Five Ways to Deliver Excellent Customer Service

Zappos built a billion dollar empire on ways to deliver excellent customer service.

In fact, delivering excellent customer service is one of Zappos’ company values. There are thousands of negative customer service stories on the web, but very few great stories, yet it’s the great stories (see Nordstrom’s tires refund story) that stand out the most!

Here are five ways to stand out from the crowd and deliver excellent customer service.

1. Respond as quickly as possible

One of the biggest factors in good customer service is speed, especially when a client is requesting something that’s time sensitive.

STELLAservice conducted a response time report in 2011 and found that the average email response time for the to 100 Internet companies was 17 hours. To further support this research, own customer service study performed in 2016 found that the average response time is still 17 hours.

While Frost reported that 41% of consumers surveyed listed being put on hold as their biggest frustration. Make sure you don’t leave customers waiting.

Average email reply time top 100 retailers
Source: STELLAservice

In 2006, Lexus recalled a series of Lexus ES 350 sedans and asked car owners to visit a dealership and bring their cars in. Instead of having to sit in a waiting room watching their cars being worked on, customers were given a brand new Lexus instead.

2. Know your customers

Great interactions begin with knowing your customers wants and needs. Customers love personalization. Get to know your customers, remember their names and previous conversations. If needed, make a note of what was discussed previously so you can refer to it the next time you meet.

In March 2012 Starbucks launched a new campaign focusing on improving relationships between their staff and customers. Each person who introduced themselves by name received a free latte and in total, more than 350,000 free drinks were given away.

3. Fix your mistakes

Not taking responsibility of your mistakes is a sure fire way to getting a bad reputation. Transparency is important in business and customer service is no different. Always strive for a high quality output as it shows you have a high level of standards.

In 2007, an Amazon customer ordered a new PlayStation for his son for Christmas. When the shipping company delivered the parcel, the customer was away and had a neighbor sign for the package. The neighbor left the package outside the customer’s house (in which it soon disappeared). When the customer realized what had happened, he was left in complete shock. Even though Amazon was not to blame for this mistake, they were quick to resolve this by not only sending a new PlayStation in time for Christmas, but did not charge for the extra shipping.

4. Go the extra mile

Going the extra mile will not only result in an indebted and happy customer, it can also go a long way in terms of keeping yourself on their radar for future business.

In May 2011, a three year old named Lily Robinson wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s, a UK grocery store a letter asking why ‘tiger bread was called tiger bread and not giraffe bread?’. To Lily’s surprise, Chris King, the customer service manager of Sainsbury’s responded with “I think renaming it to giraffe bread is a brilliant idea!”. In January 2012, the bread was renamed to giraffe bread.

Sainsbury's Giraffe cake

 

5. Think long term – A customer is for life

Think long term when dealing with customers. By keeping customers happy, they will be loyal and through word of mouth, will do the marketing for you. In fact, according to author Pete Blackshaw, a satisfied customer tells at least three friends (whereas an angry customer tells 3,000!)

In August 2011, author and business consultant Peter Shankman was ready to board a flight before tweeting “Hey, @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)”. As soon as Peter landed a gentleman wearing a tuxedo was holding a bag that contained porterhouse shrimp, napkins and silverware. Knowing that Peter was a regular customer and having tracked down his arrival details, Morton’s traveled more than 23 miles to deliver excellent service.

Morton's Twitter post

How important is it to deliver an excellent service?

Customer service has an impact on both existing customers and potential customers. A recent survey found that 68% of consumers would react by telling family and friends about a bad experience by posting it on a social network. And as each Facebook profile has an average of 229 friends, the reach of this experience can quickly reach thousands.

However, there is great value in ensuring you deliver a positive customer service. RightNow Technologies 2011 Customer Experience Report found that 86% of U.S. adults are willing to pay more for a better customer experience and 73% of U.S. adults said a friendly customer service made them fall in love with a brand. Not only will brands get happy, loyal customers but will see increased business.

Improving customer service increases revenue
Source: Service People Plus

Business should be built around how to deliver excellent customer service. It’s easy to forget its importance when you are building your brand’s web presence and marketing your website. These five examples above provide truly excellent customer service.

Do you have any stories of a company that deliver excellent customer service? Please let us know in the comments section below.

P.S. One of the best ways to deliver excellent customer service is to provide fast customer support. Download our free customer service templates below!

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About Steven MacDonald

Steven MacDonald

Steven Macdonald is an online marketer based in Tallinn, Estonia, Steven has more than ten years experience in the online marketing field and is driven by creating success stories. You can connect with Steven on LinkedIn and Twitter.

13 Comments

Get rich Radio

about 3 years ago

Great article.

Reply

Shahbaz Shahbaz

about 1 year ago

Alot of amazing ideas for earning customer smiles. Thank you for this nice post.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 1 year ago

Glad you like it, Shahbaz!

Reply

Ashish

about 9 months ago

A great post that illustrates the relevance of customer service. Businesses should be built around delivering amazing customer service that constantly delights the customers. This example featuring how Amazon rates high on customer satisfaction surveys ( https://goo.gl/sxnNno ) will help you understand their approach to delivering effective customer service.

Reply

Johnny McCarron

about 9 months ago

I really liked that you pointed out how important a good customer service experience is, particularly when it comes to a "word-of-mouth" reputation. Often, people will express their disdain for poor customer service to their family and friends. That can really lead to a loss in potential customers, which is something you undoubtedly want to avoid.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 9 months ago

That's very true, Johnny. Thanks for the comment.

Reply

Bob

about 8 months ago

The importance of customer satisfaction coupled with excellent delivery of goods and services can not be underestimated because from it alone comes the defining moment for the company and its endeavor to grow as a business. Such a brilliant article right here.

Reply

Steven MacDonald

about 8 months ago

Thanks, Bob!

Reply

Nickki

about 7 months ago

Very Informative .. Thanks For Sharing

Reply

kilindo

about 6 months ago

Great post! Helps explain the how and why customer service reps go extra mile in providing excellent service to customers in an organization.

Reply

Erin

about 5 months ago

Kudos! It's very informative and easy to understand. Indeed, customer satisfaction is a great plus in a company, better than any marketing strategies. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

maggie

about 5 months ago

Point out what you have that competitors don't, instead of pointing out what is wrong with your competitors, because bad advertising is still advertising. The customer will shop around and end up asking the competition about what you pointed out you had they didn't and come right back to you. Its a mistake that politicians are making these days in campaigns. Bashing only makes the basher look bad, and gives free advertising to their opponent or competition.

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David

about 4 months ago

Well said, Good info. From above Always get confirmation from the customer that the issue has been fixed. Don’t assume that simply telling them what to do is enough. They may be having trouble following your instructions. If you’re on the phone/in person stay with them until they’re up and running again. For email support, follow up messages you’ve sent. This final “Are you ok?” goes a long way.

Reply

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