Every business – no matter the size or industry – aims to serve their customers in a way that will make them want to come back. Some companies seem to intuitively understand the value of customer service and how to provide it. Retail customer service lessons can be learned from those companies who are providing the best customer service.
Customer Service Impacts
Just how important is customer service? A survey by Zendesk makes it clear that it’s critical if your business is to thrive. 87% said good customer service changes future buying behavior, from recommending products or services to other people (67%) to purchasing or using more products and services from that company (54%) to considering purchasing or using more from that company (39%).
On the flip side, the survey confirmed just how devastating poor customer service can be on a company’s fortunes. 97% said poor customer service changed their future buying decisions. More specifically, 58% stopped buying from the company, 52% switched to a different company for that product or service, 52% told others not to buy that product or service, and 48% were unlikely to consider that company when making future purchases.
While good customer service is one of those terms where you know it when you experience/see it, a definition would be helpful. Salesforce includes four tasks that make up customer service:
- Service that is fast.
- Service that is personalized.
- Service that provides a connected experience.
- Service that’s proactive, offering a resolution before an issue or disruption occurs. To add, should a problem occur, resolving it in a way that leaves the customer feeling listened to, appreciated and satisfied.
Ultimately, customer service is about leaving the customer satisfied.
The best customer service companies are those who seek out ways to show their customers that they are valued
What Does Good Customer Service Look Like?
American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) uses data from approximately 70,000 customers annually to measure customer satisfaction and they are considered an authority in the industry.
ACSI recently created a top 20 list of companies who provide the best customer service across all the companies they track, regardless of industry. According to a Forbes article which reported on the study, those companies fell primarily into three categories: supermarkets, restaurants, and car manufacturers. So, who made the list? The top five are: Chick-fil-A, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Amazon, and Lexus.
Customers rave about Chick-fil-A’s staff because they are professional and courteous. Trader Joe’s customers appreciate the unique and quality products the store offers. Aldi’s gives off a personal feel, has good prices, and high quality. Amazon has a massive amount of options collated in one place. Customers say that Lexus makes them feel very comfortable, and they are impressed with its design.
Customer service is about serving the customer. There are numerous ways to serve a customer, and many companies claim they will go out of their way and that the customer is always right. But how many do?
In the story about Trader Joe’s in an article from Helpscout.com, Trader Joe’s is hailed as a hero by delivering food (which they don’t normally do) to an elderly man around the holidays. They ultimately did not charge for the food and simply offered holiday wishes. In addition to the goodwill they provided, the publicity that this story got was priceless.
More Than Just Sales
By viewing customers as people, Trader Joe’s and Chick-fil-A make it clear their customers are not simply a way to reach sales targets. The best customer service companies are those who seek out ways to show their customers that they are valued.
The secret to employees treating their customers right at Chick-fil-A is noted in this article on SAS’s website. President and COO Dan Cathy says of customers and employees that they, “need a little grace and a little space when you deal with them because they are either experiencing a problem, just finished having a problem, or are about to have one.”
In addition, Chick-fil-A sees the restaurant as a place for people to be restored. Employees can help customers to restore themselves if they treat them politely, and “offer amenities and kindness that minister to the heart.”
Start With Your Employees
These two retailers also place a high premium on their employees.
Trader Joe’s has regularly been named one of the best places to work by Glassdoor. According to an article in Business Insider, Trader Joe’s employees are encouraged to engage with customers. In addition, they offer flexible schedules, strive to boost morale, and deliver good benefits. Content employees are more likely to offer good customer service.
As part of Chick-fil-A’s culture, employees are treated with respect and graciousness. Business Insider notes restaurant operators are, “encouraged to run their location with a dedication to caring and compassion for their employees.” Employees receive benefits that are out of the ordinary and are encouraged to “follow their dreams, even if doing so will ultimately lead the worker to leave the chain.”
Because both good and bad customer service have dramatic impacts on your business, focusing on providing great customer service is critical. Learning from the best customer service companies, and treating your customers and employees as people instead of numbers, can profoundly elevate your business.
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