You might have read my Top 5 worst customer experiences. Now it is time for the Top 5 best customer experiences. The year is coming to an end, so it’s time to look back at 2016 through the CX lens. I must tell you, there were more bad experiences than good ones. There is a lot of Customer Experience work to be done! But now, sit back and I hope you read this list with a big smile. Since these businesses and their employees made me happy and will see me back as a loyal customer.

5. Budget Rent A Car (location Dublin airport)

When traveling I sometimes need a car. This time I had appointments in pretty Dublin and friends suggested to book the car in combination with my KLM ticket. I was surprised with the friendly fee, only €46 for 2 days, including insurance. I decided to go for a small car, since I didn’t have to drive far. The day of my travel, I arrived at Dublin airport and went to the Budget desk, where they directed me outside to wait for a shuttlebus that would take me to the right location. Within 3 minutes the shuttlebus arrived, a friendly driver put my luggage in the back (thank you for this gentleman’s act) and in a whizz we were at the car hire location.

Let me cut this short, I got a brand new Opel Corsa (nice spacey car, by the way), had a little shock because I had to drive on the other side of the road. But I managed perfectly and off I went. When I returned, I brought the car back at the right time and they inspected it briefly. They complimented me bringing the car back safe and sound and took me back to the correct terminal within 5 minutes. Wow. From a Customer Experience perspective, they made it easy for me. No hassle, just helping me on my way. Friendly gestures by the driver of the shuttlebus (both times) and deliver on their promise to consistently deliver value and quality. I think that is kind of vague, but in my case they succeeded. Thank you Budget, next time I’ll hire one of your cars again.

4. Yoox

This is my favorite app; now you know. Yoox is part of the Net-A-Porter group and they are my leading shoe supplier. Just have a look at their app or their website. Browsing is easy, I love how you can choose from the male or female perspective, but also from a product perspective. They have the best of quality products and brands that speak for themselves. I love Italian leather shoes and they have a wide variety.  They keep me well informed with good content via their newsletter. Also, when the sale starts, they make their promotions very interesting. They give me promotion codes that give me a 20% extra off and they keep track of my searches, since their offers are personalized and I feel recognized as a loyal customer.

Last year I think I bought about 6 times from Yoox and every time the delivery has been perfect. Nice boxes, well packaged and wrapped. In two instances, the shoes didn’t live up to the expectations and I had to return. Their return policy is also easy, I had to fill out the online return form and bring the package to a UPS Access point, or even had it picked up by UPS. Within a week the refunds were done! Chapeau Yoox, you’ll see me back as a regular in your online domain. I love your products, services and the way you present your pretty shoes (and dresses and other products) and it is easy to buy from you. Customer Experience looks easy done by Yoox.

3. De Rat (my local bar)

Why do you put such a small bar in this list, you might ask? Well because they do a lot of things right and everybody can learn from Erik, the owner of the bar. I just love going there, they give me a welcome feeling and not only because I spend money. Let me tell you about DeRat. It is a bar with a wide collection of beers and whiskeys. They always have 5 beers on draft and about 150 bottled beers. All bartenders have extensive knowledge of beer and can help you picking one that is right for you. They know which beer I like: I love a local beer named ‘Saens Zoentje’ – if you translate it, it reads ‘Saens Kiss’, which is really lovely for a name. They always have the bottled beer in stock, and once in a while Erik buys a barrel so it is available on draft. I know he has me on his mind when purchasing this beer and for a customer, that feels great!

The bar is located a little outside the city centre of Utrecht, but often travelers find their way to this small bar. Why? Because they score high in the RateBeer app. This app is used to review bars and beer breweries and in Utrecht, DeRat is the highest scoring bar. I have met people from South Africa, the Dominican Republic, the United States of America, France, China and the United Kingdom at the bar. All beer lovers are curious for Erik’s collection of beers. They often have something to eat on Friday evenings and serve bread and a variety of cheeses on Saturdays. Free of charge. What can you learn from DeRat from a customer experience point of view? Make your customer feel welcome, make sure you are known via the right channel (the RateBeer app being important for bars) and know your customer. Offer something extra, so they become thirsty for more :).

