Every company wants to provide great customer service, but for small businesses it can be a hit-and-miss process. The key is moving from a product focus to a customer focus. There’s a lot we can learn from the big boys – here are some examples:
Virgin is a global giant renowned for consistently outstanding customer service. That doesn’t happen by mistake – it’s built into their brand at an almost molecular level.
At every point of interaction, Virgin are friendly, personable and upbeat because they spend a lot of time finding out what matters to their customers then making sure that everyone in the organisation understands that those are core brand values. The result is an unusually high level of customer loyalty that allows them to quickly gain market share in new business areas.
Clever businesses know who their customers are, what they want, and what their problems are.
- Dairylea markets to busy Mums who want to give their kids healthy snacks.
- Rolex know that their wealthy customers value the uniqueness of their watches and the tailored after-care service.
The differences between customer-focused and product-focused companies are clear.
When a company becomes customer-focused they also become more flexible, more focused and more successful. If your customer recognises that you want to help improve their life and you deliver consistently you’ll have a loyal fan for life – and maybe get some good publicity too.
Here are some great examples.
Southwest Airlines, Where employees want to make a difference:
A grandfather needed a flight to Denver to visit his sick grandson – possibly for the last time. His wife called Southwest Airlines to book a last-minute flight and explained the situation. The grandfather was delayed in traffic and ended up arriving at the gate 12 minutes after the plane should have left. What waited for him at the gate, however, was the pilot himself. He said: “They can’t go anywhere without me, and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”
Hilton Worldwide, Where they help their competitors customers:
Hilton Hotels decided to help people staying at any hotel (not their own) to find local services. They have their staff “listen” on social media and respond to the questions people are asking. They are focusing not only on their customers, but potential customers who they know travel a lot. When they need to book a hotel, who are they likely to think of?
Sainsbury’s, Where they listen to all customers, regardless of age:
Sainsburys recently changed the name of their Tiger Bread to Giraffe Bread. Why? Because Lily (aged 3 1/2) wrote in and asked why it was called Tiger Bread when it’s actually patterned like a giraffe. The result? A £3 gift card for Lily, a very impressed Mum and Dad and a viral campaign to re-name the bread. They responded not just to a customer, but to a child. They took the time to answer back and the publicity and positive feedback they received was far beyond what they could have gained with a strategic marketing plan. Well done Sainsbury’s and Lily! They listened because they care about their customers, no matter the age.
When it comes to customer service, size really doesn’t matter.
The size of a business doesn’t matter because the mentality of the customer remains the same. They want their pain removed, their risks reduced and they want to feel valued. If you can find ways to deliver that, you can turn indifferent customers into raving fans. Then you need to communicate that through your branding and messaging.
If you want to reach out to your customers more but don’t know where to start, book a Brand Clarity Clinic today and discover new ways to make a difference.