Ask most business leaders what defines an exceptionally good customer service experience, and they’ll likely talk about moments that “delight” the customer, an interaction that “wows” customers and proves that the company can deliver “knock-your-socks-off” service. And why not? These stories make everyone smile, they play well on social media feeds, and build great word-of-mouth referral networks.
What makes a customer service experience truly stand out and become a story that customers share over and over again, building brand awareness and driving repeat business, is the human element. Employees are human; customers are human. Automated scripts may reduce contact times and increase contact center success metrics, but let’s face it, they rarely solve most questions that people have. When customers have a problem, they need assistance from someone who has the ability to say “hey — I get it, this is frustrating. Let me take care of it!” That’s where the delight comes in, and where customer problems are turned into solutions that make them feel like they really matter to your company, rather than just representing a few dollars on the balance sheet.
Providing a human experience is exactly what great companies do to win customer loyalty — they make every customer experience a delightful one, not through complex formulas or intensive reviews of contact center metrics, but through simple acts of generosity and assistance that make people’s lives easier. In this guide, I’ve compiled dozens of examples of customer service excellence, drawn from companies in sectors ranging from air travel and hospitality to apparel and indoor air quality. Some of these companies are nearly a century old, and others have appeared within the last decade. In every case, a constant theme emerges: when employees are empowered to put a smile on customer’s faces, great things happen.
Companies that know how to make customers happy and really deliver delightful experiences start by hiring enthusiastic people who truly enjoy working with customers, then empower them to solve any problem by having free reign to do whatever it takes to make customers happy. They build processes and systems and programs that are focused on giving employees the tools they need to make great moments happen, rather than focusing purely on the bottom line. And along the way, two amazing things come together — customers are delighted with their experience, then share their joy and bring in even more customers.