16 minute read
Retaining customers is always easier than getting new ones. 89% of businesses claim that a good customer service experience is important to keeping customers.
Moreover, 60 to 70% of sales are likely to go to your existing customers. And the ones who want to stay on are the ones who need to be taken care of (sometimes with special pampering).
There are many ways to boost your customer retention – product updates, promos, etc. But one thing that most organisations miss out on is providing a good experience with their customer service.
This American Express study found that customers are willing to spend 17% more with brands that offer excellent customer service. On the other hand, as much as 51% of customers would say their goodbyes based on a single bad experience with a brand!
All in all: A good customer service experience can be your winning point against your competitors. So, we looked for some inspiration. Here are a few examples of companies that have walked that extra mile to provide a personal touch in their customer services.
15 inspiring examples of customer service experience
1. Ritz Carlton lives up to its motto
The Ritz Carlton website reads: “The Ritz-Carlton is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.” Moreover, the motto of this company is, “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”
The American multinational company, Ritz Carlton Hotel Company LLC is a luxury hotel chain. Globally, this company has more than 100 hotels.
The Ritz Carlton is one of those hotel chains that is famous for their personal touch in their customer service. They ensure the well-being of their customers and create a positive experience.
There are stories about the hotel staff personally going out of their way to serve their customers.
A family who was staying in Ritz Carlton, Bali had an unforgettable experience. The family was carrying food for their son who was allergic to multiple food items. But unfortunately, by the time they arrived at the hotel, the food had gone bad. The hotel staff and the chef immediately started going around the town looking for replacements but couldn’t find any.
The chef at the hotel recalled that there was a store in Singapore that delivered these items. He called up his mother-in-law to help him out. His mother-in-law purchased those items and agreed to fly to Bali to deliver the same.
The staff didn’t back down from helping their guests at any cost. The incident went viral and was even covered by Bloomberg.
Such dedicated customer service from the hotel staff was possible only because the company gives its employees financial freedom of up to $2000 per guest. This gives them the free will to help guests out without seeking the permission of the manager.
2. Netflix is our (Best) F.R.I.E.N.D
When it comes to audience engagement, the popular OTT platform surely is a few steps ahead of its competitors.
One of its major attractions is how Netflix maintains its online presence and interacts with its audience. It has an impressionable presence across all major digital platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Netflix has successfully created a chain of loyal customers because of its remarkable customer service skills in approaching customer interactions.
We came across an exchange between a support executive and a customer:
Image source: metecon
Another incident that proved Netflix puts its customers first.
When Netflix announced that it would take down the popular show, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, the audience was extremely disappointed. What did Netflix do? They spent $100 million to allow WarnerMedia to continue streaming the show.
We also love how they approach audience engagement through their social media. They are consistently seen engaging in banters on Twitter threads and Instagram comments. And they certainly take customer opinions seriously.
✅ Personal touch
✅ Happier, loyal existing customers
✅ New audience
A related good read: The beginner’s guide to social media customer service
3. JetBlue saves the day
When it comes to providing the best customer service experience, one of the best examples is JetBlue.
They actually have a Chief People Officer! Dave Clark has been seen handing out donuts, water bottles, and free tickets on winning a trivia quiz to passengers.
There’s also a popular story about what Dave did when a JetBlue flight had to take a cutover. The Chief People Officer along with his other staff was seen pacifying the customers. They were attending to them personally. They explained the situation to them while handing out water and donuts.
To keep the passengers engaged and ensure that they do not leave with a negative experience, he also held trivia quizzes. He gave out free tickets to some of the passengers who won the trivia.
Simple yet thoughtful steps like these in times of crisis can go a long way in maintaining loyal customers. And of course, a memorable customer service experience.
Another interesting example of an excellent customer service experience that became a viral story overnight was when a passenger tweeted that he was unable to get his Starbucks Coffee because his flight was taking off from a relatively smaller terminal at the Logan airport in Boston.
Image source: https://paulgordonbrown.com/2013/12/06/jetblue/
JetBlue immediately took the tweet as a call to action and delivered a Starbucks Coffee to the passenger at his seat.
Image source: https://paulgordonbrown.com/2013/12/06/jetblue/
4. Heartwarming gesture by Zappos
The customer service team at Zappos has their A-game on when it comes to customer service skills.
A customer had ordered six pairs of shoes for her mother to try on and select. Her mother had a medical issue which made her feet uncomfortable if she didn’t wear the right kind of shoes.
