Knit happens. At least that’s what my tattoo says (yes, I have a knitting tattoo).
The fact that stuff happens isn’t the problem though. It’s how you deal with it. And that’s where providing a great customer service experience comes in. By dealing with customer questions and issues effectively, you can turn a bad day into a bright one.
Here's how to create a five-star customer service experience that can win over any customer.
What is customer service experience?
Customer service experience is how customers feel when they get help from your company. Are they satisfied with the response? Did they get a timely answer? Was it frustrating to contact you? All of these aspects and more combine to become the customer service experience.
Providing a great customer service experience is important for the success of your business. HubSpot found that “93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service.” And Glance reports that 78% of customers have backed out of a purchase they had previously committed to due to a poor customer service experience.
Fortunately, customers are pretty transparent about what they want when they need help. By following the steps below, you can develop a customer service experience that wins over customers.
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3 inspiring customer service experience examples
Before we get into the details of how your company can build a great customer service experience, let’s enjoy a few examples of what happens when you get it right.
BarkBox goes head and tails above and beyond
When Melissa’s dog Cricket managed to chew his way through a BarkBox toy that was meant for heavy chewers, she was upset. Cricket got sick from ingesting pieces of the toy, and that resulted in a hefty veterinarian bill — not to mention a sad pup!
But when Melissa contacted BarkBox, they completely turned the situation around. They immediately refunded her money, sent a new super-chewer toy, and apologized. But they took it even one step further.
Showing clear concern for the health of Cricket, they asked to see the veterinarian bill and reimbursed Melissa directly. Now she’s a very happy customer.
“I have been very impressed with the way they have handled the whole situation. They have been very compassionate, fair and wanted to make sure they did everything possible to ensure Cricket was OK. Thank you BarkBox for stepping up and taking care of this.”
The post on Facebook has been shared over 78,000 times and has over 100,000 likes! Not only is Melissa a happy customer, but other pet owners also know that BarkBox is a great company to purchase from.
HelloFresh provides quick and convenient service
When Reddit user Rosyxie received a damaged package as part of her weekly meal delivery service from HelloFresh, she didn’t expect much from them. But she figured she would send them a message through their in-app chat just to see what they said.
Surprisingly, Rosyxie got a lightning-fast response apologizing for the issue and a refund for the meal. In her own words, she had “just experienced the best customer service in my life.” By making it easy for customers to get in touch, HelloFresh gained a new advocate.
Source Audio beats expectations
When Reddit user hekabip had both a hardware and a software issue with their new guitar pedal, they contacted Source Audio through a form on the company's website. Then, they sat back to wait, expecting a response in two or three business days.
But instead, Source Audio responded within 20 minutes, accurately troubleshooting the software issue and shipping out a replacement part for the hardware issue.
“The point is they just really did a great job addressing my issue fairly and timely. That is all,” says user hekabip.
Not only did they post their experience on Reddit, but other users also added their own great Source Audio stories. This kind of advocacy, especially on a subreddit targeted to guitar players, is invaluable.
How to create a great customer service experience
If you're ready to start delivering a great customer experience at your company, follow these five tips.
1. Ask your customers what they think
When it comes to providing a great customer experience, there is only one opinion that matters: the customer’s. Even if you think you’re doing everything right, if the customer isn’t satisfied with the service, they won’t continue to do business with you.
The best way to determine if you’re meeting your customers’ expectations is to just ask them!
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys are a straightforward way of asking your customers for their opinions. After each customer service interaction, a survey is sent to the customer requesting their feedback on the support they received. Most CSAT surveys also include a follow-up question asking for more detail.
This information shows you where you’re missing the mark when it comes to meeting your customers’ needs. If you’re responding too slowly, your tone didn’t sit right with the customer, or you haven’t fully resolved their issue, they will let you know.
2. Offer different methods of communication
If you ask 10 different customers how they want to contact you, you might get 10 different answers. From email to phone to messaging platforms, customers are corresponding with businesses in an unprecedented number of ways.
Customers believe that having options is an important part of a good customer service experience, too.
NICE inContact found that “90% of consumers are more likely to consider doing business with a company that offers multiple ways to communicate.” Furthermore, when CMO Council asked customers what channels they expected businesses to offer, a large number of customers expected to see at least the following five channels:
Email (86% of respondents)
To provide a better customer service experience, consider implementing a multichannel support strategy. When you’re able to offer more options, your customers have a better experience.
3. Make it easy to get help
Sometimes the best customer service experience is the one that you don’t even notice. We call these “boring customer service stories.” They don’t sound like much, and often we don’t even remember that they happened.
But customers don’t want to have to jump through hoops to get help. In fact, 96% of customers who’ve had a high-effort experience report being disloyal in the future (compared to just 4% of customers who found it easy to get help).
It’s easy to put up barriers between you and your customers in the form of complex contact forms, policies, and escalations. Removing any obstacles can help provide a better experience.
Here are a few ideas on how to get started:
Create a helpful knowledge base that customers can search to help themselves.
Find ways to eliminate restrictive policies that make customers work harder to make changes to their accounts.
4. Respond quickly
No matter what study you look at, a quick response tops the list of what customers require for a good service experience. SAP Hybris found that 52% of customers chose quick replies as the most important attribute of good customer service. In a Forrester study, 77% of customers responded that valuing their time is the most important thing a company needs to do.
Your customers don’t want to wait around for help. Focus on reducing first reply time and make sure your customers feel like a priority. It’s one of the most important things you can do to provide great customer service.
5. Build a culture of caring
Ultimately, providing a great customer experience comes down to the people. If the employees in your company aren’t engaged and motivated to care about customers, any other initiatives will fall flat.
In PwC’s Future of Customer Experience survey, 80% of Americans identified friendly service as one of the most important elements of a positive customer service experience.
But even beyond being friendly, building a customer-centric culture has a ripple effect across all decisions. To create a culture of caring;
Build customer-centric culture questions into your hiring process. How have candidates improved the lives of their customers in the past? How do they respond to an angry customer in sample interactions?
Consider launching Whole Company Support to shrink the distance between customers and internal employees. When everyone has a chance to hear how their actions impact customers, they become more customer-focused in their day-to-day work.
Develop a customer service experience worth shouting about
When customers run into trouble, your customer service experience can save the day. By providing quick, helpful service that gets your customers back on their feet, you can create brand advocates for life.