Take free customer service lessons from some of the most successful retailers in the world
As a small to medium sized business, you’re not always dealing with the volume of sales to test various customer service tactics. Intuition and common sense certainly play an important role for owners and managers, but essentially, it will take a longer time to gain any definitive results.
Lucky for us, the convenience of the internet allows us to take customer service lessons from some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world. They’ve done the research on a large scale and we can benefit if we pay attention to the way they do business.
So, what can you learn from companies such as Apple, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, Nordstrom, and Zappos? We’ve put a list together here for you - start taking notes!
This online retail giant is well known for its huge variety, flexible returns policies, and free shipping, but their success can also be attributed to their founder, Jeff Bezos’s dedication to customer service and putting the customer above all else.
In addition to hiring a large number of staff 100% focused on customer service, Bezos often leaves a chair empty in board meetings to remind employees who the real boss is; the customer.
Bezos ensures all employees have regular contact with customers. Even supervisors and managers are required to take call centre training at least once a year. This fosters empathy for the client and a culture of customer service excellence.
Anyone who has walked into an Apple store knows that they’re a level above the rest when it comes to providing a real ‘customer experience’. Why are they so good? They’ve done the research and know exactly what their target market wants.
Busy people can make appointments at the Genius Bar so they don’t have to wait around for the next available assistant, there is always an abundance of employees ready to help you, and they smile a lot, too.
Perhaps one of the best parts about the experience is that Apple won’t bother you with a printed receipt or queuing at a checkout counter - the entire process takes place on the spot, with your original sales assistant and their mobile POS system. Once the transaction is complete, your receipt will be emailed to you instantly.
Trader Joe’s is not the largest supermarket chain in the USA, but it certainly gets the most praise for customer service. These guys have a few tactics that make them a leader in customer satisfaction.
Firstly, they know their market and are aware that their customers are often health conscious. As a result, they are proactive and often first in with the latest health food products, before they become mainstream. They even started labelling foods with allergy warnings before it was a requirement, because they knew it was important to their shoppers.
Secondly, they realise that happy employees translates to happy customers. Trader Joe’s staff are all encouraged to have fun on the shop floor and make small talk with customers. This creates a friendly and welcoming vibe for the shoppers, who will likely return next time for the same experience.
This mega retailer knows a thing or two about customer service. After years in the department store game, Nordstrom has built a reputation on customer satisfaction, with many of its customers choosing them over the competition for this exact reason.
How they built this reputation involves some very simple, yet effective in-store techniques. When you’re looking for something in particular, a Nordstrom employee will walk you to the very product you’re looking for, instead of giving vague directions or pointing. This same employee will also be able to put your purchase through without you having to stand in a queue.
When the transaction is complete, your bag will be walked around to you, rather than handed over the counter. This generally leaves customers feeling as though the store and its employees care about them and value their patronage.
This online retailer is praised so frequently for its customer service, it would have been wrong to not include them on this list. Out of all the things they do, going above and beyond for the customer is what these guys are best known for.
Unlike most big businesses striving for efficiency, Zappos staff are trained to spend MORE time on customer service calls in order to make an emotional connection with the caller. Zappos also offer no-questions-asked refunds for up to a year after purchase - a tactic that keeps their customer retention rate climbing.
The other thing about Zappos is their accessibility. You won’t spend ages clicking around their site trying to figure out how to contact them - their phone number is prominently displayed and customers are encouraged to call with absolutely any kind of product enquiry.
Are there any tactics in this list that you can implement within your business?