Keeping your customers happy is a key facet of running a well-respected, profitable business. But…
While many brands have spent the last few years learning and employing best practices for storytelling, not as many have worked on delivering outstanding customer service. With evolutions in e-commerce, social media, and the gig-economy, how brands can and do relate to customers have changed dramatically. Even small businesses who once only had to talk with people in their own town now have the ability and responsibility of building up an online presence and ensuring that reputation aligns with an audience and potential customer base beyond their state.
Good customer service keeps customers coming back, but by delivering exceptional customer service, brands can do even better, bringing in new customers, generating free media, and building up a reputation. If you want to make sure your small business is part of the latter, learn from what these brands have done in the realm of customer experience:
Zappos has been said to have a customer-obsessed culture, and it’s true. The drive for good customer service at Zappos begins in the hiring process, where they treat job candidates as customers, making the hiring process entertaining, transparent, and engaging. In addition to their normal screening process, they make sure that the candidate’s values align with the company, building personal and emotional connections in their team.
By empowering their employees with the rule of “Always do what’s right for the customer” Zappos creates a customer service department where people act as individuals, rather than robots with a script, enabling employees to make decisions that both make the customer happy and reflect well on the company.
Ebags, the large-scale discount luggage store, has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and for a good reason. They encourage customer reviews and their homepage ticker counts how many they’ve received. They also track products given a thumbs down and ask customers why they disliked the product. Employees don’t just go out of their way to see why customers don’t like a product; they go out of their way to make sure customers like eBags as a company. For example, when one customer wrote in about how his bag fell apart after a while and asked if he could send it for repairs or get a discount for a new bag. Unfortunately, the bag wasn’t being carried by eBags anymore, so the employee handling the claim instead sent him a replacement and a gift card. The entire interaction took just four minutes. eBags’ is all about customer service, and they show it through their actions and by soliciting feedback on all things from both customers and potential customers.
WOW 1 Day! Painting
WOW 1 Day! Painting, a full-service painting company with franchises all across North America, commissioned a survey assessing the concerns Americans have with painting their homes in order to better understand what homeowners are worried about when it comes to painting their homes. They then worked to change the expectation customers had of contractors like them by addressing those concerns when talking with their audience and dispelling myths while being transparent about their services to customers.
By stepping into their potential customer’s shoes, WOW 1 Day! Painting was able to set themselves apart from their competitors and directly address customer concerns, providing a detailed, written quote, references, documentation, a warranty, and a guarantee on when to work will both start and end.
The leading online retailer of contact lenses recently became the #1 rated company on Trustpilot, an independent review platform with over 50 million reviews of 225,000 companies. How did they manage this? In their statement on the rating, LensDirect.com’s CEO Ryan Alovis said “Our customers are treated like family and that’s what makes the difference.” LenDirect.com follows through with every customer review, leaves themselves open to feedback, and work to improve on even their successful orders. In addition, LensDirect.com is the only online retailer of contact lenses that provide an account representative to every customer. There’s no runaround or multiple departmental contacts that a customer has to jump through to fix an issue. By streamlining through simplicity in their services, LensDirect.com gives customers what they want as quickly as they can, without putting the onus of keeping track of who said what on the customer.
If you’ve never shopped at Nordstrom, you’re missing out. Not only do they have a great selection of clothes, but they’ve got excellent customer service, as any of their customers will tell you. In their employee handbook that’s given out to every staff member, their second sentence is “Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service” and they have just one rule: “Use good judgment in all situations.”
In addition to empowering their employees to use good judgement, Nordstrom has established other practices and standards within their company, including the “million-dollar club” for employees who bring in more than $1 million in sales to the company, having employees send handwritten thank-you notes to new customers, and always walking customers to find an item, rather than just pointing them in the right direction. This hands-on treatment ot customer service makes each customer feel like an individual and makes them loyal customers throughout the years.
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