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How To Deliver Excellent Customer Service (Benefits, Examples, Case Studies & Recommendations)

Customer service

When was the last time you provided good 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: Our purpose is simple: to live and deliver WOW.

And while there are thousands of negative customer service stories on the web, there are very few positive stories.

Whether you provide customer service by phone, email, live chat or social media, we've gathered some of our favorite stories online and share our thoughts on what makes them so good.

What is good customer service?

Table of contents 

  • How important is customer service? 
  • The benefits of good customer service 
  • Most popular customer service channels 
  • 5 good customer service examples to provide great service 
    • Respond as quickly as possible 
    • Know your customers 
    • Fix your mistakes 
    • Listen to your customers 
    • Think long term – A customer is for life 
  • 3 ways to improve customer service 
    • Deliver context-based support 
    • Innovate the customer journey 
    • Invest in human and automated service channels 

How important is good customer service? 

Customer service has an impact on both existing customers and potential customers. Did you know that 68% of consumers would react by telling family and friends about a bad experience by posting it on a social network. And almost 50% of customers claim they would switch to a new brand after just one bad experience!

And as each Facebook profile has an average of 338 friends , one negative experience can quickly reach thousands! 

However, there is great value in ensuring you deliver positive customer service. 

According to the recent Achieving Customer Amazement report, 1 in 4 customers is willing to pay up to 10% more in almost every industry if they receive excellent customer service!  

And an astounding 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service. 

Increased sales and customers is one of the benefits. But there’s more, too. 

The benefits of good customer service 

 The worst thing you can do to a customer is ignore them if they try to contact you. Here’s 3 additional benefits of customer service. 

1. Increases loyalty and satisfaction

Happy customers are less likely to stop doing business with you. Plus, if they’re loyal, they will spend more. By using customer service to help them, you can save costs on marketing, helping you reach profitability faster. 

2. Improves word of mouth recommendations

Good customer service is good marketing. 

If a customer is unhappy, they will tell their friends or complain on social media, resulting in a negative perception of your brand. However, if someone is happy with the service you provide, they can influence their network to visit, shop or buy from you. 

3. Understand your customers better

What problems do your customers have issues with? What kind of feedback do they share with you? And how can you improve your product or service? 

Without customer service, you’re just guessing. With customer service, you have the answers. Directly from the customers themselves. 

How you communicate with customers differs from company to company. 

 Today, there’s no shortage of customer service channels. 

Most popular customer service channels 

Great customer service happens in all channels - email, social, SMS, chat and phone. 

But regardless of which channel your customers use, they all want the same thing: 

High quality support. 

So, which channels should you be active in? 

Here’s the 5 channels you need to know about. 

  • Phone: Customers still love to speak to someone - especially when it comes to urgent issues. While it’s nice to be digital, always make sure a customer can reach someone by phone. 
  • Messaging apps: A key communication channel for Gen Z, messaging apps (think Facebook Messenger) are a great way to handle customer service messages over an extended period of time as they are managed as an ongoing conversation. 
  • Social media: Your customers use social media. They also use it to express how they feel, so unlike a direct email to your support team, engaging with customers on social media requires you to be proactive. Find existing conversations and engage with your customers. 
  • Email: After phone support, email is the most-used customer service channel. The great thing about email is that it creates a digital record of correspondence - both for you and the customer. And with the right technology, you can automate, escalate and route emails within your organization to improve response times. 
  • Chat: Great for helping people directly on your website, live chat allows you to communicate with customers in real time. The great thing about live chat is that it can be used by sales reps for upselling, marketing departments for lead generation and customer service teams to handle questions from customers. 

So, now you know the benefits of customer service and the channels you can use to communicate with them, here’s 5 examples to inspire you to deliver better quality. 

5 examples of great customer service

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

Let's get started!

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.

Several years ago, STELLAService conducted a response time report and found that the average email response time for the top 100 retail companies was 17 hours. Today, it's not much better as own customer service study found that the average response time is 12 hours.

average customer service response times

Meanwhile Frost reported that 41% of consumers surveyed listed being put on hold as their biggest frustration. 

The key takeaway? 

Don’t leave customers waiting. 

