How many times have you found yourself at the receiving end of terrible customer service?
Whether it’s being put on hold for hours, dealing with surly representatives, or getting transferred from one department to another like a never-ending game of bureaucratic hot potato, we’ve all weathered our fair share of customer service horror stories.
But hidden amongst these tales of utter frustration are stories of exemplary customer service – the kind of care that goes above and beyond the call of duty and leaves you feeling valued and appreciated.
In this blog, we’ll showcase real-life examples of five companies demonstrating the best customer service. From small gestures that make a big impact to companies that have built their reputation on stellar service, we will delve into the stories that inspire, motivate, and remind us of the power of customer-centricity.
Get ready to be inspired and take notes, for these examples might just reshape the way you view customer service forever.
Why Does Good Customer Service Matter?
Gone are the days when dissatisfaction merely warranted a grumpy letter of complaint and perhaps a few irritated calls. Back then, the word about lousy customer service could only reach a limited circle of friends, perhaps branching out to their acquaintances, but that was the extent of its journey.
Today, disgruntled customers wield the force of the internet. One bad experience can go viral, morphing into a brand’s worst nightmare. Just ask Snapchat, which saw $1.3 billion vanish from its valuation with a single tweet from Kylie Jenner.
And while the fear of negative publicity can serve as a compelling incentive to deliver outstanding service, the importance of customer care extends far beyond that. Here are a few other reasons why you absolutely must take your customer service seriously:
Increased Loyalty and Retention
Good customer service breeds loyalty like nothing else. In fact, according to the wise folks at Microsoft, a staggering 96% of customers believe that customer service plays a vital role in determining their brand allegiance. When you fail to meet your customers’ service expectations, you risk pushing them away and losing their business for good.
Beef Up Your Bottom Line
You see when you invest in delivering top-notch customer service, you’re not just satisfying the whims and desires of your customers. You’re also fueling your brand’s financial success, bolstering your bottom line, and securing a more prosperous future. According to Deloitte’s research, brands that prioritize the customer experience and put their customers at the very core of their universe enjoy a 60% higher profitability rate than those that don’t.
Strengthen Your Competitive Edge
In the modern business landscape, customers are spoiled for choice. With so many competitors vying for their attention, businesses are forced to constantly step up their game in order to stand out and make a mark. And customer service can be your ace in the hole, giving you the edge over your competition. 68% of consumers are willing to fork out more money for products and services from brands with great customer service, so why not use it to your advantage?
Examples of Customer Service Excellence
In a world where customer service has become more about damage control than genuine service, these five companies stand out as beacons of hope. These tales of customer service excellence prove that companies can still truly surprise and delight their customers without resorting to gimmicks or empty promises.
Netflix has long been revered for its customer service. The company earned its stripes by providing a reliable, high-quality streaming experience and delivering it to customers without any fuss. But what truly separates them from the pack is their exceptional rapport with customers.
Take, for instance, this anecdote shared by Ian Hall, a Netflix customer. One evening, Ian and his daughter casually watched “Eco-Trip” while preparing dinner. Suddenly, the sound quality went haywire. He figured it was an encoding issue and didn’t give it much thought… until he received this email the following day:
One of the examples of good customer service is Netflix’s proactive email to their customer
Being proactive as ever, Netflix noticed the issue and anticipated that the customers might have been a tad irked by the glitch. So, instead of waiting for people to reach out and complain, they took the initiative themselves. They offered them the option to request a credit for a small portion of their bill.
The gesture might not have amounted to much in monetary terms, but it spoke volumes regarding Netflix’s commitment to creating a satisfying customer experience. It was this philosophy that allowed Netflix to not just survive but thrive in the uber-competitive and dynamic streaming video industry.
When something goes awry, don’t sit back and wait for the customer to sound the alarm. Fix it before they even have a chance to raise their voice and ensure they feel heard and appreciated.
The car-buying process has earned itself a notorious reputation. The endless negotiations, quota-driven salesmen pushing their agendas, and the overwhelming high-pressure tactics have left consumers weary and disenchanted. In fact, a study conducted by DrivingSales revealed that a staggering 99% of automotive shoppers anticipate the entire process to be a huge hassle.
Tesla, however, has managed to defy this stereotype. By taking a customer-centric approach and turning the whole buying experience into an easy and painless affair, they have set a new industry standard.
Unlike traditional dealerships, Tesla takes the reins by selling its cars directly to consumers, cutting out the middleman. This grants them absolute control over how they present their vehicles and the interactions their sales reps have with customers.
