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Take a Page from These Fortune 500 Companies to Improve Your Customer Service

By Business.com Editorial Staff
Business.com / Last Modified: November 2, 2017
Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Observing how some of the biggest companies in the world provide first-rate customer service can help your business reach new heights.

Observing how the biggest companies in the world provide customer service can help your business reach new heights. After all, they've hired the finest minds in their respective industries and spent billions testing what works and what doesn't. With this in mind, here's a closer look at three Fortune 500 companies, how they approach customer service and the vital lessons you can learn.


In under 20 years, Netflix has grown from a DVD rental service to one of the biggest creators and distributors of TV and film on the planet with over 100 million subscribers. It has taken advantage of huge advancements in digital technology and made high-quality content available for a relatively low price, freeing customers to make their own choices, all of which has been crucial to the company's success.

How Netflix approaches customer service

When customers have a problem that needs fixing, the streaming giant offers a range of solutions that help customers help themselves. Netflix's Help Center includes an extensive knowledge base with a huge choice of online self-service options, plus a toll-free phone number and email. There's also a search option, and when things get more difficult, live chat delivers more personable replies with a one-minute response time.

What can your business learn from Netflix?

While it's important to include escalation paths to live agents for more complex queries, self-service reduces the number of frustrated customers and increases satisfaction rates. However, a recent NewVoiceMedia study reveals that only 34 percent of contact centers offer self-service options through their interactive voice response (IVR) system, even though 70 percent of customers consider calls to be the quickest way of resolving an issue, and self-service IVRs significantly reduce the effort and time it takes to answer customers' needs. If these expectations are not met, especially in highly competitive markets, customers can easily switch to a competitor that is better equipped.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

Part of Marriott International, the luxury hotel company goes above and beyond for its customers to deliver an award-winning service across 91 properties and 30 countries.

How The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company approaches customer service

Although The Ritz-Carlton's approach to customer service is multifaceted, one of the key ingredients to its success is investing heavily in training. All new employees get over 300 hours of on-the-job training, a dedicated learning coach and an additional 120 hours of further coaching every year. Combining classroom learning, online training, one-on-one coaching, task-based learning and more, this ongoing guidance primarily focuses on paying attention to detail and handling mistakes, allowing The Ritz-Carlton to deliver the level of service its customers expect.

What can your business learn from The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company?

Your workforce is responsible for making your business look great, which means even the best service strategies can fail if your customer-facing employees are not capable. In competitive markets especially, conditions change rapidly. Therefore, developing a diverse, effective, and continuing training plan is crucial to strengthening and expanding the capabilities of your business and creating a culture of customer excellence.

Southwest Airlines

You only need to think back to the recent United Airlines debacle to realize that airlines don't have the best reputation for customer service. Despite this, Southwest Airlines has managed to earn near universal praise among passengers for exemplary service.

How Southwest Airlines approaches customer service

Southwest Airlines focuses on employee satisfaction above all else. Within defined boundaries, this means the company empowers employees to use their initiative to solve problems. Making employees feel responsible for the airline's success helps create an environment that encourages staff to go the extra mile for customers. By providing the type of first-class service rarely found in its industry, Southwest Airlines sets itself apart from the competition.

What can your business learn from Southwest Airlines? 

There's a widespread understanding in business that the customer comes first. However, implementing an employee-first culture can create a knock-on effect that drives customer satisfaction rates and profits. Asking your employees for their input, providing engaging training and creating an inclusive culture are elements companies of all sizes can introduce to help put employees first. If employees are happy, they'll make customers happy, and that's only good news for your business.

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