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

The SuperOffice customer service team reduced response times from 5 hours to less than 1 hour in less than 6 months, without compromising on quality. How? By using SuperOffice Service.  

Want to reduce your response times? Book a demo here. 

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 January 2020, Starbucks launched their "Every name's a story" campaign focusing on improving relationships with their customers. The award winning campaign promotes inclusivity, recognition and acceptance at Starbucks stores across the world. The video, a focal point of the campaign, has generated more than 2.8 million views on YouTube.

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.

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 and unfortunately, 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.

The Customer Success team at Amazon showed great empathy here towards the customer. Rather than sticking to their refund policy, then chose to do good. And that's what matters most.

4. Listen to your customers

Listening to your customers 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.

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?’. Lily was clearly onto something, as the bread really does look like a giraffe print!

In most cases, these types of suggestions are met with a simple "Thank you".

But, 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!”. Several months later, the bread was renamed to giraffe bread.

Listen to your customers

How's that for appreciating your customers?

As head of our customer service center, Stein Ove Sektnan couldn’t agree more with the value of listening to your customers. Here’s what he had to say on the topic.

"If you want to deliver great service, you should listen to your customers. Of course, it’s easier said than done. The difficult part is acknowledging feedback and learning from it. Most companies ignore feedback. 

Use the feedback to test new ideas, experiment and improve. Based on experience, listening to customers and acting on their feedback helped increase customer satisfaction score (CSAT) from 85% to 95%! "

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!)

Peter Shankman, author and business consultant, 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. :)”.

Personalized customer service

A fun attempt at humor, right?

Peter admitted he was joking. He never expected anything after he sent that Tweet...

But, as soon as Peter landed, a gentleman wearing a tuxedo was holding a bag that contained a porterhouse steak, shrimp, potatoes, 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 his food and with - one of the greatest customer service stories of all time.

Would you travel 23 miles to provide one of the most legendary stories on customer service?

I know I would.

Julija Ražanskienė, Support Manager at SuperOffice since 2016, knows all about balancing short-term support metrics with a genuine passion for building long-term relationships with customers.  

"Providing good service for our customers is not only about receiving high satisfaction scores or solving a high number of support requests.  

Our main focus is simple - to help others. Always. We practice this within our customers, but also in the support team itself.  

Good service can be interpreted differently by every single person. 

Our goal is to build long-term relationships, because in the end, this is what matters and we truly hope that our customers feel it."

3 ways to improve customer service 

If you want to improve relationships with your customers, start by making small changes to your customer service. 

No matter how great your business is or how talented your team may be, customers will always remember the interactions they have with your company.  

Here are a few customer service tips to deliver a better customer experience: 

  • deliver contextual based support
  • innovate the customer journey
  • invet in human and automated service

1. Deliver context-based support

When customer service teams have a 360-degree view of a customer’s needs are better at finding opportunities to improve customer experience.  

An overwhelming majority (76%) of consumers expect customer service reps to know their contact, product, and service information history. 

Yet, according to Microsoft's report on the State of Global Customer Support, nearly half of respondents say agents almost never or only occasionally have the context they need to most effectively and efficiently solve their issue. 

Customers feel frustrated whenever they have to repeat themselves or believe that customer service lacks the knowledge about their issue. By unifying customer information with a CRM, customer service reps gain the context and ability to resolve inquiries in a single interaction.  

Get full context on every customer with SuperOffice Service. A seamless integration with SuperOffice CRM means you can access a customer's product and service history in seconds. Book a 30-minute demo and we’ll walk you through this exact process. 

2. Innovate the customer journey

Customer experience has become the driving force that determines whether a customer will stay or abandon your business. However, the methods of delivering a memorable customer experience has changed over the years. 

Back in 2013, Walker Information surveyed more than 300 customer experience professionals from large B2B companies to gain insights on future trends. 

While email was the most common communication channel (77%) with customers, they predicted that online communities (68%), social media (63%), and corporate websites (61%) would come to dominate the way customers interact with companies.  

Were they right? And how has the situation changed since? 

Sprout Social’s report shows that 88% of marketers understand the importance of customer service appearing on social media with nearly 45% of consumers surveyed saying they have reached out to a company on social media 

While this is just one sample of the evolution of customer support, companies must innovate their customer journeys to adapt to today’s technology, platforms, and demands. 

