With nearly 60% of American consumers willing to leave a business if they have a poor experience, it’s more important than ever to provide the best customer service possible. To help you learn what takes an interaction from mediocre to magical, we put together this list of good customer service examples from top companies.
The quality of your customer interactions can never be too good, so these tips are designed to help you fine-tune the way you or your team operates. Implement these ideas to build loyalty, increase your customer retention rate, and encourage happy customers to refer their friends, family members, and colleagues to your business.
What is good customer service, and what is great customer service?
We've all had service that was "good enough." Companies with good customer service have polite reps who eventually solve their customers’ problems. Each customer service representative does their job, but they don’t go above and beyond to turn customer complaints into customer success stories. This isn't the worst state to be in—but try to think back to the last time you were on the receiving end of just-adequate service. Yeah, those interactions are pretty forgettable.
Great customer service is about more than being polite—it's about intentionally creating a memorable experience. It’s about assembling a skilled customer service team and empowering each team member to go the extra mile for every customer. Companies with great customer service have representatives with advanced problem-solving skills and a strong desire to follow up and make sure customers are satisfied.
Why should you focus on delivering great customer service?
It costs up to five times more more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current customer, so from a cost-savings perspective alone, it's essential that you focus on hiring skilled customer service reps. In fact, the average cost of acquiring a single customer ranges from $7 in the travel industry to $395 in the software industry.
Once you go through all the effort of acquiring a new customer, you don’t want them to walk away as the result of a lukewarm or unpleasant experience. If you focus on delivering great customer service, you’ll be able to increase customer loyalty and get more of your sales from repeat customers. Providing excellent service is also essential for generating referrals (hello, five-star Google reviews!), which can help you grow your revenue.
10 Great Customer Service Examples
To help you deliver a better customer experience, I pored over reputable business publications for stories about companies known for their service. Take in these 10 examples of excellent customer service—you might want to take some notes.
In 2021, the Associated Press reported that Chewy sends custom pet portraits to 1,000 customers every week. Service agents have also been known to send flowers to customers who’ve had to cancel orders or return items after the unexpected death of a pet. This exceptional customer service is part of the reason Chewy maintains a 34% share of the online pet supply market.
Walt Disney World
Disney’s customer service strategy focuses on delivering magical experiences to every guest. All employees, from reservation agents to the cast members who dress up in character costumes, are instructed to focus on customer happiness from day one. Disney also personalizes each guest’s visit as much as possible. For example, Disney provides buttons to help guests celebrate marriages, birthdays, and other special occasions.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zappos demonstrated excellent customer service by creating a support line that customers could call for any reason. Company representatives talked with customers about everything from their favorite Netflix shows to how lonely they felt while quarantined in their homes. The company also donated much-needed medical supplies to Mount Sinai Health System, reinforcing its commitment to the community.
At Apple stores, employees follow a five-step process designed to enhance the customer service experience:
- Approach customers with a warm welcome.
- Probe to determine customer needs.
- Present a solution that the customer can buy in the store.
- Listen for any concerns and work to resolve them.
- End with an invitation to come back to the store any time.
Note that the first letter of each step spells out APPLE. This helps employees remember that the five-step process is an important part of the company’s brand image.
Employee empowerment is also at the center of Nordstrom’s customer support strategy. The upscale retailer instructs employees to do whatever they can to prevent frustration and keep customer satisfaction high. For example, if a customer asks for help finding a product, employees don’t just tell them where to look. They lead the customer through the store and take them right to the product in question.
Wistia used to provide phone-based support, but company leaders quickly realized that handling phone calls put a tremendous amount of strain on the small support team. It took so long to resolve service issues by telephone that representatives didn’t have enough time to focus on delivering an excellent customer experience.
To solve this problem, executives made the bold move of eliminating phone support completely. Now representatives handle customer problems via email and chat, which is much more scalable. It also allows customer service reps to focus on delivering an excellent experience.
Amazon gives its customers plenty of self-service options, eliminating the need to contact a rep to solve basic service issues. For customers who need more assistance, Amazon excels at providing service via social media. Company representatives monitor the Amazon Twitter account 7 days per week, reducing wait times and ensuring customers get help when they need it.
Executives at Trader Joe’s see customer service as a “key driver” of brand loyalty. While Amazon focuses on creating a convenient experience, Trader Joe’s aims to make shopping fun. The company offers limited-run products, uses hand-drawn signs in its stores, and offers $5 wine, all in an attempt to exceed customer expectations and deliver a great experience.
At the Ritz-Carlton, excellent service is built into every aspect of the business. Employees must abide by 12 service values, including a focus on continuous improvement and a desire to perform their tasks with passion. The Ritz-Carlton also has three steps of service that all employees must follow:
- Give guests a warm, sincere greeting.
- Anticipate each customer’s needs.
- Give each guest a “fond farewell.”
At Lexus, employees strive to make every customer feel special. The company is known for having a high-touch experience designed to communicate “warm hospitality” at each phase of the sales cycle. By mapping out the customer journey, executives have been able to identify effective ways to communicate with buyers at each touchpoint.
Easy Steps to Improve Your Customer Service
Now that we're all thoroughly inspired by these customer service stories, let's give some though to how they can help you improve your own customer relationships. Bake these tips into your training and management strategy to help your employees provide quality customer service at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Use multiple communication channels.
One of the best ways to deliver excellent service is to make it easy for customers to contact you using their preferred communication method. If you only offer one type of communication channel, customers may take their business elsewhere instead of giving you an opportunity to solve their problems.
Offer self-service options.
Even if your business isn’t open 24 hours per day, you may have customers who want to check out your products and services early in the morning or in the middle of the night. Make it easy for them by offering self-service options. Consider adding a FAQ to your website or setting up a chatbot to answer common questions 24/7.
Ask for—and act on—customer feedback.
You may think you’re delivering excellent service, but the only way to know for sure is to ask your customers for feedback. Sending out surveys and asking customers if they need assistance can help you identify areas for improvement. It can also help you identify your most effective customer service representatives.
Provide ongoing training for your team.
Many companies make the mistake of providing a day or two of training during onboarding and then never providing training again. If you want to build an effective team, you need to provide regular opportunities for employees to learn new skills. A weekly hour-long meeting is a great way to engage your team and bring forth new service strategies. Alternatively, you can bring in an outside training consultant or hire an in-house trainer who can offer a new perspective on your team's blind spots.
Surprise and Delight Your Customers at Every Step
When it comes to the success of your business, you just can’t afford to provide bad or even middle-of-the-road customer service. Fortunately, as long as you've hired well, every customer service team is capable of making every stage of the buyer journey into an experience worth raving about.
Enjoyed this article? Subscribe to our newsletter to gain valuable insight into CX and design thinking from some of the most successful professionals in the industry.