5 Examples Of How Customer Satisfaction Can Be Used As A Point Of Differentiation

Have you ever bought from a company because you knew they’d look after you well? Or in other words, you knew they would offer an amazing customer experience.

If you said yes, you’ve been influenced by a company that uses customer satisfaction as a point of differentiation.

In this post you’ll discover five companies who use customer satisfaction as a competitive advantage to win over new customers. I’ll share some personal insight into these companies and compare them to some of their competitors so you can really get a sense of how powerful customer satisfaction can be.

Here are the five examples I’ll take you through today:

  • Zappos (nline retailer)
  • Publix (supermarket)
  • Apple Inc. (computer electronics)
  • Hubspot (marketing tool)
  • Client Heartbeat (customer satisfaction tool)


1. Zappos

Zappos team (image source)

Zappos is known for going above and beyond to satisfy their customers. What Zappos does really well is embody a customer-first culture. Led from the front by their CEO, Tony Hsieh, the company empowers staff to go the extra mile. The customer service team doesn’t have key performance indicators around call volume. Instead their performance is graded on delivering amazing customer experiences. If they have a customer that wants to talk for 20 minutes, they’ll build rapport and talk for 20 minutes. If they feel like sending a bouquet of flowers to make a customer’s day, they make it happenThese are the sorts of experiences that go the extra mile.

Amazing customer experiences add up and create a point of differentiation for Zappos. Now if you have a choice between buying shoes from Zappos or buying them from Macys, most of you will want to go with Zappos, because you know they’ll deliver a good experience.

75% of their purchases come from repeat customer – that’s incredible.

Hats off to Zappos.


2. Publix Supermarkets

Publix staff always helping customers (image source)

Publix is a supermarket chain down in sunny Florida. Recently the company was ranked 2nd in overall customer satisfaction for the holiday period. So what makes Publix customers so happy?

Having spent some time down in Florida myself, I put it down to their friendly staff. Similar to Zappos, they are more than happy to go out their way to help you.

Sometimes you might walk into a supermarket and can’t find anybody to help you. Not a soul in sight. Publix is a different story, there are staff members stacking the shelves and wondering around everywhere. They always look to make eye contact and put the customer ahead of whatever they are doing. So if it means dropping the bananas and walking me over to the energy drinks section, they’ll do it with a smile.

On top of that, they purposely have not adopted the self-checkout model. Instead, Publix controls the buying process and can continue to offer up personalized customer experiences. This is an interesting move because I quite like self-checkout. But I can’t deny a friendly smile beats a computer screen any day of the week.

Compare Publix to Winn-Dixie down in Florida. Wow. Winn-Dixie is the complete opposite. Not a soul in sight to help, staff not as friendly and they have adopted self-checkouts like no tomorrow. Yes, Winn-Dixie is the cheaper option. But I know that a lot of customers who prefer shopping at Publix because of the customer service… and they are happy to pay more.


3. Apple Inc.

Friendly Apple staff at the Genius Bar (image source)

Genius Bar. That’s all I need to say about Apple and how they have been able to create a point of differentiation through customer satisfaction.

How good is it!

The Genuis Bar in combination with a focus on the customers’ needs has helped Apple cut through and capture a whole of lot of market share from the likes of Microsoft and Sony.

Yes, Apple’s products are superior, but they wouldn’t be at all as dominant if it wasn’t for their focus on customer satisfaction.

Remember when you had a Windows PC and it broke? How did you use to fix it? Maybe you were lucky and had a geeky computer buddy. Otherwise I’d imagine you had to fork out lots of money for a computer repair or worst, had to buy a brand new computer.

Now, think about the Genius Bar.  You walk up (or schedule a time) and instantly get to talk to an expert who can quickly diagnose your problem (on the spot most the time). Then, if your product is still under warranty, you can get it fixed or replace for free. If it’s out of warranty, they’ll still fix it for a fair price.

Easy win for the customer. My buddy Steve actually just went through this experience for the first time. He’s had a Macbook for three years but never had a problem until now. I told him about the Genius Bar, he looked suspicious (like it was too good to be true) but gave it a crack. I saw him the next day with his Macbook repaired – 24 hour turnaround on a broken hard drive – now that’s a good customer experience!

