21, November 2017
“You had me at hello” is every brand’s aspiration for great customer experience. To quote Harvey Specter from Suits – a popular TV series, “First impressions last. You start behind the eight ball you’ll never get in front”. The experience you give your customer the first time they reach out to you is always a make-or-break scenario. If you make it, then you have gained a customer for life, well almost. You just cannot let your guard down. You must live up to the expectation of giving the best service every time they reach out to your brand.
Organizations that provide exceptional customer experience, in today’s fast-moving times, win their customers, not only during the first interaction – but during every single one.
Today, on November 21, as the world celebrates World Hello Day – we would like to highlight the importance of personalized communication, and how it is the key to setting standards, scaling expectations and driving long-lasting relationships.
Let’s take a look at a few instances in which brands have ensured that they have a customer for life.
Warby Parker is an American brand of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. Recently, a customer had abandoned a pair of glasses on a train, and had gone home to find his glasses, as well as a replacement pair waiting for him! All thanks to his seatmate on the train – a former Warby Parker General Counsel!
Grateful, the customer put out a personal reinforcement that Warbys indeed excels at customer service on Facebook.
“Deliver WOW Through Service” is the core mantra of Zappos, an eCommerce giant. Their commitment to customer care is best described by one of their own staff members.
“Recently, a newly-married couple was packing up their belongings in preparation for moving. The husband packed his wife’s jewelry inside one of her purses and packed the purse inside what he thought was a spare Zappos box. The wife, it turns out, was intending to return that purse to Zappos using that very box. Which she then does, having no idea that inside the purse now were several thousand dollars of her jewelry!
When the couple arrive at their new home and start to unpack, bedlam breaks out as the wife figures out what has happened and why her jewelry is missing. The rep she reaches at Zappos decides to reroute the box directly to his desk, but once it arrives, the rep fears for the safety of the valuables if he were to ship them, and purchases a plane ticket to hand-deliver the package himself.”
Senior director – Customer Loyalty
When the rep from Zappos arrives, the couple invites him for dinner and express their heartfelt gratitude for the wonderful service he had offered them. Yet again, customers for life, as you can imagine.
A few years ago, Southwest airlines were in the news for a representative of theirs going above and beyond his line of duty to make sure a grieving customer was taken care of.
An elderly man had received tragic news that his grandson was in a coma; that he had to be taken off life support by the next evening so that his organs could be used to save lives. He needed to take multiple flights to be there soon so he could see his grandson one last time.
Early in the morning, he had planned to fly from Los Angeles to Tuscon, from where he would have to immediately catch another flight that was headed to Denver. Even though he had shown up at the airport two hours before the flight, he was held up by long waiting lines. When he finally made it to the gate, he was 12 minutes late. We all know airlines have stringent rules when it comes to departures and arrivals. Twelve minutes may not sound like a lot but every second counts when you are an airline.
But, just because his wife had explained the emergency while booking his tickets, a pilot of Southwest airlines rose up to the occasion. The pilot refused to take off without having this particular passenger on board. The plane was supposed to take off at 11:50, but it only took off at 12:02. The passenger had walked down the jet-way to thank the pilot, who responded by saying:
“They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”
The pilot could have lost his job for his actions. After all, it was his decision. Instead, Southwest airlines supported his decision and said that they were proud of him.
To the casual reader, these stories may seem a bit over-the-top. Something that you only get to read on click-baiting articles or those whacky RSS feeds you subscribe to. But, the truth is that in customer experience – fact is not just stranger than fiction, it is a lot more humanized too. The common factor in the three brands was that their commitment to delivering exceptional customer service. Even if it meant bypassing a few laid-out processes. They had empowered their employees to take quick decisions that may be critical to the way a customer perceives the brand.
At the end of the day, being kind, helpful and informative are the foundation elements of making customers happy.
So, the next time you say hello, ask yourself – have you made a customer for life?