu allows for a quick and easy ordering experience.
In addition, In-N-Out Burger is known for its friendly and efficient customer service. Employees, also known as "associates", are often courteous and trained to meet customers' needs quickly and effectively.
In-N-Out Burger has maintained a careful expansion policy and has limited its presence primarily to the western states of the United States, which has generated some intrigue and admiration from people in other parts of the country who do not have access to its restaurants.
6. See's Candies
See's Candies is a well-known American company that specialises in the manufacture and sale of high quality chocolates and candies. Founded in 1921 by Charles See in Los Angeles, California, See's Candies has earned a strong reputation and developed a loyal customer base for its fine confectionery products.
The company is known for its wide variety of candies, including truffles, caramels, toffees, marshmallows and other chocolates made with high quality ingredients. See's Candies is known for using fresh, natural ingredients without artificial preservatives, which contributes to the quality and taste of its products.
A distinctive feature of See's Candies is its focus on customer service. The company has established a tradition of offering free samples of its products in all of its stores, allowing customers to try the candies before they buy them. In addition, See's Candies is known for its elegant packaging and thoughtful presentation, which makes its products popular as gifts, especially on special occasions such as birthdays, Valentine's Day and Christmas.
See's Candies has expanded its presence since its founding and has shops in several US states. The company has been acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, the investment firm led by Warren Buffett, but has maintained its focus on producing high quality, handcrafted candy.
7. Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's is a chain of supermarkets and grocery shops that originated in the United States. Founded in 1958 by Joe Coulombe, the company has developed a reputation for offering a unique variety of food, beverage and household products, many of which carry the Trader Joe's brand name.
What sets Trader Joe's apart is its focus on exclusive, high-quality products at affordable prices. The shop is known for its selection of organic foods, gourmet products, wines, beers and groceries from around the world. In addition, Trader Joe's is known for its emphasis on fresh, natural products and for avoiding the inclusion of artificial ingredients and preservatives in its products.
Another unique feature of Trader Joe's is its willingness to experiment with new products and its dedication to innovation. The company often launches new private label products that become customer favourites. They are also known for their excellent customer service and the welcoming atmosphere in their shops.
Trader Joe's has expanded its presence and has shops in several U.S. states. The company has earned a loyal and enthusiastic customer base, many of whom appreciate the unique shopping experience the chain offers.
Chewy is an American e-commerce company that specialises in selling pet products. Founded in 2011 by Ryan Cohen and Michael Day in Dania Beach, Florida, Chewy has grown to become one of the leading online retailers of pet supplies in the United States.
Chewy's platform offers a wide variety of products, including food, toys, accessories, pet care products and prescription medications. Customers can purchase specific foods for different types of pets, such as dogs, cats, birds, fish and small animals. The company also offers pet pharmacy services, allowing pet owners to prescribe and receive medications for their pets through the platform.
Chewy is known for its customer service, offering a 24/7 telephone answering service, and for its fast delivery policy, often providing next-day delivery for many products. In addition, the company has a subscription program that allows customers to automatically receive pet supplies regularly, making it easier to manage pet supplies.
In 2017, Chewy was acquired by PetSmart, a U.S.-based pet retailer, although Chewy continues to operate as an independent entity. The company has gained popularity due to its wide product selection, convenience and focus on customer service.
Lexus is a luxury automobile brand and a division of the Japanese company Toyota Motor Corporation. It was launched in 1989 with the goal of creating a line of premium vehicles that could compete with European and American luxury brands. The company has found a differentiating element in its focus on quality, comfort and performance, and has earned a solid reputation for craftsmanship, innovative technology and customer service.
Lexus vehicles are characterized by their sleek, aerodynamic design and luxurious, well-appointed interiors. The brand offers a variety of cars, SUVs and hybrid vehicles that are designed to provide a smooth and comfortable driving experience, along with a high level of performance and efficiency.
Lexus has introduced innovative technologies in its vehicles, including advanced driver assistance systems, state-of-the-art infotainment systems and hybrid engines that combine performance with fuel efficiency.
The brand has won numerous awardsover the years for quality and customer satisfaction. Lexus vehicles are known for their reliability and durability, which has contributed to their popularity in both the Japanese domestic and international markets.
10. Publix Super Markets
Publix Super Markets is an American supermarket chain headquartered in Lakeland, Florida. Founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins, Publix is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States and operates primarily in the southeastern United States. The company is known for its focus on quality customer service and a wide selection of products.
Publix offers groceries, fresh produce, household products and a variety of everyday items. The chain stands out for the freshness of its products, its attention to quality standards and its commitment to the community.
The company is known for its slogan "Where Shopping is a Pleasure" and its focus on providing exceptional customer service. In addition to its focus on the customer experience, Publix is also praised for its involvement in charitable activities and its support of non-profit organizations in the communities where it operates.
Publix is a privately held company, recognized for its positive corporate culture and for being one of the best places to work in the United States, according to several top employer lists. The company has a strong presence in Florida and also operates in other southeastern states, including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.
These are the 10 companies with the best customer experience in 2023 according to U.S. customers. If there's one thing they all have in common, it's the importance they place on customer service and the experience they deliver to consumers, regardless of industry.
Would you like to appear on the next Forbes "Customer Experience All Stars" list? Start by putting into practice the 10 steps you will find in the e-book "How to improve customer experience"!