Customer Service is one of the biggest areas often overlooked that your company can leverage to create an incredible brand and build amazing loyalty among your clients — whether they are new converts, long-time purchasers or those who have fallen off of your active sales funnels. I had an experience this past week with a company whose customer service provided an immediate response to a concern I faced when I ordered a product from them— it went from “why did I buy from this company” to “OMG, they are awesome and I think I’ll write a post about this” in about three emails.
Don’t you wish you could do that? Well, you can. We can. Anyone can who puts their customers’ needs first.
Here’s the story:
My almost-ten year old son told me just the other week he wants to be a programmer when he grows up. Now, considering his obsession, er love of Minecraft and the fact that I knew at the age of six I wanted to be a writer, I take his proclamation seriously. And it fits. When he started drawing, he didn’t draw pictures of houses.
He drew laptops. He drew iPhones. He drew remote controls.
So yup, very seriously.
And I want to encourage it in a way that is fun and informative for him. So I started looking for something that would engage him. I found a company that provides monthly delivered boxes of goodies for young’uns looking to learn how to program and code. I can subscribe and if he doesn’t connect with this first arrival, cancel my subscription at any time. Check!
That company was Bitsbox.
I ordered the Bitsbox just this week, to arrive for my son’s birthday in mid-March. Look at this, doesn’t it look awesome? (This is just a sample photo, not the actual items I’ll get.)
He’ll get a box with apps he can make and immediately see on a device. Love it! So I subscribed. And in the world of two-day Amazon shipping, we have expectations that things will arrive quickly. (If you read up on our previous post about the product triangle, I made my decision on this product on “good” and the expectation of “fast” – because at $40 per month, it wasn’t inexpensive. But if he loves it, it will be worth it.) So I got the email in my inbox confirming my order, and it said it would be delivered … in over a month.
I was completely thrown off kilter. (Back to my decision process. Good & fast wasn’t being met.) My son’s birthday will have come and gone, and I had hoped he’d have this on the day of. It was disappointing, to say the least. And a little disconcerting since I had signed up for a monthly subscription and wasn’t going to get my first box until after a month had passed. Was I going to get charged again before the first box even arrived? Questions were piling up.
So I emailed them back with my disappointment and concern. I received a reply within a very short time frame. They cleared up how their shipping works —all boxes go out at the same time each month. And I wouldn’t be charged until April 1st for the 2nd box, and I could always cancel or get a refund. Okay, so I got the details of that. But that alone wouldn’t have addressed the clear disappointment I had expressed in my email.
But their customer service department (Hi Christie!) picked up on the part of my email that mattered the most:
I ordered this for my son’s birthday on March 11th, thinking I would have plenty of time. This is very disappointing.
They knew I was a mom with a kid and a birthday and without the Bitsbox as a present. That goes to the core of what really mattered to me, and they found a way to fix that problem: not disappointing my son.
Christie at customer service offered to send me a “proxy” box with some goodies and a note from her saying “Bitsbox is coming!” To me, that meant my son would have something to open on his birthday, something he could dig into right away and get excited about — followed by the box showing up in just two weeks after that. It more than fixed my problem, and their willingness to do whatever they could to make that happen was the reason.
But beyond that, they looked beyond my disappointment to what really mattered to me and they solved that problem.
As a business, we can’t always meet our customer’s expectations, and we can disappoint them. But knowing how to read the situation, how to look beyond the irritation and upset to see what truly matters to your client is a surefire way to turn the situation around and potentially create a customer who is even more loyal than they were before.
That takes understanding and the ability to read through the lines to get to the core of the problem. Some irate customers might not tell you so clearly what their pain point truly is. Truly stellar customer service will find a way to uncover that pain point and do what they can to fix it. So when you get emails or calls from customers who aren’t happy with you, how do handle them? Do you react to their tone of upset? Their disappointment? Or do you Stop. Think. And Understand that at the core of that disappointment is a very human emotion that you can do something about? If you stop and listen to that, you can create incredible communications with your customers.
And they might even blog about it.
This post originally published on The Theater of Marketing website. | Photo credit by schuez-mediendesign at pixabay