At one point or another, most of us have had an experience with a company that we would classify as exceptional customer service.
Maybe it was a pizza restaurant that threw in an extra order of breadsticks to show you that they appreciate your repeat business. Or, maybe it was a software company that built a new feature specifically on your request.
Nearly every day, there seems to be a new story about a company that went out of their way to take care of their customer.
Several years back, Peter Shankman, a 5-time Author, Speaker and Founder of HARO, shared what he called, The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told.
Long story short, while Shankman was sitting in a plane, awaiting his departure home, he decided to send a light-hearted Tweet to Morton’s Steakhouse before turning off his phone, suggesting they meet him at the airport when he arrives with a porterhouse steak.
Admitting that the tweet was meant to be a joke, Shankman was shocked to find that Morton’s actually sent a tuxedoed employee to meet him at the terminal with a full meal, including a 24 oz. porterhouse steak.
What started as just a loyal customer having fun, ended up becoming a story literally heard around the world — even to this day.
Shankman recounted the entire experience on his blog, which spread very quickly, catching the attention of the media, including ABC News.
While this customer service story from Morton’s is quite exceptional, going the extra mile for your customers doesn’t need to be as elaborate to make a big difference.
With many companies generating the majority of their revenue from referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, it’s never been more important to make customer loyalty your top priority.With the majority of your revenue coming from referrals, it’s never been more important to make customer loyalty your top priority. Click To Tweet
There are many things you can do to wow your customers but sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.
We asked a few of our customers to share what they do and here’s what they had to say:
Inviting customers to test new features first
The thing we do that most excites our customers is inviting them to alpha or beta test new features. Clubhouse users are really generous with their feedback, and their needs are at the center of every product decision we make. So it is always such a joy to share a new feature with them and say, “Here, we built this together. What do you think?”
Camille Acey – VP, Customer Success – Clubhouse.io
Replacing a lost part at no cost
We sell ear thermometers that come with a little white cap on them to protect the tip. Sometimes users misplace this cap, and we do not have them available as a stand-alone item in our online store for purchase.
So, if a customer loses their cap and asks us for a replacement, we mail them one for free and include a handwritten note to add a little personal flavor to it, thanking them for being a Kinsa customer. That is generally received quite well and they are quite happy!
Jason Howard – Director, Customer Happiness, Kinsa Health
Sending thoughtful gifts through the mail
Without happy customers, we can’t grow the business. Therefore as far as we see it, it’s the whole team’s responsibility to delight customers every day.
We push all NPS feedback and scores into our own product (People CRM) and into a Slack channel so everybody gets an unfiltered view of where we’re succeeding and failing.
Negative feedback gets acted on more quickly, bugs are fixed faster, and most importantly it gives the team a boost when genuine customers tell them they love what we do.
People CRM brings all our customer information together in one place, which means we can set up sophisticated automation rules based on things like subscription value, NPS score, online activity, etc.Over-delivering on a customer's expectations re-enforces long-term relationships with promoters and helps turn detractors around. Click To Tweet
We recently hooked it up to a service called We Delight for our high-value customers. The key difference here is that We Delight doesn’t send swag, they send genuinely thoughtful gifts through the mail. Imagine how excited you’d be if you unexpectedly received a pack of beer, a box of brownies, or a bouquet of flowers from your favorite company that you got to share with your team.
Over-delivering on a customer’s expectations like this really re-enforces long-term relationships with promoters and helps turn detractors around.
Brennan Topley – Customer Success, GoSquared
Personalize the experience for the customer and community
Our slogan at Sweeps is delightful college student movers and more, so we had better make sure we back that up with delightful experiences.
We have thousands of loyal customers and Sweepers (hard-working college students) that trust Sweeps to provide an easy and safe platform to get things done. First, we focus on getting the basics right – clear pricing, communication, and responsive support for example, before adding creative touches.
The nature of our business creates some fun, delightful jobs, like delivering Krispy Kreme donuts to a wedding and Valentine’s Day love notes, as well as meaningful ones like organizing a team to walk through a forest to find a lost puppy.
We also get to know our customers and Sweepers and personalize our efforts whenever possible. For example, it’s snowing in North Carolina this week, so we’re reaching out to customers that have needed snow shovelling in the past to see if we can assist now. We also try to surprise and delight our Sweepers and customers with flowers or a toolbox delivered on their 100th job, or a care package when someone gets sick.
We listen to and learn from our community, and embrace our role in making their lives a bit easier, and ideally delightful.
Morris Gelblum – Founder, Sweeps
Offering research that the customers can trust
Throughout the process of shopping/browsing our site, we’ve tried to tie in as much independent research into the products we sell as possible. We think that’s part of good customer service on the web and often, we try to delight our customers before we ever actually sell them anything.
Here’s a good example:
Many of our customers are interested in protecting their family. If they use a handgun, it’s pretty much accepted among experts that they’ll use what’s called a jacketed hollow point bullet. The problem is, with dozens of manufacturers each producing several different lines of ammo that offers that kind of bullet — how do you know what’s best among the hundreds of choices?
