Remembering 2012's Great Customer Experiences

Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
Companies differentiate themselves from their competitors by delivering a great experience.

This is the time of the year when we tend to look back at the last 12 months and determine what went well and what could have been better. And based on that information, we make resolutions for the next year, vowing to make sure that it's better than the one that's about to end.As we start crossing the first few days of 2013 off the calendar, I looked at the companies that provided me with the best customer experience. These organizations will not only remain top of mind, but these positive experiences are likely to mean that I'll continue doing business with them. Here they are:

  1. Amazon: As a member of Amazon Prime, I buy a lot of things from this online retailer, knowing that they will be shipped for free within two days. Further, Amazon uses my purchase and browsing history to make relevant recommendations, making me spend more money on items I didn't even think I would need.
  2. The Guerlain counter at Saks Fifth Avenue: I wouldn't consider myself a regular visitor, but I am a loyal customer, always buying the same items. Although I can buy my Guerlain makeup either online or at stores closer to where I live, I go to Saks because of their exceptional customer service. The sales associates that man the Guerlain counter know not to push me to buy new products and instead simply provide samples so that I can try them out.
  3. State Farm Insurance: I would never have thought that one of the best customer experience of 2012 would be with an insurance company. But after our car got flooded during Hurricane Sandy, State Farm agents efficiently dealt with our claim and we had settled in a little more than a month. While losing a car isn't a pleasant experience, State Farm kept us informed of the progress and even dealt with unexpected problems, for example when the car was moved by the garage where it had been flooded without our consent or knowledge.
  4. Tiffany's: This is a company that always manages to make its customers feel special, even when it's simply going back to have jewelry cleaned. When they saw my disappointment after learning that my wedding ring couldn't be cleaned in the store, they simply gave me a kit for me to clean it myself, something that they normally sell.
  5. Ideeli: Great companies differentiate themselves when something goes wrong and that's what happened with this online retailer--they found a quick solution to a problem I had and wowed me with quick and effective customer service.

In the end, organizations which go out of their way to deliver a great experience to their clients win because not only are their customers more likely to remain loyal to them, but they will also become advocates who recommend them to others. Which are the companies that stood out for you in 2012?