You might not have heard of USAA before, but I guarantee that after reading this case study, you’ll never forget them. USAA is a Fortune 500 financial services company that offers banking, investing, and insurance to people and families that serve, or served, in the U.S. military. Because its customers are both active and retired members of military, its 13,000 customer-service employees (60 percent of the company, 15 percent of which are military themselves) are trained to understand the struggles and challenges of families pressured by war, deployment, and in some cases, death.
Perhaps it’s this empathy that naturally lends to a philosophy and culture that is closely aligned with a flipped-funnel methodology. It’s also why USAA is one of the most highly regarded companies in terms of positive customer experience, with top two rankings on BusinessWeek’s listing of Customer Service Champions. They’ve also enjoyed stellar showings on Forrester’s 2008 Customer Experience Index (CxPi) for both its credit card division (#2) and insurance provider division (#16). Here’s how:
• The service they provide is on their customers’ terms.
Too often, companies migrate (force) their customers into channels that require them to essentially serve themselves. USAA offers free financial advice led by more than 175 advisors who help members over the phone or by e-mail, not because it’s necessarily cheaper, but because it’s an efficient method for military personnel overseas ...

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