There is no shortage of advice on the internet, and that’s certainly true for how to improve and/or deliver amazing customer experiences. But sometimes the most effective educational approach is to show, not tell, through real-world examples.
So, instead of spending time today telling you how to deliver strong customer experiences, I wanted to share recent experiences I personally had with two businesses that were overwhelmingly positive and tremendous examples of “getting it right” when it comes to personalization, channel flexibility, and overall ease.
Experience 1: Channel preference and personalization matters
I recently purchased a high-tech gift for a friend who was celebrating a birthday. Despite giving myself lead time, as the birthday neared, the item had still not arrived. Not one to leave things to chance, I went to the store’s website and saw — to my delight — the option to connect with support via WhatsApp. With one click, I began having a chat with a support person who quickly located my order and provided me with an estimated delivery date and tracking number. Similarly, this experience made me feel completely secure. I knew the texts were authentic and directly from the business because their logo was at the top of the messages, which made me feel quite comfortable when discussing payment information.
What made this a great customer experience?
- Preferred channel: I use WhatsApp quite a bit and this retailer met me on a channel I prefer and fits seamlessly in my day
- Human and helpful: I spoke with a real person who was helpful and understood exactly what I needed and wanted
- Personalized: My engagement history was recorded so my follow-up questions were met with context, saving time and leading to a highly personalized, efficient experience
Experience 2: Humanity and helpfulness are always wanted
Preparing for a recent trip, I purchased a new watch from a small watch retailer. Upon purchase I was offered the ability to provide my mobile phone number and opt into text alerts. After receiving the watch, I was sent a personalized text message (not the templated ones most businesses send) from a real human at the company introducing himself as my watch specialist and letting me know that he would be happy to help with any questions I had.
This made me feel as though I and my purchases were a priority to the company, not just another general or potential sale.
Not only did my watch specialist send a real personalized “thank you” text, he also personally handled some returns and exchanges when I decided I’d like to try another watch to compare them together. All of this was done via text and his responses were nearly instantaneous. He shipped out the other watch I was interested in right away so I could compare side by side.
I received a shipping confirmation shortly after our conversation and the watch arrived within two days.
After comparing the two, I decided to stick with my original choice. I reached out to the business and my assigned specialist responded with a text that he had forwarded a prepaid return label to my email. My refund was processed within three days with no questions and he even asked me later where I planned to travel for my trip. We ended up having a fun and easy conversation back and forth about travel and golfing. The ease of use paired with the genuine empathy witnessed in this experience made me want to be a life-long customer.
What made this a great customer experience:
- Preferred channel: I’m busy and almost always on the go. I love texting. It allows me to respond when I can, but the messages don’t get buried in an email inbox
- Human and empathetic: I knew this was an actual person due to the real conversations I had with him
- Efficient and helpful: My initial request — to try two watches side by side — was a bit complex but he very quickly understood my ask, was happy to assist and, importantly, shared that there would be no additional charges
Poor customer support and customer experiences are far too common these days, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Customers today are moving fast, operating on multiple channels and have little patience when interacting with companies. Brands can either view this customer climate as a hurdle or as an opportunity to stand out from their peers.
My experiences above aren’t earth-shatteringly complex and don’t require deep pockets from businesses, but what they do require is empathy, an omnichannel approach and personalization. These experiences stood out to me, will stay with me and make me much more likely to engage with these brands again. As businesses emerge from the pandemic and confront shifted consumer behaviors, I hope to encounter more of these delightful customer experiences moving forward.