In past blogs, we have talked about the benefits of turning your non-profit organization around to be donor-facing. This means always thinking of the donors first, in everything you do.

In order to make your non-profit organization donor centric, you may need to study some of the best consumer-centric companies for inspiration. Here are five businesses exceptionally catering to their consumers!

1. Amazon
No surprise that Amazon is at the top of the customer castle. The company ranks first on almost every customer-centric list in the world, and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. How do they do it? Amazon succeeds year after year by embedding customer-centricity into its DNA.

Here are a few award-winning examples:

  • Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, knows the power of a symbol. He always leaves one seat open in the boardroom, stating that the seat is occupied by the ‘the most important person in the room’ – the customer.
  • The company appoints various awards to maintain high standards, like the “Customer Experience Bar Raisers”.
  • Amazon is known to develop products based on consumer desires rather than based on the opinions of their development team.
  • The CEO also understands the importance of customer service. He has said many times that he believes, “everyone has to be able to work in a call center” so they can gain insight into the wants, needs and perspective of the consumer. Putting his money where his mouth is, each year Bezos and thousands of Amazon managers attend a two-day call center training session (as well periodically fielding calls himself).
  • The company has nurtured a “culture of metrics”, in which they routinely hold customers reaction tests to different features or site designs.


USAA is consistently ranked as one of the best customer-centric companies because of its exceptional transparency and innovation. Here are a few reasons why they excel in both the banking and insurance industries:

  • USAA will discount car insurance to a soldier while he or she is deployed overseas.
  • To be apprised as early and as often as wanted, USAA has a “My account” system that provides customers with the status of their car insurance claim 24/7.
  • The company has the highly appreciated and functional feature of texting account balances to clients. As you can image, this is very helpful for soldiers when they are in the field.
  • USAA was the first bank to provide iPhone deposits to its customers.

These offerings, going above and beyond regular banks, have been a roaring success with its with customers. On a J.D Power survey, 87% of respondents said they will “definitely buy” from USAA again, and the customer retention rate of USAA is 97.8%!

3. Hilton Worldwide
If you have ever stayed at a Hilton hotel then you know exactly why Hilton Worldwide is always rated one of the best customer service corporations.

When it comes to being customer-centric, Hilton knows how to do it best. For example, they take Twitter very seriously! According to the VP of Digital Innovation at Hilton, 42% of hotel guests expect a response to their post on social media within an hour. If it’s a customer service issue, a further 72% of customers expect a 60-minute response. The worldwide chain has created policies and processes to meet these expectations. They even updated their vision statement to this: “Fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality – one tweet at a time”.

4. Marriott International

Here are three principles from the founder J. Willard Marriott that have instilled a sence of commitment to their customers:

  1. “It’s the little things that make big things possible. Only close attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.”
  2. “Great companies are built by people who never stop thinking about ways to improve the business.”
  3. “Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers.”

These guiding principles have created an outstanding company culture. The hotel chain expects a customer-centric focus form every single employee. From housekeepers who ensure the patron’s alarm is not set before they leave the room, to the social media officers employees who respond to customer comments/questions on Twitter in real-time.

5. Chick-fil-A

This may surprise you, but Chick-fil-A is the top customer-centric food chain. What may not surprise you is why. Customers continuously boast a positive experience when they dine with the long-standing fast food chain Chick-fil-A. How does the company achieve such a feat?

Employees at the restaurants always respond to customer requests with the phrase “my pleasure” (adopted from the success-proven Ritz-Carlton motto). Can I get a packet of ketchup? “My pleasure!”

Why else is Chick-fil-A such a great place? Because the employees really do enjoy being there. In 2014, rated Chick-fil-A one of the best companies for which to work. Customers reap the benefits of a happy workplace environment!

When your non-profit organization decides it’s time to really look at how to turn the organization to be donor facing, you can sit down with these five companies and analyze some of their policies and procedures in the customer service arena. Surely there will be some important take-aways that you can embed into your own practices.