Best Customer Service Lessons You Need to Learn
Do you want to know the secret of the best service company? Do you want to know how the best companies and businesses keep their customers happy and coming back for more? We wish there was a simple and easy explanation, but customer delight is a bit of an art. There are no shortcuts and no real formulas.
The only way is to watch and learn from the companies and businesses that are excelling at it regularly. Some of them exceed customer expectations so consistently that their names have become synonymous with customer service. Let’s look at 3 companies, how they delight their customers, and the lessons that can be learned from them.
Best Service Company Example #1: Starbucks
Starbucks, a pioneer of the coffee culture in the United States, has made a name for itself by turning the act of “drinking coffee” into “experiencing coffee”. How the Starbucks baristas hand-scribble the customer’s name on the coffee cup is often used as an example of how to personalize customer experience.
A regular Starbucks customer tells a story on her blog which is a perfect example of everything Starbucks stands for. Gini Dietrich never visited the Starbucks outlet herself however, would always have a friend get her coffee, which was always a tall non-fat latte. After traveling for weeks, when she returned home, she was quite tired and so asked her friend to upsize her drink to a grande.
The friend came back with a grande that had a note saying “hope your day gets better”. The fact that the barista remembered the regular drink of a customer who he had never met after weeks is truly amazing. What’s more appreciable is the fact that the barista was able to intuit the fact that the customer may be having a hard day simply by the act of upsizing their coffee.
The notes did not stop there, every coffee picked up subsequently had a friendly remark. The notes turned into a conversation that went on for four months. The customer uploaded the pictures of the notes on her Facebook and her friends commented on how she should respond.
The barista and the customer became friends. When the day came for the barista to leave Starbucks, he, let her know through her cup. And on his last day, Gini finally decided to meet the Starbucks barista, Dan, in person.
Lesson: Micro-interactions matter in this low-touch economy. Truly caring about your customers and being a customer advocate is the key to creating a personalized customer experience.
Best Service Company #2: Zappos
Whether it’s holding the record for the longest customer service call at over 10 hours or giving directions to a non-shopping caller to a Converse outlet, Zappos is known for listening to its customers.
The philosophy is so embedded in the company’s culture that any new hire is required by policy to work for four weeks in customer service. However, what we want to draw attention to with the next story is the importance of commitment for not just keeping an open ear but truly empathic listening. Here’s what happened.
Zaz Lamarr wanted to return a pair of shoes that she had bought from Zappos. However, because her mother passed away, she could not follow through. When Zappos called her to enquire, she told them what had happened. Understanding the sensitive nature of the moment Zappos arranged for the pick-up free of charge. But that’s not all, this is what Zaz Lamarr had to say about what happened next:
“Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. Big and lush and fragrant. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I’m a sucker for kindness, and if that isn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever had happen to me, I don’t know what is.”
Lesson: A little kindness can go a long way. There is no substitute for truly listening to your customers.
Best Service Company #3: Ritz Carlton
A family staying at the Ritz Carlton, Bali was carrying with them special eggs and milk for their son who was suffering from food allergies. When the family reached the hotel, they found that the special food items were no longer in a usable state. The family was quite distressed and were about to declare their vacation spoilt along with the milk and eggs.
However, a bad experience is just not an option when you’re staying at the Ritz. The manager and the team took it upon themselves to search the whole town for the special eggs and milk. Sadly, they were not available. Then, the hotel’s executive chef remembered that there was a chance to find them in Singapore. You would think that the fact that Singapore was 1044 miles would deter the hotel’s team.
But no, the executive chef called his mother-in-law and persuaded her to fly to Bali with the eggs and milk, and she did. It’s worth mentioning here that the mother-in-law is in no way related to the hotel. The family was overjoyed and quite touched by the effort made by the whole team.
Lesson: Learn to go the extra mile and you never have to worry about customer loyalty.
Best service companies keep their customer happy by exceeding their expectations. Great customer service stories also help customer engagement which is a key component of customer loyalty. Best service company examples teach us the following lessons:
#1. Caring about your customers is the only way to create a personalized customer experience. When you truly care, personalization and customization of customer experience flow naturally.
#2. Hearing your customers is not the same as listening to your customers. Sensitivity is important.
#3. When you learn to go the extra mile, your customers will always be loyal to you. A company that is willing to put in extra effort for their customers never has to worry about competition.
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
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