After her mother chose two pairs, the customer called Zappos to return the rest of the pairs. The support executive on the other end was empathetic and stated that her father also suffered from the same issue.
However, this isn’t how the story ends. Two days later, the woman’s mother received a bouquet of flowers to let her know that she understood her situation. This left the old lady emotional.
Indeed, stories like these keep our faith in humanity alive. Zappos went a step ahead and made their customers feel seen and heard.
This truly is an outstanding example of an excellent customer service experience that will stay with us!
5. FedEx gains a lifelong loyal customer
The FedEx staff is renowned for their excellent customer service skills.
They constantly keep tracking online brand mentions and keep tabs on customer interactions. The team contacts the customers who actively engage with or discuss anything about the brand online.
In order to better engage with customers, FedEx staff always use their first names when providing help.
We came across the story of Nicole Snow who owns a small business, “Darn Good Yarn” in Maine.
Nicole was facing troubles regarding shipping because of living in a remote area. Moreover, extreme weather conditions in her area made it worse. When Nicole was looking for help to set up her supply chain, she reached out to FedEx on social media. FedEx immediately responded to her queries. The FedEx team helped her out as well.
Fast forward to a year later, FedEx had conducted a contest for owners of small businesses. The winner was supposed to receive a grant of $25,000.
Do you know who was the winner of the contest? It was none other than Nicole Snow!
This is how FedEx established a strong connection with a customer and supported her in all ways possible.
6. MailChimp knows how to ace in email marketing
As soon as you register your account with MailChimp, this email marketing giant starts proactively engaging with their customers, as soon as they register.
MailChimp is a great example customer service experience that is proactive.
It provides unlimited access to various resources to its customers in multiple languages. These resources act as a support for customers on how to use MailChimp to the best of its capacity.
Just like Hubspot, MailChimp too provides dynamic content on marketing and various aspects of brand relations. They also have an option where brands and individual customers can hire their own in-house expert.
Their motto is to treat their customers like a family. This has led them to win 14 Stevie awards for excellence in customer service and for supporting brands with meticulous market research and technical support.
Related: CX Trends in 2022
7. Shopify is a cheerleader for small businesses
Shopify is one of the best companies in the e-commerce sector when it comes to positive experience in customer support.
Their customer service team identified the most pertinent pain points related to customer grievances. They created a separate Twitter account altogether meant only for addressing queries and complaints of customers. They also maintain a massive database of FAQs.
Their customer support executives are always available providing customers omnichannel support through emails, phone calls, chat etc.
Shopify has established itself as one of the biggest promoters of small businesses within a time period of only 15 years.
It has created a global impact of more than $307 billion annually.
8. The tale of Giraffe bread at Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s supermarket has a bread called Tiger bread. However, when the three-and-a-half-year-old Lily Robinson looked at the bread, she insisted that it looked like a Giraffe and not a Tiger.
She took matters into her own hands and wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s where she explained her observations. The customer support manager at Sainsbury’s replied to her saying that it indeed was a brilliant suggestion. 😁
This unusual yet wholesome exchange of letters was posted by Lily’s mom on her blog. It went viral overnight.
Image source: BBC News
Guess what happened after the incident went viral?
Sainsbury’s renamed the bread as Giraffe bread and also posted a note alongside the name tag to explain the change of names. The story was also featured on the BBC News!
Image source: Wondrlust
9. Google is all about constant progress
What makes Google stand out and makes it such a widely used search engine globally? It is Google’s treatment of employees who make their customer service top-notch. Google has also been ranked as one of the top companies to work for by Glassdoor.
Earlier, when anyone had any issue regarding Google, they only had the option of emailing the customer support team. There was a wait of almost close to a day to address any complaints.
However, when Deepak Khandelwal, a marketing expert and ex-McKinsey employee joined Google, things started improving. He didn’t introduce anything revolutionary but something as basic as real-time support over the phone.
One additional feature that helped Google improve its customer satisfaction more than anything else was the diversity of languages in its customer support. Google introduced more than 42 languages to help customers across the globe. Yes! You heard that right.
Its recent features such as real-time video call support have further improved the customer experience.
With a wait time of fewer than 30 seconds for any customer who wants to get any issue solved, Google has made excellent customer service support one of its topmost priorities.
Check out this humorous conversation between a Google rep and a customer. Through this conversation, the support executive has shown what is the true meaning of good communication and customer service skills.
Image source: Reddit
Google’s customer support has improved drastically because of the most basic yet necessary changes that it introduced over time.
