Out of a raw and uncooked curiosity, I sought out to uncover, what elements make up and defines a great customer service. This sudden yearn, led me to twitter and I typed the phrase ‘great customer service’- prefixed with the customary hash tag- obviously!
This research comprises of tweets on great customer service, from June 2012 till date. This stunned me to a great extent- as some unexpected elements made the list and an immaterial component, having the highest re-occurrence- undeniably, having the largest ingredient in the great customer experience delicacy. We will now look at the elements of a great customer service as expressed on twitter.
Elements of a great customer experience
1) Extra-mile: This was the first element that popped up as opined on the twitter handle of property jungle. It viewed a great customer service as going over and beyond and to this regard property jungle displayed this quote: “Someone would always equal your price but going that extra-mile is priceless.” Roger Staubach’s quote on one of the twitter handles also went thus: “there are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” In the research, 5.9% of the tweets by people with a hash-tag great customer service highlighted going the extra-mile as symbolic of delivering a great and excellent customer service.
2) Quick Service: The second element that emerged was a quick and prompt service. The promptness of service as highlighted on twitter bothered on quick reply with acknowledgement of orders, getting back quickly to an enquiry and replacement of bad products within 24 hours. ASAP was a common acronym that was used quite frequently to illustrate how a quick service could equate to great customer experience. The twitter handle of LinkedIn help, received a great amount of tweets regarding quick response to an enquiry or complaint. A good example was a tweet to LinkedIn help, for a rapid response in less than an hour. In my research, about 23.5% of tweets indicating a great customer service were done with a quick and prompt service as a premise. To these tweets, a quick and efficient service equates to a great customer experience.
3) Complementary gifts and discounts: Freebies like coupons and extra chicken wings (funny, I know!), in some cases prompted a great customer service hash-tag. In most of the scenarios, this takes place after a complaint has been made- due to a damaged good or a mix-up in delivery, a good example: A customer of Chipotle Kendall Sq, thanking the company: “@Chipotle Kendall Sq! Unsolicited Free burritos cause they err’d on my last mail order.” To my surprise, only 12.9% of the tweets on a great customer service were about freebies or material gifts.
4) Keeping a promise: My research led to a fourth component- and that is keeping a promise. A common re-occurrence under this component is: ‘honouring a call back.’ Not all companies honour a call back. A customer calls your helpline and it is very busy- maybe a 30 minutes wait and you ask them to choose a call back option, they do that and for a century no one gives them a call back. If you think this is not a big deal, then you have to have a re-think, as a customer thanked a company for honouring a call back, as that helped to keep her sanity intact. A customer also sent a tweet to Kylon brand “@KylonBrand ROCKS- Kept their customer service promises- good companies keep their word.” About 3.6% of the tweets on great customer service focused on keeping a promise.
5) Thanks and appreciation: Thanking and appreciating your customers in an unexpected and special manner could be considered great customer service on twitter. A good example was a random and unexpected call from the NBA team, Sacramento kings, thanking a lady for being a fan. It made her day and also did make her feel special. Surprisingly, this element made up 1.2% of tweets in my research.
6) Taking ownership: This component is not the same as going an extra-mile. As tweets illustrated that, when a company and her employees perform their job in an effective and efficient manner, they are taking ownership. It is all about doing what is expected of you but in a considerate and intelligent manner. It comprises of taking care of a problem, removing the worry off the customer by making the issue a no-issue. A good example is an American air rep telling a passenger: “set up your baby’s car seat, don’t worry about it.” It also includes helping customers decide by making a genuine and sincere recommendation on a product or service. Taking ownership creates re-assurance and takes off the worry and anxiety as a customer of Chase Support stated: “@ChaseSupport sending me a message to confirm the purchases are legit, especially being in the middle of nowhere.” For a company trying to take ownership of issues would involve training and equipping your employees, in making informed recommendation and decision. Taking care of the customer is also a key element, with tweets like ‘Thank you for taking care of my problem” and “you guys took care of my problem.” Taking ownership leads to the resolution of the issue- as customers are anxious and worrying in most cases, customer-obsessed companies, always aim to shoulder the burden and make the entire journey as stress free as possible for the customer. Unsurprisingly, twitter has this as the highest great customer service component with about 35.3%.
7) Social: Customers want a social experience- it makes the customer journey more enjoyable. Teach your staff not to just point customers to the right section but to walk them down to the respective point whilst finding out how their day is going. A tweet touched on the sub-elements of this component as it highlighted: ‘Funny and friendly, escorting the customer right to the point of the ticket purchase, making the experience easy.’ This made up about 4.7% of the tweets in this study.
8) Packaging and Presentation: Great product packaging and presentation is also symbolic of great customer service. Some customers create new English words when you wow them like this tweet “A purr-fect treat for the crisps and the box”. 9.4% of the tweets on a great customer service consider packaging and presentation as the main element.
9) Sarcasm: Now this was unexpected, crazy and somewhat a complete joke- making the list of the components of a great customer service. In my research, I discovered that in some cases, to understand what a great customer service looks like it is better to do that by ridiculing a poor customer service. Using what shouldn’t be to explain what should be. If that still sounds confusing then have a look at these tweets- one to the handle of united airline and the other to ticket master: “united charging $50 per checked bag (round trip) and won’t refund that charge even when they lose your bag!” And the second ridiculed a 62 minutes waiting time, it is taking for the individual to speak to a ticket master customer service agent: “if you need to talk to someone right away, call us toll-free, ’62 minutes later.’” Sarcasm or using a bad service to explain how a great service should look like, made up about 3.5% of the total tweets on a great customer service in this research. Check this tweet out from an eBay customer:
Based on the abovementioned, it is very clear that the highest element of a great customer service- as seen on twitter, is taking ownership. The second component is that of a quick and prompt service. Suffice is then to say that, the great customer experience in most cases are achieved when a company decides to take ownership of the customer’s care and do that in a quick and efficient manner (combination of the top two element). A good example of the combination of the top two elements was when a Disney customer lost her annual pass and Disney finds it (taking ownership) and sends it promptly to the customer (Quick service). And the customer ends up saying: “Thanks for taking care of the problem so quickly.”
In the words of a twitter user on the Fulton Bank handle: “On the phone with Fulton Bank, the response to me saying ‘have a good day’ was ‘You have a better one.’” Fulton Bank wishing the customer a better day- that is golden- leaving people better than you met them. Theodore Roosevelt couldn’t have put it much better by stating: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”