BusinessWeek just published an in depth special report on customer service. It announces the 50 top companies that know how to keep employees happy, invest in technology that helps customers, and have a service mentality from the top down.
The editors will let you reorder the top ten companies in a poll here. Your vote will be followed by a reorder of the ranking comparing BusinessWeek's with that of readers. Here's the ranking after I 'voted.'
Amazon, that ranked number 23 on the original list, is number 10 for readers. There are also some companies, like L.L. Bean, that slip from number 2 to number 5 after voting. Starbucks is voted to number 2 in the poll, while it is at number 6 in the report.
Clearly, readers will vote for the brands they have experienced, and perhaps for those that have done a good job in the marketing conversation in the absence of direct experience. Not all brands touch all people - for example, while I'm an aspirational Posche driver, I never dealt with the company.
As many marketers have been saying for years, a high service grade leads to a recommendation or vote of confidence on the brand and correlates directly with repeated purchases. In other words, a good reputation leads to consideration. That's great news for the companies ranked higher in this report. I could not help but notice that each one of those companies has a retail customer base.
What would happen if we rated B2B companies?
When I searched to see if such list existed, I found a string of training programs, outsourcing opportunities, and some pretty old posts and articles on B2B customer service slipping. But no list. Yet, companies need good customer relations, too. Even those who work with other companies. The current competitive environment is such that we can all turn away to another provider these days. And there are dozens waiting in the wings.
The next couple of pages in my search ranking list the best job openings in B2B customer service.
An entrepreneur involved with start ups once told me that the money is in selling to other companies, not directly to consumers. Maybe there are many small B2B companies that are making their customers very happy and for both reasons - it's good news and they are small - we don't hear about it.
Who is in the B2B customer service elite?
Why is it important to know? Because good reputation leads directly to purchase consideration, builds brand equity, and makes the company more money. That's why.