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Jet Blue Airlines cares about its customers—and it shows.

In February 2000, founder and CEO David Neeleman started the airline with a simple strategy focused on "bringing humanity back to air travel by offering passengers low fares, friendly service, and a high-quality product."

Understanding customers' needs, habits and desires has truly given Jet Blue an advantage over competitors. Its vision of "humanizing" the experience ties into its business model, which focuses on providing exceptional customer service and reducing costs and inefficiencies whenever possible (source: "Flying High with Jet Blue").

The flight itself is a friendly, comfortable experience. A partnership with DirecTV allows passengers access to 24 cable channels during the flight. Even when I needed to change my return flight at the last minute, I was surprised to find myself with a $25 credit. Now that is service with a smile.

What do companies like Nordstrom, Jet Blue, Amazon and Dell have in common?

They have built their brand value on providing a positive experience for their customers, online and offline. Successful companies match business objectives with customer needs. They combine ongoing testing, feedback and improvement cycles into their daily practices and invest in listening, learning and modifying the user experience to create positive returns in revenue and loyalty. This means user experience is not just a practice or a process—it is a philosophy.

The user experience should be...

• Comfortable

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image of Kelly Goto

Kelly Goto (Kelly@gotomedia.com) is principal of Goto Media (www.gotomedia.com), a strategic consulting agency offering user experience and branding solutions. She is the author of Web ReDesign, Workflow That Works.