Step into a Tesla store, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a luxurious shopping environment, complete with coffee bars and free international calls. Tesla employees don’t just talk numbers and specs; they emphasize the company’s energy mission and encourage an open discussion between customers and reps. That means even if someone walks into a Tesla store with no intention of purchasing a vehicle, they’re likely to come away with a newfound understanding and appreciation for the brand.
At the helm of this customer-focused culture is Elon Musk, who sets the bar for customer service excellence. While most company CEOs remain shrouded in a veil of mystery and unreachable to the public, Elon Musk is almost always on the front lines, interacting with customers and responding to their grievances.
Customer service isn’t about performing theatrical stunts or offering the most lavish promotions. It’s about taking the time to understand customers, anticipating their needs, and creating an experience that leaves them feeling empowered and appreciated. This is the secret to Tesla’s stellar customer service, and it can be yours too!
Of course, no conversation on exemplary customer service is complete without a well-deserved shout-out to Zappos. These guys have been the epitome of top-notch service since day one, and they continue to raise the bar higher.
In a recent feat of customer service awesomeness, Zappos logged a call that lasted 10 hours and 43 minutes. Most companies push their call center agents to zip through their calls and keep the conversations as brief as possible. Zappos, however, gives its reps the freedom to do what’s right for customers, even if it means spending hours on the phone with them.
The call began innocently enough, with Zappos employee Steven Weinstein assisting the customer in ordering a few items. But soon enough, they evolved into a lively discussion about vacations, restaurants, and places they’ve been to. It was like two old friends catching up, even though they had never spoken before that day.
And that’s what makes Zappos so unique. They don’t just see customers as transactions but as friends waiting to be made. From the moment you call in, you get the feeling that they are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure you leave their store happy.
At Zappos, customer service isn’t a job; it’s a way of life. And it shows in every single interaction.
Yes, addressing customer issues promptly and professionally is crucial, but never at the cost of making them feel rushed. Take the time to get to know them and ensure their every need is met. After all, it’s these interactions that will help you build strong and lasting relationships with your customers. Zappos has cracked the code of exceptional customer service, reminding us all that genuine connections and going the extra mile can make all the difference. So, take a page from their playbook, and show your customers that they’re more than just a number to you.
#4: SouthWest Airlines
When Renée Stoeckle, a Xavier basketball fan, boarded her Southwest Airlines, she had her fingers crossed that the plane’s WiFi would be powerful enough to stream her beloved Musketeers in action against Florida State during the NCAA Tournament’s second round.
Unfortunately for Renée, Southwest’s WiFi wasn’t exactly up to the task.
But Renée wasn’t one to sit idly by. She took to Twitter to air her grievances, as any disgruntled customer would. Little did she know that her tweet would turn into a customer service success story that would be talked about for years to come.
Rather than a formal apology and suggestion to DM for further assistance, Renée received something much better. She was greeted by “Mike from Southwest,” who explained why the streaming wasn’t working. But Mike didn’t stop there: he actually sent Renée a live update on the game.
Renée, then, dared to make an audacious request for more updates, secretly thinking that it was too good to be true. Yet, against all odds, Mike spent most of the second half glued to the Xavier-Florida State game, ensuring Renée didn’t miss a beat, even at 30,000 feet.
Southwest Airlines have certainly earned its place on the podium in the realm of examples of good customer service legends. They have proven, time and again, that they value their customers to the point of going above and beyond.
The takeaway here is simple: always go the extra mile. Showing your customers that you are willing to go out of your way to make them happy shows them that they matter and that their satisfaction is your top priority. Doing the unexpected doesn’t have to mean big, flashy gestures either; oftentimes, it’s the small, thoughtful touches that will make the most significant impact.
#5: Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
Glamor, luxury, opulence—these words effortlessly weave together, forming the tapestry that is The Ritz-Carlton. It’s a name that evokes images of elegance and sophistication, captivating the imaginations of those seeking the pinnacle of hospitality. But beyond the grandeur of their properties lies something even more impressive, their commitment to providing outstanding customer service.
One example of this excellence in action was recounted by customer John DiJulius, who left his laptop charger behind at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. The hotel staff, ever ready to help, shipped him a next-day air package containing not only his forgotten charger but also an additional one for backup. Accompanying this thoughtful gesture was a note that read, ‘Mr. DiJulius, I wanted to make sure we got this to you right away. I am sure you need it, and, just in case, I sent you an extra charger for your laptop.’
This anecdote serves as a reminder of The Ritz-Carlton’s unwavering commitment to providing the highest standard of customer service. By anticipating John’s need for his charger and providing an extra one, they showcased their exceptional hospitality and appreciation for their customers. They turned a simple customer oversight into an opportunity to create a memorable customer experience.
