In the Age of Automation and Big Data, Sometimes It's The Little Things

Oct 22, 2019 9:30:00 AM

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I was thinking back on a few customer service stories my colleague and I had shared with each other recently. Professionally we are techies and marketers, but whether at work or at home, we are customers, too. So, in between meetings and getting work done, we like to share new products, exciting new brands that we think are nailing it marketing-wise, and good/bad customer experiences we’ve had with various companies. 

I’m sure you’ve read the statistic saying that people who experience bad customer service are 10x more likely to tell someone else about it versus if they had a good experience. Forbes recently reported that poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year, an increase of $13 billion since 2016! They go on to say that 67% of customers have become “serial switchers,” essentially customers with little loyalty who will switch brands because of one poor experience. These facts should make every person working in customer service more than a bit nervous. But what about the really good, dare I say great, customer service experiences...the rare ones when you make a genuine connection with the customer service representative, and you leave so happy that you tell a few friends about it?

These great experiences matter just as much as the bad ones everyone wants to avoid. You felt appreciated. You found exactly what you were looking for. Your questions were answered. The person was genuinely friendly. And they even took it one step further--they created a memorable and lasting customer experience.

 

Creating a Memorable CX with Simple Gestures

In today’s world, where everything feels so automated, the human touch and personalized service have become more important than ever. Take, for instance, my colleague’s shopping experience at Bloomingdales. She was so surprised to receive a hand-written thank you card in the mail from the beauty advisor she had purchased makeup from a month before.

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It didn’t matter that she had only bought a few cream eyeshadows and a makeup palette; she was just as much a valued client as anyone else. A reported 53% of customers will switch to a competitor if they feel unappreciated. This beauty advisor is doing her best to ensure her customers aren’t part of this stat all with a simple, yet impactful gesture. What had already been a great shopping experience had now become a memorable one. I think it’s safe to say she’ll go back to see Alexis at Bloomingdales the next time she needs beauty products.

 

Personalized Service Secures Loyalty 

Just last month, I was in California on business. With a Sunday morning flight, I had almost an entire day to myself. I realized the beach was two blocks from my hotel and I didn’t think to pack a bathing suit. So, I popped into the Nordstrom in the 3rd Street Promenade in Downtown Santa Monica. September isn’t the usual season to be shopping for a bathing suit, but the sales associate was eager and willing to assist me in finding something in my size and price range. Candice brought me suit after suit in various sizes until we found the right top and coordinating bottom. She was so kind, taking the time to ask me what brought me to town, what my job was, what my plans were for the day, and if I needed anything else or recommendations on where to go while I was in town. I’m sure most consumers can agree, having an emotional connection with a customer service rep or agent makes me want to continue doing business there. I completed my purchase, gave her my thanks, and said my goodbyes. When I sat down at a nearby cafe for lunch, I received an unexpected text from her.

Nordstrom Customer Experience

I was already a huge fan of Nordstrom due to their lenient and trusting return policy and cardmember-exclusive sales. But now? I’m definitely willing to pay a higher price to buy from a company that delivers customer service experiences like this. She kept the personalized service experience going, sending me a text when she stumbled upon another bathing suit I might like. She ended the conversation by telling me to let her know if there was anything else I might need while on my trip! 

 

Empowering Your People to Become Super Agents

Our friends at Root Inc. talk about how building a customer-first culture requires businesses to empower managers and employees to act like owners. Every business would be so much more successful if its customer service agents were able to really own their role, maintain relationships with customers, and act like owners and brand ambassadors. How do you empower your people to do that, though? Executives must instill their trust and faith in their employees to do what’s right. 

And they really need to give permission for employees to be authentic when they engage with customers. Please, no more stiff and scripted conversations! A personal touch feels so special in an age where everything else is automated. Striking the right balance is so key. 

Leaders also need to support their people with the right technology. We suggest giving everyone in a company one platform with all the tools they need to manage internal and customer-facing conversations in order to maintain relationships. When you combine modern tools and technology with a personal touch, employees will love their job and customers will love your brand--everyone wins!

Kendal Rodgers

Written by Kendal Rodgers

Kendal is the Marketing Manager at Edify and has been writing and curating content most of her professional career. She’s passionate about working with start-ups and sharing life experiences through storytelling. Kendal earned her B.S. in Marketing and International Studies from the IU Kelley School of Business.