3 Examples of Great Customer Service Everyone Can Learn From

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By Karen Tang

Since business to customer relationships are at the core of every company, creating customer service practices that not only lure customers in but retain them is increasingly important. Zappos, Trader Joe’s, and jetBlue are three companies that exemplify high quality customer service by going above and beyond expectations to provide service that has a large impact.  See how these companies provide examples of what great customer service looks like.  

The online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos famously stated its purpose is to “Live and Deliver WOW”. One of the things Zappos does to achieve this goal is investing heavily in its main customer touchpoint, its call centres. Employees must pass four weeks of training before ever handling a customer call.  Call centre agents never rely on scripts or policies. In fact, to ensure employees are truly committed every trainee is offered $2,000 to quit at the end of the first week of training to ensure that Zappos finds employees that are committed to working there. The goal of call center agents is not to reduce call volumes or ensure problems are resolved quickly, but to spend 80% of their time in customer-facing interactions. Even if that is with a single customer. The current record for the longest customer service call at Zappos is nearly 11 hours long. Agents are asked to do what feels right for the customer so that the customer is left satisfied. This commitment to customers is what differentiates Zappos from its competitors.  Zappos often calls itself “a service company that happens to sell shoes”.

Trader Joe’s, the unique privately-owned grocery chain, is able to attract loyal customers as a result of their unique products and excellent customer service. The secret to this is making the experience fun, turning what can feel like a chore at times, grocery shopping, into an event. Beginning with its staff who are known as “crew members”, they are dressed in Hawaiian shirts and are tasked with creating a memorable experience for customers. One story that exemplifies this above and beyond service is about a 89-year-old Pennsylvanian man who was snowed in his home during the holidays. His worried daughter called Trader Joe’s who, given the circumstances, agreed to make a tailored direct delivery to the man’s home free of charge. 

Lastly, low-cost airline jetBlue ranked highest in customer satisfaction among North American low-cost carriers for 12 years between the years 2005-2016. jetBlue’s Customer Commitment team’s goal is to go above and beyond what is expected. In 2014, a man mentioned jetBlue in a Tweet inquiring why he was charged an extra $50 to board an earier flight. Immediately, jetBlue responded with an explanation regarding their standby policy, discovered what the customer looked like based on his Twitter profile and sent an employee to find the customer at his terminal to follow up in person.  

These are examples of great customer service and the individual stories that emerge, may not be easy to scale and are difficult to replicate, share a common theme of companies that deeply care about their customers. These three companies wildly vary in products and services, covering a shoe and clothing retailer, grocery chain, and an airline. Yet, their core purpose is to create a memorable and unique experience for their customers. Ultimately, these customer service models which empower employees  to deal with complex situations with a degree of uniqueness and flexibility are the practices that stand out and succeed.