2. ING

A bank in my top 5 of 2016. Who would have thought? Not me, because I am rather picky when it comes to banks. But let me share my story. I have been a customer with ING for all my life. What is it they do right? Their app is perfect for me. Easy to use (just a 5 digit code) and it provides the functionalities I need for daily banking. No hassle, not too many extras. They had some troubles last year with their operations, but this year they have managed to be of service most of the time. What I know is that they use customer panels to decide which features should or shouldn’t be added to the app. Listen to your customer, that works brilliantly.

What really gets them in my top 5 is the following. At the start of the year, I wanted to pay a bus ticket with my credit card, but it bounced. I got a message in the app, that I should contact the Service Center, fraud management. I did this straightaway. A friendly lady told me that my credit card information had been stolen and a criminal had tried to buy products at Harrods and an online perfume store for more than 900 Pounds. They recognized that this could not have been me, since I don’t spend those amounts of money on these products and that I used my normal bankcard that day in the Netherlands. Fraud! They refunded the fraudulent payments, even got the chance to cancel the criminal purchases and protected me from worse. She offered to send me a new credit card within 4 days and wowed me. Proactivity and friendly service. Banks should make us feel safe and I know now that my money is safe with ING. Thank you very much and I’ll keep banking with you.

1. Worldhotel Cristoforo Colombo

This is the best experience of the year. It is recent, so maybe the Peak End rule applies, but read and I hope you are also wowed… I needed a hotel for a business trip to Milan, with a leisure element, because I also had some spare time. So, I went to, my search engine when it comes to hotels and a perfect offer for the Cristoforo Colombo showed up. €90 for the night, including breakfast. Booked it and after landing safely with KLM on Milan Linate, I traveled to the city. First of all, the location of the hotel is perfect. Right in the city center, next to a metro stop.

The welcome was more than perfect. A well-dressed young gentleman welcomed me, smiled, asked for my passport, but didn’t need my credit card as most hotels do (we trust you madam). No bad feelings because I booked through He told me about the hotel, asked me whether I would like a free upgrade? Well yes please! So I got the key to an Executive room and he added “the mini bar is complementary”. Really? Let me tell you, there was not just water in there. I have never encountered that before. But, let’s get back to the reception area. He said “Just a moment Miss Bloem”, went away for ten seconds and returned with a rose. A real rose! “Especially for you.” My mouth fell open. Amazing. When I came to my beautiful Executive room (with a balcony), I found a little vase to put it in. When looking into the bathroom, I found all toiletries were from Roberto Cavalli, what a luxury! But topping the luxury off: the hotel has a spa (Hado), which is complementary, with a sauna and a steambath. I completely relaxed in the luxurious and serene setting.

I slept like a rose that night. In the morning I went to the breakfast room, fully decorated with paintings of ships and Christopher Columbus discovering the west. The breakfast provided a perfect service, newspapers (yes also the Financial Times) and a comprehensive selection of foods and fruits. When I checked out, both men behind the reception desk enquired how I had enjoyed my stay. I told them that everything was perfect and offered them a Tripadvisor review. They liked that and when I paid my bill, I got a pair of knitted gloves, ‘because it is getting cold outside madam Bloem’. Wow. What a service, what an extras, what a perfect stay I had in Milan. They did all they could to give me the best they had to offer, made me feel welcome, pampered me, made me feel like a real lady with the rose. Thank you for this perfect customer experience. They had everything down to a tee, the rose, the vase, the Cavalli toiletries, the breakfast room, the personal recognition. Everything was perfect and I would never have expected this. Congratulations to all staff at the Cristoforo Columbo in Milan: you are on top of the best Customer Experiences list in 2016.

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