Enterprises that have truly mastered customer experience

Once a successful company, always a successful company? Hardly!
89% of the companies on the Fortune 500 in 1955 were not listed in 2014 and the same number in 2016.

Should companies invest more in customer service departments and call centers? Nope!
By 2020, the customer will manage 85% of its relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human.

There are exceptional enterprises that have realized what these statistics really mean: the wise invest in online customer experience, and we have explored why in this previous blog post. The following enterprises have done just that, and based on their understanding of and adapting to the trends, they will be leading their industries for many years to come.

Virgin America

Hailed by Wired as “super first, and strikingly pain free,” Richard Branson’s Virgin America did not accept the status quo of airline booking site. Not surprising, since pretty much everything about the venture has challenged the status quo – from their safety video to their AC power and free satellite TV at every seat.

Virgin America has challenged the standard airline booking site. It uses no photos (stock or otherwise), no ads, and is a single screen designed to fit the mental map of the user. The flow resembles that of an app more than a typical website.

“The result is a site that gets flyers booked nearly twice as fast, on any kind of device, while building Virgin’s reputation as a passenger focused airline.” put the new site to the test, and “the users reported that the process felt streamlined and enjoyable.”

Branson does it again!

Amazon Prime Music

amazon prime music user interface

Branson’s brainchild may have been in the music category, but Amazon Prime Music is currently making some headway in transforming the streaming music space from a user experience perspective. The Design Lead on the project detailed his experience in this case study, in which he explains “Our customers expect and trust us to know them. We envisioned the future of the music service to be deeply personalized to customers' music tastes.”

The resulting user experience is one that shows its users they are understood and appreciated, gives them a homey feeling of being in control of their experience, and respects their time and attention. These lofty goals should be the target of every customer experience undertaking (and possibly every human interaction across the globe).


Another company that has disrupted an industry (are we sensing a trend here?) is Zappos. Their real-world customer service is exceptional with their industry’s first (and best) guarantee: fast, free shipping and free returns (including prepaid shipping) for a full year.

But, in the world of online user experience, what sets Zappos apart is their incredible personalization. Another Clicktale expert wrote about her personal experience in this article, but the bottom line is that Zappos knows what I want, they deliver relevant content, and it works!

Zappos is revolutionizing their industry with ideas like removing product descriptions. Perhaps other companies rely on them for SEO value, but Zappos puts users first and Google bots second (and frankly, that is the way Google likes it!). They researched real users’ interactions with their site and discovered that customers want images first, then videos and reviews. So, they designed their product pages to serve their users, without what the industry previously viewed as the “required” textual product descriptions.


Walt Disney has been called a genius, a visionary, and “The World’s First UX Designer.” One of the best features of Disney’s customer experience is its omni-channel consistency.

Of course, all sites are responsive for all devices, but that is just a building block. By designing all of their properties with user-centricity,, the MyDisneyExperience smartphone app, and the Magic Band program (with integration to FastPass and PhotoPass), Disney has removed friction, and in its place, inserted that famous Disney magic.

As noted by, “subtle digital enhancement [adds] something magical about skipping to the front of the line to have your child’s picture taken with a beloved Disney character and then conveniently ordering the photos online later. This is both an example of an existing omni-channel experience, as well as the current high water mark for experiences that move between the physical and digital.”

Many enterprises are doing it right

Autodesk Blog

autodesk blog

The Autodesk Line/Shape/Space blog is designed for its newest target persona: smaller firms specializing in design and drafting. According to this case study, “the plan was to start a conversation and provide valuable resources to help small business owners grow, become more efficient and ultimately allow Autodesk to rightfully maintain its position as a thought leader within its industry.”

The blog design is content-centric and draws visitors deeper into the site. The KPIs show that this strategy works:

  • 244% increase in unique visitors
  • 207% increase in website visits
  • 174% percent increase in page views
  • 40% increase in newsletter signups
  • More than 180,000 unique visitors from 190+ countries within a year

Coupling valuable content with responsive customer-driven design is a winning strategy for Autodesk.

Virgin America, Zappos, Amazon, Disney, and Autodesk are not alone. We are pleased to find many enterprises exceling at customer experience. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and LL.Bean are a couple of other great examples. What they have in common is unmistakable: understanding their visitors’ motivations and behavior, and creating personalized digital customer experience designs to thrill and please them. 

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