9 Customer Service Examples To Upgrade Your Support
When you think of companies that offer great customer service, the best examples are not one-off moments of companies going out of the way to delight a customer. Instead, the best examples of customer-focused brands are those that have carved a name for themselves by caring genuinely for their customers and consistently putting their customers first.
Sales and marketing efforts can help your company onboard customers. Still, to convert them into customers-for-life, you need a foolproof service culture that prioritizes your customers over every business metric.
Here are 9 customer service examples to help you improve the support provided by your team to win over customers. Every customer service example in this list offers a key support takeaway that your company can adopt.
9 Lessons from our favorite examples of good customer service
- Listen to customer feedback… REALLY listen to customer feedback! – Starbucks
- Connect with customers at an emotional level – Trader Joe’s
- Transform customer pain points into good customer service examples – Virgin Atlantic
- Ensure that customer support is technically competent – Freshworks
- Make loyal customers feel special – Taco Bell
- Build a customer-first service culture from the grassroots – Zappos
- Create policies around customer expectations – Amazon and Slack
- Proactively admit mistakes before customers complain – Adobe
- Surprise your customers to show how much you value them – WestJet Airlines
#1 Listen to customer feedback… REALLY listen to customer feedback!
– Starbucks mends its Pumpkin Spice Latte after hearing from customers
The Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) by Starbucks is one of the most popular F&B products with huge seasonal demand. PSL was a massive hit with Starbucks loyalists, thanks to the clever positioning of the drink as the harbinger of autumn vibes and seasonal flavors.
But in 2015, the pumpkin spice latte hit a roadblock when customers felt it stopped symbolizing the USA’s seasonal joy, as its ingredients were largely artificial. Questions were also raised about it being a poor indicator of the unhealthy food choices of Americans. Starbucks took this feedback seriously and relaunched PSL with actual pumpkins in the puree and more natural ingredients in the spiced foam topping. That’s how America’s favorite limited-edition drink got back on track, built more patronage, and remained as endearing as ever.
#2 Connect with customers at an emotional level
– Trader Joe’s helps calm a toddler who was throwing a tantrum
While the world has embraced online retail with open arms, Trader Joe’s in-store experience still remains relevant owing to its unparalleled customer service. Its employees are known for memorable customer service examples that reflect their cheerful, friendly, and empathetic nature towards customers.
In one such story, a mom was having a tough time with her toddler in the Trader Joe’s outlet at Winter Park, Florida. The employees took it upon themselves to pacify the toddler by breaking into an impromptu song and dance performance. The video was shared by the mom on Facebook, which shows the toddler visibly starstruck by the gig.
This customer service example is an excellent addition to Trader Joe’s long list of stories, where its employees built customer rapport by truly connecting with them and empathizing with needs that go beyond a simple brand-consumer relationship.
#3 Transform customer pain points into good customer service examples
– Virgin Atlantic turns negative feedback into a customer success story
Richard Branson’s England-based international airliner, Virgin Atlantic, is renowned for its exceptional customer service. It is one of the brands that epitomizes going above and beyond to delight customers and prioritize their satisfaction over business outcomes.
A frequent flyer of Virgin Atlantic wrote a tongue-in-cheek email to Richard Branson, complaining about the Indian food served (the famous curry story) on his flight to Heathrow from Mumbai. A templated “damage control” response would have only escalated a bad customer service example. But Branson actually sought the help of the passenger to improve the Virgin Atlantic’s food menu!
In a 2016 interview with Micah Solomon, a customer service guru, Richard Branson mentioned how the passenger who wrote the grievance email was then made a part of the advisory board for food in Virgin Atlantic. This is how Richard Branson helped Virgin Atlantic spin a successful customer service story by using negative sentiment about the brand to its advantage.
#4 Ensure that customer support is technically competent
– Freshworks employee resolves a technical issue faced by a newly onboarded customer
One of Freshworks’ new clients faced multiple roadblocks before they could completely transition their customers onto the Freshdesk customer service software. The client company wanted to ensure that expectations were met in terms of customizing the helpdesk for their use-cases.
Utkarsh, then an Account Manager for Freshdesk, helped the customer by ensuring a seamless migration. Not only did Utkarsh help the client adapt to the new software, but he also went the extra mile to personalize the onboarding process in keeping with their specific and intricate requirements. This resulted in heartfelt appreciation from the client for the sense of shared urgency and technical acumen displayed by the Account Manager.
While showing empathy and care for customers are essential human traits that make for a good customer service example, technical prowess and product knowledge are equally important to bring customer satisfaction.
#5 Make loyal customers feel special
– Taco Bell turns a hoax into customer delight
In 2012, the little-known city of Bethel, Alaska was primed to get its first Taco Bell. The people of Bethel were excited as they previously had to make the 300-mile trek to Anchorage – the nearest city with a Taco Bell outlet. However, it was later revealed to be part of a big hoax, and Taco Bell never had plans to add Bethel to their fast-food chain.
But instead of letting the rumor mills die down, Taco Bell decided to keep the buzz alive by planning a surprise for its loyal customers. They flew into Bethel on a helicopter, carrying a truck full of taco ingredients, fit to make about 10,000 tacos. This effort from Taco Bell was dubbed “operation Alaska” and was a huge sensation in the media.