The result is that it now has customer satisfaction scores as high as 90%.
10. Southwest Airlines crew leaves the internet in awe
Another good example of excellent customer service experience is Southwest Airlines. Providing good hospitality services is one of the most important aspects of customer service that the crew members of any Airline company have to maintain.
However, not always do people go out of their way to step up for their customers.
We found this incident of a 9-year-old overcoming her fear of flying with the help of a crew member at Southwest Airlines adorable!
Gabby, a 9-year-old girl and a type 1 diabetic was scared of flying. Garrick, a crew member on the flight was there for her throughout the journey to support her. He brought her food and cracked jokes to distract her during take-off.
When the airplane was in turbulence and Gabby was getting anxious, Garrick made her sit next to him. He comforted and distracted her by talking to her about his own daughter who was of the same age as Gabby.
Image source: Help Scout
Gabby gradually calmed down. She overcame her anxiety too.
When the plane landed, Garrick made a special announcement for Gabby. He appreciated her for being able to overcome her fears.
It is not surprising that Southwest Airlines boasts of the lowest number of customer complaints across the USA.
11. That time when Trader Joe’s bent its rules
Trader Joe’s has turned into an icon because of its constant efforts to put its employees and customers above anything else.
A story about Trader Joe’s customer service had gone viral and was all over social media. An old man was stuck in his house due to a snowstorm and couldn't go out to get his groceries. His daughter tried calling multiple grocery stores but none of them was delivering. She finally called Trader Joe's and requested help.
Trader Joe’s delivered all the groceries within 30 minutes, free of cost. The best part? They didn’t even have delivery services! They understood the crisis situation and bent their rules to help an old man.
P.S: This story is one of our personal favourites.
12. Costco is all about care and support
The member retention rate of Costco is a whopping 90%!
Despite the pandemic creating a disconnect between customers and businesses, Costco has managed to maintain its levels of customer satisfaction and support.
Costco also gained the top position from ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index).
The idea of giving away free samples which they call “try before you buy samples” attracts and maintains a lot of loyal customers. Sadly, this was stalled owing to the pandemic.
However, Costco still continues to rule the hearts of its customers because of the special care and support that it provided to its customers during the lockdown.
For instance, in order to protect its customers who are aged 60 and above, Costco allocated dedicated shopping hours for them. Tuesdays and Thursdays every week from 8 AM to 9 AM were meant for them. Later on, when they saw that two days were not enough, they added Wednesdays as another day for them.
People with disabilities were also included in the list of customers for whom these shopping hours were allotted.
Their general store and the pharmacy both operated during these special shopping hours as was announced through their Facebook post.
Image source: USA Today
This gives a personal touch and creates a base of loyal customers. It creates a dedicated connection between the company and its customers.
13. Disney leaves a mother teary-eyed
Disney’s entire business model is based on the fact that it aims to deliver memories and unforgettable experiences.
Just like The Ritz Carlton, Disney too focuses a lot on giving a personal touch to their customer service. Its customers are referred to as “guests” in the Disney world. They refer to each of them, especially kids, by their names and create a memorable customer experience.
Since customer happiness is the top most priority of Disney, it doesn’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to hiring people. They only hire people who have a positive, enthusiastic, and friendly approach to entertaining their guests.
One particular example of Disney’s excellent customer service experience that was also featured in the Harvard Business Review has left us emotional.
A family with two of their sons had an unforgettable experience at Disneyworld during one of their visits. Their youngest son is autistic because of which crowds and excessive noises sometimes intimidate him. However, this particular visit turned out to be one of their best experiences.
When they were about to enter the Disneyworld, the kid noticed a purple balloon with Mickey Mouse on it which he really wanted. His mom promised him to get the balloon if he was on his best behaviour for the entire day.
The day went by and when finally before leaving when his parents went to get the purple balloon for him, they found that there was none left. They were anxious as they didn’t know how they would break this news to their youngest son.
That’s when Disney staff came to their rescue. When one of the staff officials went and informed another staff member about the incident, he quickly rushed to go somewhere. Within a few minutes, he was back with a purple balloon for the boy. The family was grateful to the Disney staff for the gesture.
This is what Disney means when they say their mission “...is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
Image source: Fortune
Disney has made a mark for itself in terms of customer experience.
It is worth noting that Disney has been named the top company in the category of media and entertainment by LinkedIn.
