3 Brands That Use Strong Customer Service Values to Create Memorable Experiences

January 8, 2020

When it comes to customer service, we're really quick to quantify things. What's our First Response Time? How long are we taking to handle open tickets? What does our churn look like?

To be clear - all of these things are important. Assigning metrics to customer service helps you establish what you're doing well, where you're falling short, and how to improve in specific areas. But to maximize the value of the data you're gathering, you need to focus on establishing the right customer service values.

If you study companies that have reputations for being customer-first, you'll quickly find that strong values are the thread that ties them together. The values themselves aren't all the same - it's the idea to create a shared purpose that we can all learn from.

Zappos - creating fun and a little weirdness

Zappos is widely recognized as having one of the best customer service experiences in e-commerce, and the B2C world in general. That's no accident.

Zappos Values

Zaps 3

Source: "What We Live By" - Zappos

They list out their 10 Core Values for every new hire, along with "sample behaviors" to provide examples for what they look like in practice. The important thing to note is that they're not providing strict rules or policies for how to act in certain service instances. Instead, they're providing guardrails that employees can lean on when handling open cases, but leaving enough flexibility for them to make the decisions that they think are right by customers.

Takeaways:

  • Customer service values are helpful guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules
  • Don't be afraid to give employees some autonomy - doing so can be the difference between average and "WOW" experiences

Disney - Creating common purpose and having deep customer knowledge

Talk about a customer-first organization. Disney has long been known for creating memorable experiences through media and theme parks. Their focus on the Customer Experience is something that we can all learn from - in fact, they have an entire professional development and consulting branch dedicated to training business leaders using the Disney approach to CX (appropriately named Disney Institute).

Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director at the institute, wrote an article for Harvard Business Review explaining 3 principles that the company uses to enhance the Customer Experience.

The first one that he lists is creating an "organizational common purpose." In his words, "The essential foundation on which all other service decisions can be developed, a common purpose is a succinct explanation of what you want the customer experience to be at the emotional level. It represents to all employees what you stand for and why you exist, and it is the primary tool for getting everyone 'on the same page'." Sound anything like Zappos Core Value #1?

The second is "understand your customers holistically." Jones describes this as going beyond the usual criteria you'd use to measure customer service by trying to understand the needs and expectations of customers. In a separate article, he talks about ways you can gather and analyze customer feedback to help build that understanding. Check that out here.

Jones' third point speaks to a shift in mindset that many customer-first companies have made - viewing great service as a value-driver rather than another added expense. He explains that the ROI from lifetime customer relationships will justify any short-term expenses.

Takeaways:

  • Understand that great customer service is a long-term investment, not a quick-win situation
  • When thinking about customer service values, it helps to start with a common purpose that describes how you want customers to feel about you

Union Square Hospitality Group - the "hospitality quotient"

As important as it is to communicate customer service values to new hires, it's equally important to lean on them when making new hires.

Union Square Hospitality Group has restaurants like Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, and Union Square Café under its' umbrella. CEO Danny Meyer attributes much of the company's success to the restaurants' consistent ability to deliver great customer service - and it all starts with what he calls the hospitality quotient.

The HQ is what Meyer's restaurants use when hiring new employees. It measures if someone has a natural ability to make other people "feel good" by looking at six skills: being kind and optimistic, being curious, having a strong work ethic, having empathy, being self-aware, and having integrity.

By hiring employees that exemplify those values, Meyer knows that he can count on his staff to create memorable experiences for customers, which goes a long way in his business. In his words, "Whatever we cook, I bet you could find another handful of examples in this city that are at least as good. What you're going to come back for - or not - is how we made you feel."

Takeaways:

  • The best service happens when you hire the right employees and keep them happy
  • Strong customer service principles help you make hiring decisions, because you can more quickly identify candidates who have the traits you're looking for

 

 

 

 

 

 

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