Today we talk about the importance of customer service.
The long-time star in this category is Nordstrom. They’ve built their reputation on a willingness to do whatever it takes to make you happy. But they aren’t the only company we can learn from.
Wowing your customers: a case study
Recently, Southwest Airlines made a customer very unhappy. But let’s review their response, and you’ll understand why some people won’t even consider another airline…
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, an unhappy customer is very likely to go public with his dissatisfaction. Because of the internet and social media, though, there’s a very real possibility of his complaint going viral. That’s exactly what happened in this case.
B.J. Schone went public with his complaint. It was online at dearswa.com. (Sadly, it’s not there anymore.)
You’d a kick out of the way B.J. presented the complaint to Southwest. Remember, his problem was real. He began his trip with a brand new suitcase and ended it with something that looked like it was the test dummy in a suitcase crash test.
I loved Southwest’s response. They adopted B.J.’s quippy style. He used graphic comparisons and funny pictures to make his point. So did they.
That’s great, but that’s not what made their apology work. Southwest took full responsibility for their mistake and generously compensated for it.
Interestingly, this is the least they should have done. Yet it wowed us.
Why? Because so few companies are willing to do it. Southwest not only did the “right thing,” they did it with grace and humor.
I like that.
Go beyond the right response
Sadly, it doesn’t take much to wow your customers with excellent customer service. Get it right, and you’ll create a loyal fan club.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Be accessible.
Nothing is worse than needing to talk with someone and discovering that there’s no person behind the brand. Like the never-ending telephone automated-call-forwarding loop, where you get passed from one recording to another. Forever.
Be accessible. Answer your telephone. Respond to emails. Reply to comments on your social media and website.
In short, be a real person.
2. Answer all questions and concerns.
I’m going to be honest here. You don’t have to have all the answers. You just have to do your best to give an answer.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so. If your customer has a bad experience, take responsibility.
It’s more important that you care and make an effort to meet your customer’s needs than that you get everything right every time.
3. Come through on all your promises.
Never make a promise you can’t keep. In your marketing, tone it down, if need be, to keep it honest. In your sales, don’t promise the moon. If you say you’ll deliver by a certain date, do it.
Ethical sales and marketing demand that you deliver as promised. If you fail, fine. Most of us do on occasion. Just make sure you admit to your mistake and then make it right.
These days you can easily wow your customers simply by doing what’s right. Do it consistently, and you’ll win her heart as well.
photo credit: o5com