Embrace the potential in every customer mishap. See it as a stage to showcase your commitment to providing acts of service that go beyond the norm. Transform errors into opportunities to dazzle and impress. And remember, it’s the small, thoughtful touches that set legends like The Ritz-Carlton apart.
How Can You Elevate Your Customer Service Game?
Whether you’re a small business or a global corporation, the pursuit of excellence in customer service should be an integral part of your culture. In this section, we will explore the key ingredients you’ll need to unlock the full potential of your customer service operations.
Embrace the Power of Technology
We’re living in the age of mind-boggling technological advances, where a world of possibilities lies at your fingertips. By integrating cutting-edge tech into your service strategies, you’ll witness the alchemy of streamlined operations, lightning-fast response times, and a whole lot of customer delight. Some of the latest examples of good customer service tech worth exploring include:
Social media monitoring tools
Social media has become one of the main communication channels for customers looking to interact with brands. From inquiries to complaints, feedback to suggestions—you’ll find it all on the various social platforms. To stay in control of these conversations, try leveraging social media monitoring tools like Determ, which are designed to help you keep track of all the conversations happening around your brand and respond proactively. By tuning in to your customers’ thoughts, desires, and gripes, you’ll better understand their needs and be able to address them faster and more efficiently.
They’re the fast and reliable sidekicks that ensure your customers never feel abandoned, even in the most hectic of times and darkest of hours. You can program them to tackle the flurry of FAQs and mundane queries that flood your inbox, freeing up your customer service agents to focus on the more complex tasks. Plus, they offer lightning-fast response times, so you can ensure your customers get the help they need when they need it.
These nifty little black-and-white squares are sprouting everywhere, offering customers a lightning-fast gateway to a treasure trove of information. From customer feedback forms to emergency service requests, the potential of QR codes is virtually limitless. What’s more, they can help you collect valuable customer data and insights with every scan it receives. All you have to do is find a reliable and trustworthy QR code-generating service, create your own unique codes, paste them around the relevant places, and watch the magic unfold.
Automation has come a long way in the last few years. Businesses can now leverage powerful tools like Zapier that are capable of automating a plethora of processes and tasks. You can set up a series of pre-written responses that are triggered in the event of specific scenarios or use automation to streamline mundane tasks like data entry and customer follow-ups. You can even use it to support your personalization efforts, allowing you to offer tailored service solutions based on each customer’s unique needs. The sky’s the limit!
Harness the Human Touch
While technology may dazzle and amaze, it can never quite replicate the power of genuine human connection. This is the secret sauce that separates the average from the unforgettable. That’s why it pays to invest in your team, providing them with the training and tools they need to supercharge their skills.
Invest in effective training programs that will help equip your customer service agents with the key skills and competencies they need to deliver exceptional service. And don’t forget to give them the autonomy and flexibility to think outside the box and unleash their creative genius. Encourage them to be daring and to come up with innovative solutions that go above and beyond customer expectations. After all, true customer service heroes don’t settle for anything less than extraordinary.
Improve Your Customer Record Management
A customer forced to repeat their query or provide their details multiple times is one step closer to becoming an ex-customer. If you don’t want your customers to run into these kinds of obstacles, it pays to rethink your customer record management strategy.
A robust file management system that stores all customer information in one central location and is easily accessible to your team can do wonders for your customer service operations. No more scattered notes, no more frantic searches through different platforms. Everything you need is right at your fingertips. Your team can comprehensively view each customer’s journey, streamlining the info retrieval process and enabling them to provide more personalized service solutions.
Evaluate Your Customer Service Team’s Performance
Are you evaluating your service performance regularly? Or are you just coasting along, hoping your numbers will stay consistent? It’s easy to become complacent with the status quo, but if you want to keep things ticking in the right direction, you must stay on top of your service team’s performance.
Start by choosing the right performance review framework to ensure every team member is assessed objectively and fairly. Then, set key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure how well your team is performing. This could include response time, first call resolution rate, customer satisfaction score, etc. Once these metrics are in place, track them over time and use the data to inform your service strategies. This will help ensure that you and your team consistently deliver the highest level of customer service possible.
The Value of Exceptional Customer Service
We hope that these real-life examples of good customer service have ignited a spark of inspiration within you. Remember, great customer service is not just a myth or a rare occurrence; it is an attainable goal for every business. By going the extra mile, showing genuine care, and putting the customer at the heart of everything they do, these five companies have set a shining example for others to follow.
As you reflect on these examples, consider how you can incorporate elements of exceptional customer service into your own interactions. With the right mindset and a customer-centric approach, you, too, can make waves with your customer service.