Recently, I had an amazing customer service experience. Not only did the company shock the crap out of me, but they blessed me in a way that left me in tears. Over a chair. Confused yet?
We’ve all had those moments. That moment that you wonder how on earth a company is still in business because it seems that they hired the most bitter and manipulative person on the planet to run their customer service. The person – on the phone or in the flesh – is rude, mean, and could care less about your concerns. You want to stab them in the eye and run. And while this may feel good in the moment, its probably not the best idea. [Although, its the best and most creative idea you’ve got in the moment, right?]
If you’re lucky, you’ve also had an experience with customer service that just made you want to hug the person [hopefully in this case they are on the phone, because there is no risk to you actually attempting to wrap the unsuspecting employee in an awkward embrace]. I have actually gotten off the phone before and said to my husband, “That lady was SO nice! She seemed like we could be friends in real life.” Needless to say, my husband just stared at me for a moment, probably wondering why I want to make friends with someone I met for a brief moment on the phone. But I digress.
There are the extremes. Extremely, business harming bad. And majorly, loyalty-building good. I don’t know that I have experienced much in between, or maybe I just don’t remember, but that right there says something too. Whether good or bad or mediocre, a company’s customer service is communicating to the customer something. Its either, “I could give a rat’s patootie about you,” or “I care about your happiness with your experience with us.” And I bet if you’re a blogger, busienss owner, or shop runner, you probably want your customers to feel like you care.
A couple weeks ago, World Market was running a major furniture sale. And I had even further back in time admired a chair that was called the “Floral Erin Chair.” It was way out of my price range, but during this sale, it was $40 off. I wanted it. [Tip: name your products after popular names…could help people’s “gotta have it!” mentality!] I tweeted that I wish I could participate in the sale because “my” chair was on sale. To my surprise, World Market tweeted me back offering $90 off!! I was floored. But it didn’t stop there. After privately DMing them, I explained that I was very grateful for their generosity and that I wouldn’t be able to purchase the chair still. I offered that I was a blogger, but had no expectations. I even said to my husband that if they didn’t move forward with the fact that I was a blogger, I was still extremely impressed with their customer service. They then stated that they would be willing to consider a blog pitch and for me to send over my stats, post idea, and relevant info. After doing this, I received the email that made me cry. They were offering me the chair in exchange for a blog post. The woman that I worked with was AMAZINGLY sweet and wonderful. The whole experience led to another blog opportunity, and just left me speechless at World Market’s grasp of good customer service.
Would I be typing this if they didn’t give me “my” chair? Absolutely. Because as a shop/business owner, you need to know that customer service is your most expensive product. I don’t mean this in the sense that you have to pay a lot of money to have good customer service. I mean that good customer service will earn you insane amounts of customer loyalty. And bad customer service will cost you a lot. [Tweet this.]
You may thrive as a company still even if you are a mean and bitter person to your customers. However, nowadays, customers aren’t just looking for a good product to purchase. If I evaluated some of my online purchases within the last 6-8 months, I can honestly say that most of my purchases were driven by how the product and company made me feel. Customers aren’t a “hit it and quit it” group. They want the experience and giving them that will create brand loyalty. [Tweet this.] Customers want to feel like they are the one. The customer that got through to be RTed in Twitter, responded to in a blog post, and joked with over the phone.
So how can you do this?
Make sure you represent your brand well. Telling someone what you think when they’re mad, delaying a package to a pushy customer, not responding to emails or comments, this all creates uncertainty, bitterness, and a bad experience. You want that person to have an experience with your brand that they remember and want to feel again. You want to surprise them with your generosity and kindness and delight them with an experience that is rare. Keep them coming back. Have a loyal following. And understand that your products aren’t the only thing you’re selling. You’re selling yourself. Your voice. An experience. And if a customer doesn’t feel like they’re getting back in the emotional investment of a purchase, they may not participate at all.
Let’s chat: Have you ever had an amazing and over the top customer experience? How did it make you feel? Did it create brand loyalty for you? Have you ever surprised and delighted a customer of yours? Lets chat in the comments below!
While I did receive the chair in exchange for a blog post from World Market, this is not the post I was compensated for. I wrote this simply because I am a loyal customer to World Market, and I felt that they did what we all should be doing in our businesses.