To date, we’ve tested more than 175 different handgun loads in as scientific a manner as possible. We published the data in a way that makes it really easy to compare each product to its peers within that caliber.
But it doesn’t stop there – we share even more of this ammo data with our customers on the individual product pages. We don’t have a dog in the fight when it comes to what brand performs best so our customers know they can trust the data. Further, the amount of time and monetary investment that goes into this kind of testing is something that hasn’t been done before (that we’re aware of). It’d be pretty tough for a media outlet to justify the expense without an ammo manufacturer sponsoring the content, leading to questions about the integrity of the data.
Of course, after the purchase, we also have a traditional drip campaign that shares more content with our users. With every post we produce, we try to come up with something our customers can actually use at the range — it could be training tips from highly respected firearms trainers or it could be something more scientific, like testing the differences between Russian-made AR-15 ammo and American-made AR-15 ammo in a 40,000 round torture test.
These are just a couple examples of the type of experience we’re providing.
While we’ve always had a hunch it was something that excited our customers, we didn’t have any way to really prove it. However, since we’ve started with Promoter, we know our customers value these efforts because we see their feedback as we send out our Net Promoter Score emails. Plus, it opens the door to feedback that allows us to hear what our customers are thinking. This could lead to changes in our order processes or lead to new content opportunities for our team.
Anthony Welsch – CMO, Lucky Gunner
Proactively create conversations with the customers
At Directorpoint, we have Southern hospitality in our DNA.
With most software companies, the trend is to close a deal and then leave customers to problem solve on their own. We do the exact opposite. We actively seek conversations with customers, and we know that they value our commitment to service because we also encourage them to provide feedback using Net Promoter Score.
John Peinhardt – CEO, Directorpoint
Reward loyal customers with a premium gift
Contact lenses are literally an invisible product and so for Sightbox taking the people who love our service and turning them into active promoters, is incredibly important.
We’re creating a series of premium, limited edition t-shirts for every month of 2018 designed by artists we love that we’re giving out to reward some of our biggest promoters—giving them something that’s special and unique — and something that can serve as a prompt for discussion of our invisible product: “oh, yeah… my contact lens company gave me this shirt…”
Richard Kotulski – Marketing Manager, Sightbox
Go the extra mile with the detractors
Starting a new business in the food space is an incredibly competitive arena and even though we’re doing something very new and different in our market, it was incredibly important for us to get as much feedback from customers as possible.
We do this by engaging our promoters by offering them free swag and free cookies, but we also do this with our detractors by using their NPS score as an introduction to a conversation with them about our service and how we’ve let them down.
We’ve had detractors who are stunned by the fact that we actually personally reach out to them to ask what about our service is missing for them. When somebody truly doesn’t like our cookies, we refund their initial order and give them another order on us. We’re hoping to give them a better experience the second time around, but also to really go above and beyond in our customer service.
This process with our detractors has created some genuinely fantastic friendships with customers who end up helping us develop new products or fix issues with our service we weren’t even thinking about.
Julia Baldwin – CEO, After Dark Cookies
Improving the experience in unexpected ways
For festival riders, we love surprising them with gifts. Last year for Electric Forest, we supplied hundreds of our riders with Festival Survival Bags. In each bag, we included a poncho (and it rained a lot), a flashlight, and hand sanitizer (great for porta potties). Little gifts that people may forget is always key.
Recently we’ve been running regular buses for New England Patriots football games. On one bus, we sent a photographer to take photos of people during their ride, so they could remember their experience. On those same routes, we’re getting the driver a t-shirt and handwritten note to thank him for this dedication.
Dave Lastovskiy – Head of Marketing, Bus.com
Speed dating with the customers
We use a speed dating approach to engage with customers across the journey. Speed dating as a research technique involves rapid-fire questions, a quick move through different stages of the funnel, lots of fun, some nice snacks, a cold beer, and a bag of merch.
We do this every three months and every part of the business is hands-on – product, sales, marcomms, exec, cx, ux – it’s a company-wide event.
Abba Newbery – CMO, Habito
Reducing the customer support response time
As Head of Customer Success at Jazva, my goal is to ensure all client needs are addressed in a timely and professional manner. This means doing regular monthly check-ins, as well as assisting with creating different avenues to help grow our customer base and attain high reachability.
One of our goals for 2018 is to trim our response time to 10-15 minutes. And to be able to achieve this, we have been hiring highly qualified candidates whose goals align with ours. Our main priority is to create a strong partnership with our clients by providing a great product quality and superior customer support.
Maria Paez-Orozco – Head of Customer Success, Jazva
As you can see from the examples above, there are many unique ways to go above and beyond for your customers. Once you decide to make your customers your first priority, providing exceptional customer service tends to follow.
What are the ways that you go the extra mile for your customers? We’d love to hear it in the comments below.