What distinguishes a great service or product these days? The range is wide, the design must appeal, it must meet needs and deliver value, and finally, the handling or interaction with the business should be easy. Complicated was yesterday and if organizations haven’t understood that yet, most probably they've lost the game.
Part 1: How customer service completes your journey
I've recently had a technical issue with my dryer at home. LG allowed me to book their service contractor online at a fixed price (which was nice), the technician called in before arrival (as promised - great!) and completed the repair within 45min (wonderful!). A well-thought-through and executed 'Service Journey'. Happy customer here.
I wish every service experience was as seamless as this one. But they even had one more to offer: later the same day, I've received the following eMail:
"Dear Customer, We are following up on the repair of your appliance. We hope all went well and your appliance is working properly. Sometimes repairs are not easy and the problem is not solved. So if we completed a repair for you and you experience the same problem or another, please click on the attached link and fill in your information and we get back to you ASAP".
Bang! That was unexpected. Loved it! No one likes to go back and complain, yet incomplete or bad service happens all the time. Not only once has my car dealer charged for wiper fluid during the annual check-up but the reservoir was still empty. The Wendy's drive-thru staff typically forgets something in one out of ten orders and the running shirt I ordered the other day came in the wrong size, and color and was the woman's version. My daughters had a laugh when I tried it on.
100% perfection at the first attempt sounds desirable, but it's practically impossible to achieve. Why is that? For once, there is no perfect process that fits everyone and every situation. Estimates say that any 'perfect' process can cover about 95% of all eventualities. The remaining percent must be sorted out manually. And then, of course, there is the human element. It's usually never bad intend - but occasional sloppiness, high workload, or just lack of skill get in the way of perfection. No one is 100% on top of their game all the time.
If there can never be a perfect process, re-work or rescue is not an exception but the rule. And that's why we need that great customer service to achieve even greater customer satisfaction. According to the research from the Northridge Group, 62 percent of consumers needed to make multiple contacts to resolve their most recent customer service issues. Just 46% resolved their customer service issues within an hour, and 29 percent said it was difficult contacting the business regarding their last customer service issue.
This brings us back to my initial example. The LG repair service has created a logical and functioning process, and knowing that issues will occur, have planned for that, too. Well done!
Ultimately, it's all about being 'easy to deal with'. Companies have invested in seamless, efficient, perfect processes with lots of success. It is safe to say that especially digital experiences have never been better. But even if you think you have done everything you can, there is always a next step you can make. How is your customer service embedded in your CX ecosystem?
Part 2: Convenience is key (Examples)
We've collected a few known and lesser-known examples of businesses that are standing out by making things very convenient for customers:
German grocery chain Aldi:
If a product does not scan correctly or if the price is unknown, German grocery chain Aldi allows its cashiers to make decisions on the fly and determine a price. No calling another colleague over the intercom to check the price and awkward waiting until they come back - or even worse - yell through the store.
Apple are the kings and queens of easy. A 2-year child can operate an iPad - literally. Apple also inspired the new generation of smart TV remotes. Remember when a TV remote had 50 buttons? Not anymore since Apple TV. In their stores, Apple has no cashier desks anymore. The sales person who’s with you is also your cashier. Whenever you want to see how easy something can be made for the customer, Apple often is the benchmark.
T-Mobile has invested huge amounts into their customer service. First, you can reach an actual human being much faster than the competition and when you talk to them, they have a broad range of empowerment to find a solution for you. And you typically find them in good spirits, trying to lighten up your day!
Holiday Inn lets you store your personal stay preferences in the App. It's not new and unique anymore, but they were some of the first to let you customize your experience even before checking in at the counter. Most hotel chains have caught up now - especially business travelers have high standards when it comes to convenience.
RobinHood: RobinHood is not the only online broker to offer commission-free trades, but it is one of the first to change some of the traditional industry standards. They do not require a minimum account balance, offer fractional shares, and allow you to trade options and crypto. The latter two are the big differentiators for Robinhood. On top of all that, Robinhood’s mobile app has an incredibly simple interface, which is much easier to use than those of its competitors.
Uber is another example of a business that made things incredibly easy for people and disrupted an entire industry. They made nearly every step of the 'taxicab industry' easier and more convenient. We're used to it now, but when the service became popular in the early 2010s, it was a revolution. No money changes hands, just order the car, get in, get out. Easy and frictionless. Like magic.
As easy as swiping right to like and swiping left to dislike other profiles, Tinder has paved the way for online dating, making the way we find love extremely easy and convenient. With a few photos, a short bio, and a list of interests- profiles are concise which makes it even easier to essentially "speed date" from wherever you are. It's not for everyone, but about 75 million people use Tinder every month.
JustEat in Switzerland is beating UberEATS to the punch. JustEat has the most convenient interface and they only show you what's open and available. They remember your preferences and they even deliver to the 4th floor in a condominium - which UberEATS does not.