This makes customer service an incredibly important tool to remain competitive and agile. Here we've outlined 5 companies that are nailing it in how they create a loyal customer base and incorporate their customers to even how they make products.
Skincare and makeup brand Glossier’s motto is "skincare first, makeup second," but its customer-centric business model and customer service team have made it possible for Glossier to execute on its vision.
What’s special about Glossier is that the beauty brand was built from listening to customers or potential customers. CEO and co-founder Emily Weiss explains how she started the multi-million dollar company. She crowd-sourced opinions via social media from users about the kinds of products they wanted to experience and buy. Via Weiss’ blog and her social media platform, she started creating effective and affordable skincare and beauty products.
Customer feedback is how Glossier is how they build products. For example, their release of a sunblock was the result of customers repeating how much they didn’t want the product to smell like sunblock or that it felt sticky. In an interview with Entrepreneur, Weiss shared how people sent DMs thanking the brand for listening to their desires. With the wave of “clean beauty”---vegan, cruelty-free, etc.---Glossier also responded to customer feedback by creating products with these parameters.
How does Glossier remain customer-oriented---especially as it’s how products are built?
Glossier's customer service department calls themselves “the gTEAM”. Focusing on “customer experience” rather than customer service, they’re found on every team throughout the whole company. They’re not only responsible for collecting and engaging with customers via Glossier’s platforms, but they’re involved with making sure the customer experience is infused in each step and responding to customer comments and messages on social media, and creating individualized experiences with each engagement.
Under the umbrella of the marketing team, the gTeam fuses customer feedback, customer experience, product development, and marketing into how they execute.
Costco is "a multi-billion dollar global retailer with warehouse club operations in eight countries". Costco hooks customers with customers from their layout, their extreme value on products, and even nostalgia. It's a membership-only experience, with customers paying either $60 for a Standard membership or $120 for Executive. With a 90% renewal rate in the U.S. and Canada and 51.6 million paying memberships (each of which can have multiple cardholders), it's safe to say they've developed an incredibly loyal customer base.
Because of their diligence to customers, Patricia Hong tells CNBC that “Some of their customer base is absolutely addicted to Costco — absolutely addicted to the experience and the brands and the thrill of going to Costco". Hong, a partner at the global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, shares how far the enthusiasm goes. One Costco customer says she goes to Costco when she's traveling; so far, she's been to 70 Costco stores while on the road. So far, one couple even exchanged their marriage vows at a Costco store.
Why the enthusiasm for a mere bulk grocery store?
Costco provides great products at the lowest price and the best member service. That's the value behind Costco's sales strategy, says Bob Nelson, Costco's senior vice president of planning and investor relations.
They want their members to feel they're receiving value every time they come into the store. The multi-billion retailer is so committed to creating this kind of value that it even resists raising prices and increasing their own profits. For example, they're so focused on the customer experience that they've kept their signature hot dog and soda at $1.50---the price hasn't been raised since 1985. It communicates to customers that the brand really does want to give them the best deal.
Lego, the world famous Danish "play materials"company, started in the early 1930s. In nearly every touch-point, Lego strives to be a wonderful and easy experience. From their friendly retail staff to their products and of course, how they service their loyal fans.
As one of the world's biggest and most iconic toys, Lego sets are often complex---and sometimes miss pieces. If you've ever ordered a Lego set and a piece was missing, the company set up a specially-crafted service to solve the issue. The service delivers pieces that may have been left out of the packaging process.
Not only is the piece sent free of charge, it's usually accompanied by a personalized note of apology. This kind of customer service is tailored and reactive---the ideal kind of response to keep customers happy.
Lego doesn't even stop with pieces that may go missing during their packaging session. Lego still may replace a piece if it's been lost. Even if the piece was lost after packaging, Lego may still replace your order. As seen below, one customer lost an essential piece during a shopping trip. Lego moved to replace it, along with a special note.
What's great about Lego is that it not only delivers memorable customer experiences to children, but to all of their customers. If you type in "Lego customer service", you'll receive plenty of stories about how customer problems were solved rapidly and thoughtfully by the customer service team.
4. Ritz Carlton
The customer service at the luxury hotel chain is so well-known that they even wrote a book on it: "The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Lessons for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company by Joseph Michelli. The chain focuses on leadership, organizational development, and customer service to maintain its excellence.
The Ritz-Carlton has a long-held motto that sets the tone for employee loyalty and engagement: “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”
This motto is more than a clever twist on words; it’s at the core of how Ritz-Carlton views its staff and customers. It began at the hotel chain's roots to serve: Mr. Cesar Ritz set out to create a hotel that would “wow” royalty in Europe. First thing Ritz changed: the bathrooms. Back then, bathrooms were communal; Ritz moved bathrooms to the privacy of their rooms. The "Ritz-Carlton Mystique" is one that emphasizes tailored customer service.
The Ritz-Carlton even calls their customer relationship management (CRM), the "Mystique".
When a customer makes a comment about the temperature room, the comment is noted in the CRM for their entire global operations. Not only that, but accommodations are made, from offering to switch the room to delivering a thermometer.
Guests have noticed that when a Ritz-Carlton employee has stepped onto the elevator and room was not available to accommodate other guests, the employee stepped off---even when they hadn't reached their destination floor. The Ritz-Carlton focuses on qualitative and quantitative feedback to make the difference.
5. Warby Parker
It's all about the journey with the eyeglasses company. Set to IPO soon, Warby Parker has created a seamless customer journey with automated interactions and tailored, human attention. With success in offering great and affordable eyeglasses, Warby Parker is also moving into the healthcare space as well, offering vision care and eye exams. In addition, the company strives to do good in their own space. Starting a great program called "Buy a pair, give a pair", where eyeglasses are donated to communities that can't afford eye care.
The founders saw how overpriced eyeglasses were and decided to cut out the middle man. They also decided to put the customer first, even from the very beginning. They continuously integrated feedback, asking questions, and tracking NPS scores.
Warby Parker's motto is "always follow the customer" by paying close attention to what a customer's needs are. This make them incredibly responsive in making decisions about their product or service.
For example, they paid attention to when customers wanted the opportunity to try on glasses before ordering them; Warby Parker moved to set up retail locations so customers could try on their glasses before purchasing.
Now they have more than 100 stores across the United States. They've also made it super simple to renew prescriptions without the need of an eye doctor, by their online Prescription Check. They're really nailing the customer journey by paying attention to what their customer needs in caring for their eyes.
Customer service extends beyond the process; it goes into how employees treat their customers---even a General Counsel for Warby Parker. Here's one customer service story:
By focusing on how to treat customers like they know best, providing guidance, and going above and beyond, companies can utilize service as a key advantage over their competitors.
To stand out in a sea of sameness, customer experience is a great way for companies to set themselves apart.
Retorio is a video-based behavioral assessment powered by AI. It uses facial expression, language, gesture, and voice to create a Big 5 Personality profile.
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