#6 Build a customer-first service culture from the grassroots
– Zappos’ inimitable culture of delighting customers at every turn
Zappos is a brand known as much for its customer service stories as its actual shoe business.
As a testament to their exceptional customer service, there have been many occasions where customers called Zappos for issues not concerning their products. On one such call, a customer requested a Zappos service rep to get directions to a retail store in Florida. Despite knowing that this was a call with no intent to shop Zappos product, the service rep helped the customer reach his destination–literally at every “turn”.
Among other significant customer service stories, Zappos is also known for the world-record 10+ hours call with a customer. This marathon customer service call was eventually bettered by another support agent from Zappos. No wonder the Zappos support team is christened the “Customer Loyalty Team”.
With its service culture, Zappos has built a customer experience that has created a loyal customer base. Zappos’ unending list of customer service examples only shows us that it will always remain a dizzying benchmark of greatest customer service stories.
#7 Create policies around customer expectations
– Amazon’s hassle-free return and refund policy & Slack’s fair billing policy
Customers drown in pain points brought about by the fine-print at the pretext of brand policies. This greatly affects their perception about the brand, and worse, they start losing trust. Policies could be a dealbreaker right from hidden charges on products to post-sale support. But Amazon and Slack beg to differ.
Amazon ensures that customers have a wholesome experience even after their purchase by giving 30 days to return or replace their product. During the 30-day time window after purchase, customers can play around the products to return them if they dislike it or get it replaced if it’s faulty. An Amazon delivery executive collects within a week of the product getting listed for a refund or replacement. The refund for returns is also seamless as Amazon takes only 3 days for the refund process to unfold as soon as it receives the product back.
The fair billing policy of Slack is another great customer service example. The cloud-based messaging platform charges companies only for the “active time” spent by their employees. The monthly billing system automatically detects the idle time of the agents on a Slack team, which also reflects on the invoice.
#8 Proactively admit mistakes before customers complain
– Adobe’s creative announcement of its system outage
In the age of social media, it is essential to switch from reactive to proactive support. It only takes a few moments for bugs and software issues to get called out. So, being proactive also includes acknowledging mistakes and reassuring customers as soon as something goes wrong.
— Adobe Customer Care (@AdobeCare) February 28, 2017
Adobe set a great customer service example when several online services were down due to Amazon Web Service (AWS) outage. Adobe’s social media team was quick to announce that its services were getting affected because of AWS.
— Adobe Customer Care (@AdobeCare) February 28, 2017
It was a great PR move from Adobe to get creative on social media by making a memorable tweet when its services were hit. One of the replies to the tweet said, “Genius! Adobe – you turn our frowns upside down!”
#9 Surprise your customers to show how much you value them
– WestJet Airlines spreads Christmas cheer with real-time gifts
Nothing casts a festive spell on people during Christmas like receiving gifts. Canadian airline WestJet decided to do its part to spread Christmas joy by gifting its flyers what they wanted in real-time!
After 3 months of planning, more than 100 WestJet employees executed a big “Christmas miracle” of giving, where the passengers of two Calgary-bound flights were in for the surprise of their lives! At the Toronto airport, WestJet placed a live video chat before the flight departed, where Santa asked all the passengers what they wished to have for Christmas. The passengers clearly found it engaging and listed a bunch of items off their Christmas wish lists – asking for everything from a flat-screen TV to the latest video games to socks!
Little did they know that WestJet volunteers were running through town, finding the gifts as they were being listed by the passengers. Before the flight landed in Calgary, WestJet actually managed to get every gift, small or big and made every wish come true. It was an emotional experience for many customers, as the video suggests.
Pro-tip To Foster Good Customer Service Practices: Start Treating Your Employees Like Valued Customers
Facebook offers a good amount of money called “baby cash” to employee parents with newborns. This a deeply personal gesture that strikes a chord with the employees and makes them feel integral to the company.
Netflix is another company that prioritizes looking after employees with a one-year paid maternity and paternity leave when they become parents.
Treat your employees the way you want your customers treated – maybe even better! – Shep Hyken
The success of these two brands among customers stands testament to the adage, “happy employees make for happy customers.”
Upgrade Your Support With The Takeaways From Customer Service Examples
Grand gestures or single moments of ‘wow’ do translate into examples of good customer service. But the key learning is that delighting customers should not be reduced to a few one-off efforts. It’s about building a service culture with an underlying principle of unifying all teams–towards the common goal of enhancing customer service–with well-informed, customer-first decisions.
- Respond to customers like clockwork: Keep first response times, set up service level agreements (SLAs), and use intuitive ticketing to avoid keeping the customer waiting.
- Offer self service: Let customers find readily available answers for simple queries. 76% of consumers globally prefer to ﬁrst try to solve issues on their own before contacting support. So, it’s on your company to make sure customers are empowered with a comprehensive self-service portal. A parallel win from self-service is that it can take some workload off your support agents.
- Provide omnichannel customer service: Make omnichannel support available by bringing all the customer engagement channels together, including social media. Also, it would offer a consolidated view of customer interactions to agents, so that support is easier and contextual.
- Work as a team to resolve customer issues: Create a work culture that encourages team collaboration. It increases accountability buy indulging all teams into the customer support process. Most of the customer service examples we see are backed by teams working towards a common goal of delighting customers.