If you manage a business — no matter what the size — you probably already understand the critical importance of offering your clients a delightful customer experience. In today’s digital world, consumers expect an award-winning interaction whenever they connect with your organization, no matter whether they’re engaging with a live support rep or a self-service support platform. And if they don’t get one? The statistics are dire. Studies show that 67 percent of consumers list bad customer experience as one of their primary reasons for churning; 95 percent of consumers reportedly share their bad experiences with others.
If worries about how your organization can live up to ever-increasing client service demands are keeping you up at night, you’re not alone. Many businesses are challenged by the best way to build brand loyalty among customers who are increasingly flooded with online marketing and peer-to-peer influencing campaigns. Additionally, when it comes to providing excellent customer service, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Finding the “perfect fit” for your brand requires an understanding of your customers’ needs.
With that being said, rest assured that there are companies of all sizes that are triumphantly offering excellent customer service, and being recognized for their efforts. While each example below is different, these organizations are similar in that they’re all successfully walking the fine line between their self-service and live-agent support offerings. If your team is gearing up to strike the perfect balance between automation and authenticity, read on for some inspiration from these noted client success leaders.
5 Companies Setting the Bar High for Delightful Customer Service
Zappos. Long known as the feel-good online retailer that features goofy employee videos and offers fun customer perks, Zappos consistently ranks at the top of the range in customer service indexes. In 2017, Forbes Magazine pointed not to Zappos’ much praised “surprise and delight” campaigns for their success, but something much more simple (and replicable): their commitment to 24/7 telephone access. “Broadly speaking, the telephone at Zappos represents human contact, and extending rather than contracting the amount of time and resources that the company wants to spend in human-on-human connect with customers.”
USAA. Another example of a company that creates stellar customer service through live-agent support is The United Services Automobile Association (USAA). A seemingly humble insurance company geared at serving military families, USAA has made a company-wide commitment to shifting their work systems to deliver seamless customer service. As profiled in the 2012 book, Business Climate Shifts: Profiles of Change Makers, USAA made a conscious decision to invest resources in a “sophisticated computer system that serves as a high-tech ‘backbone,’ linking seven regional call centers and ensuring that customers receive seamless service.” Their ECHO initiative (“Every Contact Has Opportunity”) focuses not just on dealing with the individual customer concern, but also seeks to pull out larger trends so that USAA can constantly improve their service.
Trader Joe’s. If you’ve ever stepped into a TJ’s, you’ll understand what Forbes refers to as the “overall uplifting effect” that creates the foundation of this company’s delightful customer service. How do they do it? In part, by “disrupting” our typical idea of grocery stores. Instead of a neutral color scheme and harsh lighting, Trader Joe’s layers on color and texture in their décor. In addition, their hiring practices focus on staffing up with people who authentically are excited to engage with customers about the brand. Writes Forbes, “There’s nothing robotic or scripted about the transaction…Authenticity is something you can feel – it’s crucial to the buzz.”
TD Bank. Speaking of disrupters, TD Bank stole the cake in terms of delivering a surprising, disruptive experience to customers with their #TDThanksYou campaign. On a single day in 2014, every customer accessing TD’s Canada Trust branches at a given point during the day received a surprise bonus in the form of $20. While this gesture already ratchets their customer experience up a few notches, the real success came from the related video they circulated, which went viral. TD had already established a solid brand attribute of accessibility in 2009, when it rebranded itself as the most “convenient bank.” The takeaway? Surprise-and-delight disruptions are made even more impactful when you’ve already established your customer experience differentiators.
Southwest Airlines. It’s hard to create an enviable customer experience in today’s busy commercial airline industry, but Southwest consistently earns top praise for its customer-focused company culture. While many airlines have struggled, Social Media Today reports that Southwest “has bucked industry trends by delivering 42 consecutive years of profitability.” The airline has developed comprehensive systems for responding to customer social media concerns, and has established a goal of responding to any customer concern within 10-15 minutes. How do they do it? In part, by streamlining the company’s social media presence to a single Twitter handle, and empowering all employees to take “ownership” over social media interactions.
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