We all know how frustrating bad customer service can be. You’re put on hold forever, or repeatedly disconnected. And when you finally reach an actual human being, they have no idea how to solve your problem.
When a company provides great customer service, it’s practically exhilarating. Problem solved!
Just how important is service for a brand’s success? According to PwC, for 73% of shoppers the experience that companies provide – including customer service – is “a decisive factor” in making a purchase. In fact, many are willing to pay a higher price for a better experience.
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On the flip side, almost a third of customers worldwide will cut ties with a beloved brand after only one bad experience. In fact, it’s estimated that businesses lose $75 billion annually due to poor service.
Let’s look at some brands that are best in the business at pleasing customers.
Brands crushing it: Great customer service examples
One of companies that’s solved the equation, at least for now, is perhaps surprisingly, Chick-fil-A. Although fans of its famously delectable fillets may swear it’s the food that seals the deal, the data indicates the quality of the service plays a significant role.
You may be thinking, “Okay, so Chick-fil-A gets high marks for service, but it’s a fast-food restaurant – that’s a pretty low bar.” But consider that its service is rated just as highly as luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton. In other words, a drive-thru customer ordering a $3.65 deluxe chicken sandwich gets the same quality of service as a fashionista buying a $3,900 LV PONT 9 handbag. Maybe the handbag should come with an 8-piece serving of nuggets inside?
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If you’re wondering how Chick-fil-A maintains its focus on superior customer service, it all starts at the top – with Chairman and CEO Dan Cathy, that is. Cathy is known for popping into franchises and greeting families, saying, “Hi, I’m Dan, I work in customer service.” (No word on whether he helps out in the kitchen, though.)
Omnichannel excellence = happy customers
Of course, demonstrating to in-store employees how to provide top-notch service is arguably easier than teaching online associates to tackle sophisticated queries that come in through multiple channels.
One company that has emerged as an online customer service leader is Total Wine & More. Consider the sheer range of questions a service specialist may encounter – everything from “What’s the cheapest gallon of wine available?” to “What cabernet pairs best with Chilean sea bass?”
For a company like Total Wine & More to transform service into a differentiator, a roster of highly trained associated is clearly required. But it’s also necessary to employ service technologies such as omnichannel routing to effectively match queries to the agent with the best skillset to solve them. This approach also helps ensure a seamless experience, since the customer’s point of entry may occur via phone, email, or online chat. In fact, the customer may even begin the discussion online and then complete the purchase in store.
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A fairly new entrant in the competition for best customer service is Chewy, the online purveyor of dog treat subscription boxes. It’s not a complete shock that Chewy is high on the list when you consider that the company founder lifted its customer-first ethos directly from Amazon.
Still, how does a monger of cat toys achieve service rated as superior to Gucci and Nordstrom? Part of it clearly stems from its e-commerce-only business model, which is highly dependent on a well-oiled customer service operation that effectively meets customers via their preferred channels.
Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention USAA, the insurance company focused on military service members. Remarkably, USAA’s customer service outranks even customer-pampering hotels like the Waldorf Astoria and Four Seasons. With so many people now preferring to interact with their insurance companies via digital channels, it’s clear that the ease of use of USAA’s website is a strong contributor to its high service ratings.
Getting customer service right: The essentials
Considering the examples above, here’s what brands need to know about providing great customer service:
- Superior service is no longer optional; it’s an imperative if you want to ensure customer loyalty
- You have to meet customers where they are, whether it’s on the phone, via online chat, or through text messaging.
- Cloud-based tools are an important element of a flexible and scalable customer service strategy
To embrace an omnichannel service strategy, there are several key steps to consider. First, it’s all about a diversified approach – think voice plus chat plus text plus any other channel your customers prefer.
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Second, it’s important to have the right agent desktop dashboards in place. This enables your associates to have ready access to information about a given customer problem as well as emerging trends in the type of issue brought forward.
In addition, cloud-based tools are an important component of any omnichannel customer service approach. They provide access to everything a customer service agent needs to know about the customer (such as products, invoices, deliveries) in order to provide great customer service.
The flexibility that the cloud provides makes especially good sense in our current environment, when so many customer service associates are working from home for the foreseeable future.
Customer service + retention
But don’t take our word for it.
See the ROI of great service HERE.