Over this past year, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has sought to crush and close small and mid-size businesses across America, and even the world. As we root for the survival of our favorite mom-and-pop shops (and even a small business revival), it’s become clear — smaller companies’ customer service can often be the most spectacular and memorable.
As someone who works in the customer service software and CX industry, I’m always paying attention to service experiences, both my own and those of others. I was especially inspired after seeing Lindsay Silberman, NYC-based blogger, avid traveler, and founder of Hotel Lobby Candle share a memorable CX story in an effort to boost the awareness of one of her favorite local shops. Here’s a summary of her story. . .
Back in 2016, after Lindsay married her now-husband Matt in Mexico, she dropped off her wedding dress at Choice Cleaners 7 on Avenue B in the East Village neighborhood of NYC to be dry cleaned and preserved. She didn’t tell the owner, John, that she was dropping off her wedding dress. She just kind of left it there in a crumpled up black shopping bag. Two days later Lindsay got a knock on her apartment door. It was John, carrying her newly dry-cleaned wedding dress. He also had a bouquet of two dozen roses. Lindsay exclaimed, “You’re such a good husband. Your wife will love those!” John replied, “No, these are for you! Congratulations on your wedding!” Along with the flowers was a hand-written message from John and his wife, wishing Matt and Lindsay a lifetime of happiness and thanking them for entrusting Choice Cleaners 7 with her wedding dress.
The Human Touch is Not Lost
Even today, every Christmas, Lindsay gets a personal text from Choice Cleaners 7. According to Lindsay, she admittedly hasn’t visited this particular dry cleaner in years since moving across town, but the owners never fail to thank her for her previous business. This past holiday season was no different. It kind of makes you want to go visit your favorite business right now, doesn’t it?
People like John prove just how much small business owners care about their customers. Their doors stay open because of individuals. Each person really does matter. Their business is just that personal. Lindsay’s story reminds me how lucky we are as customers to have places like Choice Cleaners 7 and how we should do everything in our power to keep them around.
The human touch element of customer service - so critical yet often overlooked - is something small businesses have mastered. But is it possible to scale this level of highly personalized customer service so that mid-sized (and larger) businesses can offer this magic touch, too? The answer is yes! Smaller, single-location mom-and-pop shops may not need automation or anything more than a phone line. But, many growing mid-size businesses with multiple locations and an expanding customer service team need more than that. They require the right all-in-one communications system to make outstanding customer service a reality. They need a solution that can grow right alongside their business.
The Right Technology Allows Everyone to Offer High-Touch Service
Communications Platforms as a Service, or CPaaS, gives companies of all sizes the ultimate flexibility with their communications and makes that uber personalized customer service possible, even when you’re not a tiny shop. As Rebekah Carter wrote in UC Today:
Instead of choosing a one-size-fits-all strategy for your communication stack and trying to adapt it to suit your needs, you build the exact solution you need, one block at a time. CPaaS and APIs make it more feasible for companies of all sizes to build new communication features into their existing tools.
Small companies looking to offer an omnichannel approach to customer service can implement just the platforms that their customers use into their service, reducing the need for excessive investment. Companies hoping to upgrade business collaboration can add new functionality into their back-end environment for teams that need help connecting anywhere.
Through [APIs], companies can reach a new level of agility and scalability, adding just the features that they need, when they need them. What’s more, with CPaaS, there’s no need to handle extensive development and maintenance work on your own.
There are a lot of small and mid-size businesses mastering omnichannel customer service, leading to rapid growth. Two of my favorite examples are Clayton & Crume in Louisville, KY, and Clare paint in Atlanta, GA. Both brands, while in entirely different industries, have mastered quick, friendly responses across all channels. I put them to the test on Facebook, Instagram, and email. I’m happy to report that my customer service interactions were memorable across them all.
Memorable Service is Within Reach
Pay-only-for-what-you-use, aka true usage-based pricing, along with a no-code interface, enables companies of all sizes (not just big ones with the big budgets) to utilize customer service software capabilities that may have previously felt out of reach. Imagine having a single solution for all of your business communication needs, and then picking and choosing whichever modular components that make the most sense for your business and customers. It might seem far-fetched, but it’s not. It’s out there right now. And without a doubt, the right technology platform, customized just for that particular business, can equip a brand’s customer support team with the tools, training, and know-how to replicate the magic we know John of Choice Cleaners 7 is delivering. Isn’t that something all companies should strive for?
If you’re ready to expand your capabilities at a pace and budget that adapts as quickly as your business has during this pandemic, try Edify.