Everyone has experienced exceptional customer service before – an attentive waiter topping up your glass or a retail sales person giving an honest opinion. And you’ve probably told friends about it too.
These extra little bits of attention are delivered because great service goes beyond customer retention and satisfaction; it creates new business, because people talk.
It’s no longer a matter of if people are talking about your business online, but when and where. The online communication revolution is spreading positive and negative word about your business faster today than it ever has before.
This viral potential for good and bad news has made customer service and engagement more important than ever. So forget your marketing plan and advertising plugs for a minute and think about how you can genuinely engage your audience better.
To give you an idea and a benchmark, here’s what has to be one of the most heart warming and personalised customer service stories out there. It comes courtesy of the Ritz Carlton.
A big, top end hotel chain, the Ritz Carlton is expected to maintain the highest standard of customer service. At a hotel that’s half of what you pay for.
But when Chris Hurn’s family came to stay, they got so much more.
After arriving home from their stay, the family realised their 8 year old son had left his teddy bear, Joshie, behind. That night Hurn received a call from the hotel to say they’d found him.
The hotel would post it home the next day. Not bad.
But when Joshie arrived in the mail, he came with a touching bundle of souvenirs from his trip too.
There was a personalised staff ID card and a series of photos of him on holiday. There were shots lazing around the pool, driving the hotel golf cart, hanging out with other teddies and working behind the desk.
It was an immensely personal, fun and engaging customer service initiative that was over and above anything expected of the hotel.
And what did the Ritz Carlton get out of it? Apart from a bit of fun goofing around, the story was shared with millions of people on social networks and even made news in some countries. It spread, and it spread fast.
Now anyone who’s heard this story doesn’t imagine an emblem or a pool or a menu when they think of the Ritz Carlton, they think of Joshie and the over and above service of the staff there.
So next time you have the opportunity to do something a bit different to serve your customers, think of Joshie and make it fun. It’s more memorable than just meeting expectations and the positive flow on effects will take care of themselves.
Because people talk. You might not know when or where, but you know they’re definitely doing it, so lift the bar and your business will benefit.And now how not to relate to customers - A lesson from Reebok...