Beneath every corporate logo there is a team of people that are trying to determine how to increase revenue and decrease costs. We have departments such as revenue management which attempt to maximize revenue given constraints and process controllers that minimize costs by reducing process inefficiency. While one of the major priorities for all publicly traded companies is to provide a return to shareholders, there should be more of a focus on customer service. Price increases can be made to make more money today, but how does that impact future sales and customer perception? Costs can be cut by reducing in-person customer service with an FAQ chat bot, but are you customer’s problems really being solved? The heart of business is customer service. Here are three companies that understand how to treat people like people.
Known for magic and pixie dust, Disney has exceptional best in class customer service. While I was being trained to work in the Magic Kingdon, the leadership team explained to me that there is something called a magical moment. A magic moment is when a child loses their beloved stuffed animal, a ride gets shut down when Guests have been waiting for over an hour, or a child drops their ice cream cone. The remedies for these situations seem obvious, but not all companies take the action to correct problems that may not even be under their control. A child misplaces a plush Mickey Mouse and I just so happens that the family is headed back to Brazil tomorrow. The Guest shows a receipt to Guest Service while their child is crying frantically. The Guest gets a new Mickey Mouse plush. Problem solved…lifetime customers. A Guests favorite ride breaks down after the Guest has waited over an hour and never reopened. The Guest goes to customer service an explains how the annual visit to Disney wasn’t the same without Space Mountain. The Guest gets a couple fast passes for the ride when it reopens. Problem solved…lifetime customers. Children sometimes fail to understand that holding ice cream cones upside down results in ice cream on the ground. Children cry when their ice cream is on the ground instead of in their hand. The cast member simply makes the Guest a new ice cream cone with a cup just in case. Problem solved…lifetime customers. These magic moments are touch points that the customer remembers. Disney cares about customers.
I read an article recently about a bridesmaid who booked a JetBlue flight, but prior to the wedding she had a falling out with the Bride. About a week before her departure the Bride sent the Bridesmaid a nastygram requesting the bridesmaid to send back the dress since the bridesmaid would not be able to attend all of the wedding events. The bridesmaid vented on Twitter about being stripped of her duties and how being at the wedding was no longer comfortable given the confrontation that she had with the Bride through email. The bridesmaid tagged JetBlue so they could understand her situation. JetBlue responded to the Bridesmaid’s tweets and cancelled her flight with no penalty. Furthermore, they offered to fix the friendship of the Bride and Bridesmaid by offering them a free JetBlue Getaway. This is the kind of customer service that goes viral. Companies need to be doing more with customers on a personal level. Big companies rake in millions to billions of dollars and they can afford to fix the problems of everyday customers. Fixing a friendship is priceless. JetBlue now has 2 lifetime customers and probably attracted new customers from their amazing customer service. JetBlue is not just an airline that gets you from point a to point b they care about customers.
Let’s face it, ordering things online can be hit or miss if you’re never actually seen the product you are purchasing in person. Furthermore, it can be a guessing game of when you will receive what you’ve ordered when buying online. Amazon took those concerns away from consumers and created an industry benchmark that is tough to match. Free two-day shipping on Amazon Prime eligible items, or if a certain price threshold is met (not a prime member). In addition, almost all returns are honored for money back or at least a gift card. A while ago I made a relatively large purchase on Amazon. The top on my Jeep Wrangler had a leak and I was tired to driving to work with water in my shoes. I went on Amazon and found what I thought was a stock OEM replace top for my Jeep and ordered it. A couple days later the Jeep top arrived, and I opened the box to find a jeep top that was not an exact replacement of the top that came with my Jeep from the factory. I managed to get everything back in the box and sent back the $800 Jeep top wondering if I would receive a refund. Sure enough a few days later my account was credited. I never paid a dime for shipping. I was not hassled for returning a product that was not what I expected. I continue to buy random things from Amazon. Amazon knows that good customer service leads to good customers. Good customers continue to buy things with confidence. Businesses need to do what is right for the customer and the customer will be loyal. Amazon cares about customers.