14. Walmart goes all out for a 100th birthday celebration
Maslow’s law teaches us that physical requirements are secondary to emotional needs.
Image source: Shutterstock
This is the philosophy that Walmart follows when it comes to delivering customer service. Walmart knows very well that customer satisfaction is a complete experience. Both the quality of products sold and the service provided matters.
Since its inception, Walmart believed in providing the best bargain on its products.
It has various initiatives like “store of the community” program where Walmart remodelled its discount schemes to suit the needs of the customers.
Walmart has made sure that its services fulfill all the categories of a product experience which is functional, sensual, and emotional. It aims to make its customers happy not only during shopping but also post-purchase.
For instance, Walmart once celebrated the 100th birthday of one of their regular customers, Cecil Rydman.
Some 50 employees at the Gladwin County store of Walmart decided to throw a surprise birthday party for him. They got a birthday cake for him as well as flowers as a token of appreciation.
The employees described Rydman to be a very warm person who always smiled at the staff and sometimes would keep singing on his own while shopping.
His family was overjoyed and touched when they got to know how Walmart celebrated his 100th birthday.
Image source: Midland daily news
15. Lego becomes Santa Claus
When we came across the story of how a Lego customer service executive responded to a sad letter of a 7-year-old, it made our day.
Little Luka carried his favourite Ninjago figure on a shopping trip to the grocery store even when his father advised him not to carry it. Sadly, Luka lost his Ninjago figure which he had bought after saving up all the money that he received on Christmas.
Luka was disheartened but he wasn’t the one to let go of the incident so easily. His father suggested that he should write to Lego describing his loss.
Luka took his father’s advice for a change and wrote a letter! He promised that once Lego gives him another Ninjago figure to replace his lost toy, he would make sure not to lose it again.
Image source: itv
To his surprise, Richard, a customer service executive responded to his letter assuring him that he would get another action figure. He would also send some complimentary gifts because of the efforts Luka put in to buy that action figure set.
This was what the letter sent by the customer service executive read:
Image source: itv
Luka was jumping with joy when he finally received the gift from Lego.
Image source: HuffPost
With this incident, Lego made it clear that every customer is important and nothing matters more than customer satisfaction.
Tips to make you a customer service experience ninja
So these were our top examples of the brands that nailed their Customer Service experience. We've definitely learned some things from them. Let's compile them here:
Create a holistic grievance redressal mechanism
The most basic foundation for improving and maintaining customer engagement is to ensure that there is a speedy grievance redressal mechanism. You can do this by ensuring that your customer support executives are available across all online platforms as well as in stores.
Responding quickly to customer complaints and queries is extremely crucial. It is something that customers appreciate about a business the most. It also creates a positive experience for the customers.
Adopt an omnichannel approach for customer support
To ensure that not a single customer goes dissatisfied or is ignored, try being available on as many channels as possible.
This includes social media, live chat, emails, and even phone calls. This will help you maintain a personal touch in your customer support delivery. It will also give you an edge over your competitors.
Practice empathy and use positive language in conversations
To ensure that your first-time buyers return, the behaviour of the customer support executives need to be positive. The customer support executive shouldn't be rude or harsh.
It is important that your customer support executives know how to communicate. Communication is an important customer service skill, after all.
Understanding the customer’s viewpoint can go a long way in making them feel valued and heard.
Ask customers for feedback across all channels
Whenever a customer completes a purchase, makes a complaint, or makes an inquiry, it is important for you to ask for customer feedback.
The mechanism to collect feedback can be implemented across all modes of communications. For instance, you can use online survey tools like Survey Monkey.
One interesting way of collecting feedback that we observed was at the Pantaloons stores. They had installed tablets with feedback questions at their cash counters. Whenever customers were making their payments, they were requested to give their feedback using the tablets.
A dedicated portal for feedback can be one of the ways to improve your customer service delivery.
Dedicate sufficient time when addressing customer queries
Speed cannot be a compensation for bad customer service!
It is always recommended that you dedicate sufficient time when addressing customer queries. It is not important how fast you close the queries. Rather, it is more important whether you are able to solve your customer’s queries to their satisfaction.
Recommended read: 41 actionable tips to improve your customer service strategy.
Our favourite line…
“It takes months to find a customer, seconds to lose one.”
We loved compiling this list and have taken the inspiration. Let us know in the comments which brands won your heart with their thoughtful customer service. We’re also sharing inspiring examples on our Twitter feed.
Until next time. ✌️
Enjoyed the article? Tell a friend!