3. Invest in human and automated service channels

Losing loyal customers is detrimental to every company’s bottom line. 

In CallMiner’s 2020 Churn Index Report, 43.3 million people are switching companies and 88.3 million are considering switching for reasons that could have been avoided. That’s more than $35.3 billion in lost revenue due to unplanned churn. 

Companies that fail to invest in a combination of human and automated self-service channels are missing opportunities to create loyal, satisfied customers.  

Automated self-service channels, such as a knowledge base, offer customers the ability to solve issues on their own.  

However, if they can’t find the information that they need, that’s when human service channels, such as real time chat, serve to complement customer support and address issues quickly before frustrations escalate. 

Conclusion

Working in a customer service department isn’t glamorous. 

In most cases, service agents are the lowest paid people in your company, they work ridiculous hours (24/7) and have to deal with unhappy customers. 

Yet customer service is the most important department you have. 

(Maybe it’s time to give them a raise?). 

Poor customer service can kill your brand overnight.  

While great customer service can help you become a market leader - to the level that companies are now using customer service as a way to stand out against the competition. Are you ready to do the same? 

Start delivering better customer service today! 

Book a demo with a SuperOffice expert and we’ll show you how you can use automation in SuperOffice Service to respond faster, escalate urgent tickets and improve team efficiency. 

Customers also ask: 

What are the 3 most important things in customer service? 

The 3 important qualities of customer service revolve around professionalism, patience, and having a “people-first” attitude. Customer service will vary from customer to customer, but as long as you're following these 3 qualities, you will be able to support them. 

What makes a customer happy? 

You can make your customer shappy by aligning with their needs and making sure that your business is committed to helping them achieve their long-term goals. Any business that puts the customer first can make its customers happier. 

Is it OK to disagree with a customer? 

Yes, it's OK to disagree with a customer. Customers want to feel that you are listening to them, and when they know that you are, it has a calming effect on them - and it shows you are taking their problem seriously.  

Resources you will love: 

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Comments

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Get rich Radio

8 years ago

Great article.

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Shahbaz Shahbaz

6 years ago

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

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Steven MacDonald

6 years ago

Glad you like it, Shahbaz!

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Ashish

5 years 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.

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Johnny McCarron

5 years 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.

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Steven MacDonald

5 years ago

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

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Bob

5 years 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.

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Steven MacDonald

5 years ago

Thanks, Bob!

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David

one year ago

Great customer service article. Keep up the good work!

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Nickki

5 years ago

Very Informative .. Thanks For Sharing

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kilindo

5 years ago

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

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Erin

5 years 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.

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maggie

5 years 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

5 years 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.

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James Roberts

4 years ago

Very useful post.

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Sabrina Costain

4 years ago

Great article , word of mouth can make or break a business. Going the extra mile to ensure your client is happy never hurts anyone, and helps build a better business for you and them.

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David

4 years ago

Great points. Thank you for this article. So, if so much is known and proven about creating quality service. Why are there 'so many' establishments with poor to dismal service? I've been in the hospitality/customer service industry for 39 years. Our present service in America really is quite dismal. Yet, most owners are happy with 'okay' (what THEY think is okay). I really believe most Americans are lazy, and are very happy if they are doing 'okay'. It does take extra work to create a quality experience for every customer, but it would seem most managers/owners don't want to work that hard. Of course when their business/restaurant closes in two years. They blame everyone else but themselves. Every business has the potential to become profitable. It all depends on how hard the owners/managers want to work and if they want to work 'pro-actively instead of re-actively. Thank you for your time.

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Steven MacDonald

4 years ago

Well said, David, and I completely agree. Far too many business owners put good customer service at the bottom of their priority list. It should be at the top!

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Matthew Doherty

4 years ago

Great and well-written post. Customer satisfaction plays a vital role in the business success, so it is important to make your customer as happy as you can. Thanks a lot for sharing the information.

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Shep Hyken

4 years ago

Great article, and especially love reading the examples. It doesn’t matter if these happened yesterday or ten years ago, the perfectly make the point. Thank you!

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Abdul

3 years ago

These tips are great. It is the best option to reply fast to customers and take care of them, talk to them politely and solve their problems as soon as possible. These are the major issues customers feel while doing business with companies.

