I recently came across BusinessWeek’s Customer Service Standouts slideshow. I took some time to look through the top ten to find out what made them so special when it came to their customer service. An overlying theme was treating your employees with respect. If employees love who they’re working for, love the products they’re selling, and are educated on them, odds are your customer service will be great. Here’s Business Week’s top 10 and why they made the list. 1. USAA ‘ With their service team of 12,400 receiving 250,000 hours of reinforcement training a year to service military personnel with they know their product. 2. LL Bean ‘ In the 2007 holiday season, they took time to store up their inventory, leaving less customers calling the call center to complain about items being in stock, even with the extra goods they had left over. 3. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts ‘ All employees get the luxury service when they start the job so they know what it’s suppose to be like for the customers. 4. Lexus ‘ They set up an online chatroom to converse with customers online who are thinking about buying Lexus vehicles. 5. Trader Joe’s ‘ They make an effort to pay their employees the average income in their community, and pride themselves on customer interaction in the store. 6. Starbucks ‘ January started, and they made customer service their number one priority, making changes to their current rocky business. 7. Jet Blue ‘ Their new terminal at JFK Airport in New York City will bring more security outlets, as well as more eticket kiosks. They’ve also added a Customer’s Bill of Rights. 8. Edward Jones ‘ In 2007, they implemented a system to recognize branch managers who excelled at customer service. 9. Lands End ‘ In Sears stores, their current owner, they’ve added in-store monogramming, and also computer kiosks so in store customers can browse online. 10. Ace Hardware ‘ The employees focus on being knowledgeable about their tools. This year, they’re having every employee carry around a skill matrix card, so if they’re not the expert on certain tools, they can quickly connect customers with the right person.