What would Steve of had to do if that was a Windows PC? I’d probably say he would have tried to get a quote to fix it, it was probably going to be $400 and he’d end up just buying a brand new PC for $700.

Is it any wonder Apple topped Personal Computer Customer Satisfaction for the tenth straight year.


4. Hubspot

Hubspot team helping customers (image source)

Hubspot, a marketing automation tool, is my favorite example of a B2B business that does customer satisfaction right. They focus a lot on post purchase marketing. Whether it be training new customers on how to best use the tool, offering free educational webinars or offering complimentary 24/7 technical support; Hubspot knows how to keep customers happy.

For me, this is a personal experience. Coming from another marketing automation tool (Infusionsoft), I was hoping Hubspot could deliver an experience that would help me achieve my business goals.

The biggest thing that has stood out for me is the level of education and training Hubspot gives its customers. I’ve gone through over 20 webinars and have had four one on one calls with my ‘consultant’; all within a month from signing up. As a result, I’m now armed with the right knowledge of the tool so I can use it correctly and ensure I’m well positioned to meet my marketing goals.

I’m not alone here, Hubspot was rated number one in customer satisfaction for marketing automation software.

HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe noted, “HubSpot is proud to have over 9,000 customers globally who leverage our inbound marketing software platform to replace loud, interruptive marketing techniques with inbound marketing that is more personalized, efficient, and effective.

Considering one of the reasons I left Infusionsoft was because the tool was too difficult and there was not enough training (beyond the initial couple of sessions); it’s safe to say Hubspot have got their priorities right and know how to use customer satisfaction as a point of differentiation.

Related: How to delight customers with educational content


5. Client Heartbeat

Client Heartbeat team always talking about satisfaction

The last example I wanted to share was something from us. Client Heartbeat is a customer satisfaction tool so we strive to maintain high satisfaction across all our customers.

We achieve high customer satisfaction by focusing on three key areas:

  • Education. I like to feel we empower our customers to continually be improving customer satisfaction. Through blog posts, webinars and eBooks; we educate our customers on actionable strategies that they can use to increase satisfaction and retain more customers. Using our position in the market, we interview the best in class companies to find out what they are doing to achieve such high satisfaction. This feedback is then passed onto all our customers so they can benefit and improve.
  • Customer support. With customer support in North America, Europe and Australia; our team strives to be instantly available to help customers via live chat, phone and email. Whether it’s a question related to our tool itself, or advice about how to survey clients most effectively; our team always tries to go the extra mile and ‘wow’ customers with amazing experiences.
  • Awesome product. One of the best ways to achieve high customer satisfaction is to have a product that delivers results and delivers on the promises that are made during the sales process. My belief is that Client Heartbeat exceeds the promises; we strive to take a ‘consultative sales approach’ to ensure all our customers find value in the tool. Not everyone is a good fit for Client Heartbeat. We’ll tell you straight away whether your business will be able to benefit from our tool. This helps us to ‘exceed expectations’ – one of the key factors that drives high customer satisfaction.


Compare Client Heartbeat to something like SurveyMonkey. We are indirect competitors but I like to think that our proactive and agile approach to customer support and education helps us achieve a high customer satisfaction that forms a point of differentiation.

SurveyMonkey is a great tool. But can they deliver the same experience we can? I suppose that’s a question only our customers can answer.


Differentiate yourself with customer satisfaction

All industry top performers have high customer satisfaction. Whether it is Apple Inc. or Zappos; they all strive to create customer experiences that are memorable. Its experiences like these that create customer advocates who tell friends, family and colleagues about a company.

Do you want to be that company your friends keep hearing about?

Take inspiration from the examples in this blog post to increase customer satisfaction and help create a point of differentiation. Think about some strategies you can start implementing today that will improve customer satisfaction.

Not sure where to start? Check out these blog posts out:

Gordon Tan

Gordon Tan is an entrepreneur based in Australia who has started and sold multiple technology companies with a combined value of $150m. This included a client satisfaction benchmarking platform which gave him first hand insight into the best practices of over 6,000 businesses. After retiring at 35 he is now a recognised thought leader on winning and retaining clients - His two passions: making clients the heartbeat of a business no matter what the product or service and this blog.

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