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Steven MacDonald

3 years ago

You nailed it, Abdul!

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Angela Brezovsky

3 years ago

Would you agree that "The Strategic Sweet Spot" in a company should be excellent customer service? Do you feel that this could have a great advantage on setting you apart from your competition the most?

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Steven MacDonald

3 years ago

Definitely!

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Louis Mattel

3 years ago

Thanks for sharing this beneficial information with us and I especially like the customer service examples. No doubt every customer wants the best service when they purchase products and their feedback really helps to know the customers experience.

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Alex Bryan

3 years ago

Indeed, a great article Steven! The ways it explained the service really helps in understanding the value of customer satisfaction. Decreasing the respond time to going extra miles to jump into the customer’s shoe, all are the key metrics for great customer service.

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Megha Jain

3 years ago

I totally agree with what this article communicates. The customer is indeed the king!

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Alvin Moore

2 years ago

Learning new ways to improve your customer service is necessary for keeping your customer's trust and positive feedback to the product or services you offer. Thank you for sharing these helpful tips I can use on our lovely customers.

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Ken Briesemeister

2 years ago

Steve, You and I are exactly on the same page. Customer service has always been my #1 priority. Because of my dedication to my customers we are the #1 rated roofing company in America for having all 5 star reviews.

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Steven MacDonald

2 years ago

That's amazing, Ken. Well done!

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SARAH LUCAS

2 years ago

Thanks Steven, for such an impactful article.

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Samreen

2 years ago

Thanks, Steven your article is really hopeful to understand about customer service. I hope I can get a job and provide great customer service to all great people.

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Perry A.

2 years ago

Hey Steven, thanks for sharing this useful article. Indeed, great customer service can sustain customers and potential customers. Business people should put customers as their no 1 priority. Keep up the good writing, by the way :D

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Taylor Hansen

one year ago

It's interesting that 41 percent of consumers say that being put on hold makes them frustrated. I'm trying to train my team for customer service since our customers have been complaining about their service. I'll be sure to remember these tips and see if we can get a professional to train my team.

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Deepak dhiman

one year ago

I think the long term is the most important thing regarding customer management. We have to build that kind of bonding with customers so that in future they come to us frequently. Great blog, Thanks for sharing this Steven!

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Maria Kassapidis

one year ago

Great article on customer service, Steven!

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Brad

one year ago

Great read! In addition to your tips, I believe live chat has helped businesses bring the best of both worlds together in one single place to provide better customer service.

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David Law

one year ago

Great post. I really believe in responding to customers as quickly as possible. Whenever a company has a KPI for response times I say that it should be the maximum amount of time to respond not the minimum! If you can reply to an email in five minutes then do it! Its such an easy way to provide great customer service!

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Bhooshan

one year ago

Great list of customer service tips!

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Deepak dhiman

one year ago

A very knowledgeable blog for a beginner like me. Thanks for sharing these customer service tips. Great work.

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Fiona Nabi

one year ago

Customer service is important for any business. Thank you for sharing these tips!

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Neha Singla

one year ago

One of the best articles I've ever read on customer service. Thank you!

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R. Loganathan

one year ago

Most companies see the customer as just a number, which is why they can't sustain their business. Companies that really about their customers achieve successful growth. That's why customer service is so important.

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David Warner

one year ago

While i was searching for "Business Care Management" on google, i reach to your website. You say that "Great interactions begin with knowing your customers wants and needs" it is absolutely right. I like that point. In order to provide quality services to your customers, it is most important that we should understand the customer needs. In this way we can make customer happy and can grow.

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Pratik S.

one year ago

Hi Steven! Delivering excellent customer service is very important in order to make a presence and profit as well. I would like to say thanks to you for sharing ways to stand out from the crowd to help you deliver excellent customer service. I will use these tips for my business too. Keep sharing such kinds of nice blogs.

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Anna Oliveros

one year ago

Great Information and tips on customer service.

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Lasu Alfred

one year ago

Good customer service is to accept mistakes and respect your customers!

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Douglas Boakye-Yiadom

one year ago

Great piece. Excellent customer experience leads to positive recommendations and loyalty.