At the end of the day, we’re all customers – and we’re all in customer service. There’s not one of us who is adequate to exist in this world on our own. We need help. And the only way to get that help is by helping others.
So when you boil it all down, the work we do in the Customer Experience space is really about taking some of the most universal and fundamental mechanisms of humanity and society, and trying to get them to scale up from our one-on-one relationships, to the millions and billions of interactions our companies support annually.
And the really cool thing about that is that we can also peer back through the looking glass from the other side. We can take the lessons learned from companies who have cracked the code to deliver exceptional help at scale, and use them for inspiration in our own lives and relationships.
So with that in mind, here are a few examples of outstanding customer service in 2015—and the lessons we can learn from them:
- Amazon, a stalwart of outstanding customer service, launched Amazon Prime Now in more than 20 cities across the U.S. Tens of thousands of items are available for one-hour or two-hour delivery. First it was free 5-7 day delivery, then free two-day delivery with Prime membership, and Prime Now could change the face of online shopping and make life even easier for customers. The lesson? The more you can deliver instant gratification, the happier others around you will be.
- The Transportation Security Administration, along with most government agencies, isn’t known for being customer-focused. It’s working to change that with the launch of the @AskTSA Twitter handle, which offers service and support—and personalized answers—to travelers who ask questions. The lesson? Open up the kimono a bit and share information transparently so all can see.
- #ForceforDaniel was a trending topic this year, with people around the country urging Disney and director J.J. Abrams to give a terminally-ill Star Wars super fan a pre-screening of the new Star Wars movie. They did, with an in-home screening of the unedited movie, just days before he passed away. Considering the secrecy around the film, that was a huge customer care move—for Daniel and all Star Wars fans. The lesson? Good things go viral too… And we all still love to see compassion on display, especially when it’s least expected.
- Nordstrom is now offering customized shoe design. That’s right, any customer can be a shoe designer and create their own custom pair of shoes. As Shep Hyken says, “Nordstrom does it again, being one step ahead in customer service; this time creating not only an amazing experience, but a customized, amazing experience.” The lesson? Treat everyone like they’re the only one, and give people around you the space for self-expression.
- Taylor Swift is, without a doubt, one of the most popular performers in the world. She makes a point of getting involved with her fans on social media and in person. She may have outdone herself in 2015, donating $50,000 to help pay for medical treatment for one young “Swiftie.” Swift understands that she would not be where she is without her fans—and she respects that, doing what she can to show them her appreciation. The lesson? There’s humility in gratitude that is incredibly attractive to others, and it’s amplified exponentially when you ‘pay it forward’.
- Zappos is another company legendary for customer service and shaking things up. In 2015, it removed all managers and shifted to a “holacracy.” That has empowered employees even more than before to take the best possible care of customers. The lesson? People treat others the way they are treated. When you value and respect those around you, there’s a ripple effect that reaches far beyond your own interactions.
- While not a traditional customer service experience, students are their teachers’ customers. As such, it’s the teacher’s job to help the students in (nearly) any way they can. There were multiple examples of professors helping students with their children during class. The latest viral example is of a professor entertaining a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old while their mother took her final exam. The lesson? Going above and beyond isn’t that difficult and can make a big positive difference in someone’s day.
Of course those are just a few of the countless examples of companies doing ‘the right thing’ – this list could go on and on. But it doesn’t need to for the moral of the story to be clear: Other’s matter. And when you find ways to put them first, be grateful for them, respect them, listen to them, care for them, and give them the space to express the very best in themselves, you might just be surprised to discover the very best in yourself as well.
Here’s to all the lessons learned in 2015 and those yet to come in 2016. From all of us here at Serenova, we couldn’t be more grateful for you, our customers, partners and friends. May you find the very best of all things within yourselves and each other this holiday season and beyond.
- Baker Johnson