Companies like Zappos and Nordstrom have built enormous businesses based on exceptional service. You can adapt their secrets for your business. From keeping tabs on customer preferences to providing lightning-fast service when they need it, the right service can help you win customers for life.
Companies like Amazon.com, Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton, and Zappos are synonymous with great customer service and have built enormous businesses on attention to customer experience and satisfaction. Those classic success stories also can be leveraged by small business owners, managers and employees, who can adapt some of them to win market share. Here are five service secrets that can help your business win customers for life.
Deliver beyond expectations
The basics of customer service are a perfect product or service, timeliness, exceptional delivery, and an effective problem resolution process, says customer service consultant Micah Solomon, author of High Tech, High Touch Customer Service. It’s important to introduce systems and training that maintain high customer service standards, even when the company is experiencing rapid growth.
Solomon says a great example is Southwest Airlines’ handling of delays. When Solomon’s recent flight was late, forcing him to miss a connection, a Southwest agent was waiting with his boarding passes for the next available flight out.
“[This] happened because empathetic people working at Southwest realized that [more than] 99 percent of the people on the late-arriving plane would want to be rebooked on the next flight out of there. And they therefore designed the process to make this happen, without a single passenger even needing to make a request,” he wrote.
Hire great people—and trust them.
Companies known for great service “allow employees a large amount of autonomy to solve customer issues and to delight customers in surprising ways,” Solomon says. That may mean giving them the authority to issue a refund, devote resources to solving a problem, or take other action without waiting around for permission. He points to the Ritz-Carlton as an example: The company allows staffers up to $2,000 per employee per guest to solve any customer complaint in the manner the employee feels is appropriate.
Track customer data.
Companies known for great service keep track of their customers’ preferences, says customer service consultant Teresa Allen, author of Common Sense Service: Close Encounters on the Front Lines. Allen recalls buying a pair of golf shoes from Zappos and, a year later, getting a reminder that it might be time to buy another pair. That kind of helpful suggestion doesn’t necessarily require expensive software. You can track customer data in a simple point-of-sale system or even on an Excel spreadsheet.
Add a personal touch.
When you make a purchase at Nordstrom, the associate walks from behind the counter, hands you the package and says “thank you,” Allen says. That’s a far cry from many retail experiences, where packages may be shoved across the counter with barely an acknowledgement. “That kind of service costs nothing, but makes such a big impression on the customer, she adds.
Do what you say you’re going to do.
“When you say, ‘It will be there by noon,’ do so with the assumption that failing to keep that promise will have dire consequences,” says customer service consultant Chip Bell, author of Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences through Innovative Service. Failure to follow through breaks the customer’s trust.
Optimum strives to follow these secrets with its Business Service Commitment. From a 30-day money-back guarantee, to its Same-day service Guarantee, Optimum strives to deliver best in class service. Each customer has access to 24/7/365 live support, with no annual contracts or early termination fees. It’s their way of delivering world-class service to your business, so you can focus on serving your customers and growing your business.
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