Ask any ‘Pretty Woman’ fan and they’ll gleefully recount that unforgettable scene when Julia Roberts hits Rodeo Drive for a shopping spree. Remember the revenge-bliss scene in the 1990s romantic fantasy?
So it happens that Vivian visits a fancy boutique to buy herself a nice dress where she is spurned by the snooty salespeople. Later, she buys a slew of obscenely expensive outfits and then returns – dressed to the nines and carrying handfuls of shopping bags – to the one boutique that had shunned her.
“You work on commission, right?” she asks a la-di-da saleswoman.
“Big mistake. Big. HUGE!”
“I have to go shopping now,” she says, turning on her heels to leave (as we give a collective contented sigh at the appalled look at the salesperson’s face. She had it coming!).
Moral of the story? It doesn’t matter how deep your customer’s pockets are, it only matters how well you treat them. Imagine how different the movie would be if it was made now. What are the chances of Vivian tweeting out her anger and hurt, her tweets going viral with tons of people chipping in their own frustration, the movement gaining momentum and leading the store to a digital suicide?
In a service business, nothing is more important than having people on your team who’ll do more than represent your current culture-you must have people who push the culture you have forward, not the other way around.
More often in customer experience, you could get away with doing the bare minimum. That is mostly enough. But enough is far from memorable. It is when you go out of your way that you make people’s day!
We’ve cherry-picked 10 brands that have an unbeatable track when it comes to cultivating their customers’ happiness.
Did you know that up to 42% of consumers expect a response with 60 minutes? Apparently, a prompt response is the norm, not exception anymore.
If there is a gold standard in customer service, it has got to be Zappos. Their support success stories are the stuff of urban legends. One such instance, they won a customer for life by overnighting a pair of shoes, free of cost, to a best man in need.
On social media, Zappos doesn’t hold back from having a little fun with emojis and GIFs, but they always adhere to their golden rule of putting their customers first. And it pays off, each time!
Mike McCready, your average Jo, was attending the #PSEWEB conference in Vancouver, when he stayed at Delta hotel. While he liked his room at the Delta, the view was rather ugly and he tweeted that with his followers. He didn’t tag the hotel, merely commenting on it, as he didn’t think anything would come out of the tweet.
He was in for a pleasant surprise when Delta responded within an hour- offering another room with a better view! And he had a dish of sweets and a handwritten card from the staff awaiting his arrival in his room. Mike was so profoundly impressed that he wrote an entire post about it, the very same day.
If happy customers are what you have in mind, then an exuberant customer service team is what you should already have. Let your customer service team have fun. Amazon has an exciting story to tell of what can happen when companies give their teams more freedom in their client communications.
One such instance, when a witty customer service person engaged in a Thor and Odin roleplay with an equally witty customer, to the delight of everyone. ( https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/1133174/now-thats-customer-service-amazon-worker-engages-in-hilarious-thor-roleplay-to-help-replace-customers-lost-book/ This Thor and Odin exchange was legendary. The hilarious communication between an Amazon employee and a customer couldn’t go better even if it was scripted!
Now, can you imagine how dry things would have been if the Customer Service was asked to reply only with strictly professional (read stuffy), straightforward answers? More people than you’d think would appreciate humor. Just don’t crack jokes at the expense of a pissed off customer.
There is nothing more cheerier than surprise gifts (as Westjet proved)! In December 2013, the Canadian airline staged what would become the most stunning example of ‘giftvertising’ yet.
When Santa Claus greeted each of the passengers boarding the two Westjet flights with “What would you like for Christmas?”, they thought it was a just an interesting Xmas celebration. From a warm scarf and clean underwear to holiday tickets and a big tv, their answers ranged from whatever first came to their mind.
In the following year, the number of visits to their websites doubled, with bookings increasing by 77% compared to the same month in 2012 and revenue rising by a whopping 86%!
Putting out figurative fires is what a customer service company does all day. But doing it gracefully is indeed an art! Sometimes it’s when things aren’t going perfectly that a company’s true colors come out.
As is the case of Slack when they dealt with their app-wide outage like a pro in late November, 2015. For a new company on the block, they have more than their share of passionate customers for whom Slack has become an indispensable part of many teams’ work day! That’s why when Slack went down ten months ago, users blew up Twitter.
They responded to every complaint on social with speed and humility, and diligently shared regular updates until the issue was resolved, and the app was up and running again!
Transparency can leave a huge impact on the ones who are on the receiving end of it. Salesforce has an excellent customer service, that plays a vital role in making it the customer’s favorite.
As they put it, “Success is built on trust.
Trust starts with transparency.”
Salesforce is so utterly customer focused and upholds transparency so much so that the company publicly disclose in real time when its cloud services are unavailable or face some reliance issues. Now that takes some nerve!
The one brand that has inspired the type of customer loyalty which sometimes borders on the maniacal, Apple earned its loyalty through their exemplary customer experience.
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward to the technology.”
Steve Jobs – Co-founder of Apple
While the Apple products are the very definition of innovation and ease, the real soul of the company is its employees. Apple mitigates the need for reactive customer service with a focus on building intuitive products and providing quality training for users.
Apple staff are highly knowledgeable and committed to passing on that knowledge in an empathetic way. They demonstrate enthusiastic, empathetic, and knowledgeable customer service. The sheer quality of training the staff undergoes make the entire customer experience seamless, and most of all, effortless.
At a Nordstrom store, a woman lost her diamond from her wedding ring while trying on clothes. She was crawling on the floor under the racks when a store worker noticed her. He asked what was going on, then joined the search.
When they came up empty, he sought two building-services workers to join the search. To everyone’s relief, the finally found the shiny diamond on one of the bags of the store’s vacuum cleaners.
The video clips that captured this incident was shared proudly with the stakeholders in a meeting when the President of Stores Erik Nordstrom said, introducing his three employees who went out of their way to help the customer. “I’ve never been through a vacuum-cleaner bag. It’s kind of disgusting, this raises the bar,” he said!
Southwest is not among the most well-known airlines in the U.S. for nothing. They have the most amazing personality as is evident from what they have to say about themselves on their website.
“We like to think of ourselves as a Customer Service company that happens to fly airplanes (on schedule, with personality and perks along the way).”
One of their memorable support stories is as follows: when a woman athlete landed at the airport but her running gear didn’t show up, she was understandably distressed about the relay race that was soon to happen. She resolved to go to Walmart to buy herself a replacement before a Southwest team member drove 3 hours to deliver the bag to her so that she could continue with her team and go on with the race.
As is evident here, their dedication to customer service is simply a class apart!
Who, but JetBlue has an exclusive Customer Bill of Rights?
“JetBlue Airways is dedicated to bringing humanity back to air travel. We strive to make every part of your experience as simple and as pleasant as possible.” They ensure that their service is thoroughly human, especially on social, responding within minutes, guiding customers throughout, and responding with emojis and GIFs to any questions customers might have.
They have no qualms whatsoever when it comes to delivering personal service. One time, when the customer’s flight was delayed and it seemed like she was going to miss her second flight too, the manager booked her another flight home that took off from another airport and made the effort to drive her to another airport so she would make her flight on time.
It only takes a handful of disastrous customer experiences to shatter the credibility that took your brand decades to built. It pays to be long-term greedy and leave no stones unturned to ensure a supreme customer service.
Want to find your company on this list? There are no shortcuts save putting your customers in the center of everything you do. You need to know what they desire to offer them exactly that. And how do you do that?
By asking them, of course. Customer feedback surveys and market research surveys will give you precious insights on what your customers are expecting of you. Craft highly engaging that your customers would enjoy filling up.