This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can get a little tricky once your business starts to boom. Some can argue that having a firm grasp on your customer support will make all the difference between boom and bust. But whether or not you are a multi-million dollar business, treating your customers like gold has become the standard for businesses.
First off, what is customer service? Google gives the definition –
The assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.
Just what you assumed, I assume. So who is getting it right and how have they done it? I have put together a few of my favorites to show just who rises to the top of the customer service success pool.
For some, this company may not be at the top of the charts for how they handle each and every customer. To be fair, no one has a 100% customer service excellence rating; but Apple has done a great job supplementing what you get from them besides just an 800 number. The Genius Bar is, to me, one of the best customer service examples by any business out there. Every Apple store has employees available to answer any question about Apple products you may have. Whether you own an Apple product or not, they are there with deep knowledge of each of their offerings to help you decide if the newest Apple product is for you or not.
That aside, my favorite Apple customer service story is “Apple said yes!” It is a charming story of a man whose wife refused to let him keep the iPad he purchased himself online. He returned it requesting a refund with a note attached reading “Wife Said No”. Apple did refund the man and returned the iPad to him as well. Their note attached read “Apple said yes”. Brilliant!
Chick-fil-a has made huge strides in serving customers, especially within the fast food industry. Being one of the best drive-thrus in America is no easy feat for a chain with over 2,000 locations. Innovations like being able to pre-order in the drive-thru; and the way they talk to guests have set them head and shoulders above any other fast food chain. They have grown to a customer service giant by spending a million dollars a year on fine-tuning their service. From giving each store a thorough evaluation to giving away sandwiches for participating in a survey (that seems to be printed on every receipt I get), they have a firm grasp on what their customers want and how well they are doing to achieve it.
Amazon (of course)
By the title I can imagine you knew that Amazon was going to make an appearance. That, in itself, should testify to the emphasis they have put on maintaining happy and well-informed customers. The stories of their customer service triumphs are too many to list but I will share a few favorites. Everyone knows the superhero chat between Thor and Odin. They have replaced full orders that have been stolen. Refunded money for goods sent through a third party seller that was not in the condition it was stated to be in, and never asked for the item to be returned. By having each rep focus on serving the customer’s needs above and beyond what is necessary has become a mainstay of Amazon’s offerings. Amazon also offers several ways to get a hold of a service rep (phone, email, chat, community forum) so no matter how you need to reach out, there is a way.
All the fun stories aside, customer service has a huge impact on every business and should be treated with the utmost importance. Showing great customer service could get you an ambassador and a lifelong supporter; at the very least you have helped someone who could return to your brand to buy again. Bad customer service however, will almost always lose you a customer and maybe much more than that. Think of every place that you never went to because of a bad Yelp review. So be kind and be helpful and most importantly…