Customer Experience News & Trends

5 unexpected hubs of really great customer service

Say “benchmark customer service,” and thoughts might go straight to legends such as Ritz-Carlton, Nordstrom and (perhaps more recently) Amazon. But don’t forget about the little guys. These five have something to teach everyone.

Try their tactics:

1. Cushion Source

This Alabama-based custom order cushion maker proudly touts that its customer service is not available 24 hours a day. Seems like a bold move today when everyone is constantly connected. But Cushion Source’s reasoning is important to customers:

While we hope that this does not cause you any inconvenience, our offices close because we do not employ call centers or answering services; rather, we believe that our customers deserve thorough help and the right answer, even if it means waiting a few hours until we re-open and one of our experienced cushion professionals can personally assist you.

When you hit the website, chat is offered immediately — the first sign that online customers aren’t meant to be anonymous. They want to work with you to create a personalized experience.

2. World Wide Stereo

World Wide Stereo did what a lot of major retailers couldn’t (think Blockbuster and RadioShack): They successfully take a store-front business to the Web — and continue to make a success of both.

An unwavering commitment to the best prices and great customer service helped them survive recessions and the digital age. Some of their customer-winning strategies: quietly upgrading orders to expedite delivery, follow up phone calls (not automated email) on many orders and employees who are so well trained they can answer just about any question about their product lines.

3. Finish Line

One of the smaller athletic gear companies, Finish Line isn’t one to push you online when you’re in the store and what you need isn’t available. Instead, associates work with you to find the product and make the order — at no hassle to customers, who will get the product at home.

4. David’s Tea

While some of the giant coffee sellers raise prices and disappoint customers, David’s Tea gains a reputation as a top customer service (and tea) provider.

Why? David’s Tea front-line employees — in store and online — are trained to know tea and be attentive to customers. Not only is product knowledge important, the soft skills are, too. Customers get personalized attention and a wealth of knowledge on hundreds of products.

5. Bonobos

Most people like to talk about what they do and how they do it. That was one of the reasons behind apparel company Bonobos’ decision to let product designers respond to customers in social media.

Sometimes when customers have a random, or generic, question about a product, the person who created it will chime in with an answer — maybe before a service pro or just as a follow-up to a thorough answer. That’s the kind of service that’s helped the small company win industry accolades.

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