Legendary providers of customer service like Zappos, Disney, Nordstrom, and Ritz-Carlton are the exception rather than the norm, according to service expert Steve Curtin. He explains the three elements common to all exceptional customer service experiences—the idea that customer service should be the highest priority of every employee, noting that it’s always voluntary and the employee chooses to deliver exceptional service, and it usually costs no more to deliver than poor service. He explains that companies that provide ordinary customer service aren’t asking their employees to provide the exceptional service, that in return could potentially lead to exceptional results.
Nordstrom Direct president and great-grandson of the company’s founder, Jamie Nordstrom revealed the company’s big customer service secret at Shop.org’s Annual Summit in three words, “improve customer service.” He says improving client service is always their number one goal because it helps the company sell more.
Nordstrom’s in-store sales strategies include innovative mobile technology that will eventually replace cash registers. This technology makes it easy for customers to experience a hassle-free checkout anywhere in the store with their salesperson. Leaders also realize that customers want the same exceptional Nordstrom customer experience whether they come into the stores or shop online and understand that they two are connected. By providing consistent customer service online and in-store, Nordstrom continues to be a leader in the industry. Businesses can learn from the Seattle company’s examples of always improving customer service.
With advances in mobile technology, online retail, and social media, customers are accessing retail goods and services through a wide variety of platforms. The days of in-store or mail order catalog sales only are long gone. Retail therapy has gone online, mobile, and viral. With customers engaging business in so many ways for purchasing, customer service must be available in all the same channels. Aberdeen Group’s 2013 research shows that providing omnichannel customer service is a top challenge for retailers, business-to-business, and customer service management programs.
Aberdeen defines omnichannel customer care as strategic initiative designed to deliver seamless customer experiences across multiple channels and devices to ensure customers are receiving high-quality customer service everywhere they interact with a business. Aberdeen’s Next-Generation CEM study shows that 65 percent of businesses use at least six touch-points to engage with customers, and omnichannel customer experience management creates a coordinated strategy so that the customer gets the same level of service no matter what device or channel they use with the company. This requires the knowledge, skills, technology tools, access to data, and measurement processes to deploy with a customer service work group, something that’s easier to attain with a cloud contact center. An inbound contact center can simplify your CS strategy by routing customers to specific agent experts, providing your businesses with reporting tools and access to agent metrics to make communication seamless.
Ritz-Carlton’s service values are designed to build customer relationships that create customers for life. To provide an extraordinary customer service that sells more and creates customer loyalty, Steve Curtin says businesses have to do something different than what produces the normal results. He says part of that is asking employees to go above and beyond in customer service. Disney makes sure every employee knows that their interactions with customers should exceed expectations. Nordstrom employees know that improving customer service is the company’s number one priority. Do your employees know what kind of customer service your company expects them to provide?