Like most things in life, customer support is better when there is a strategy behind it. Without a game plan for how to approach disgruntled customers, your brand will fall flat. And when you’re selling products and services online, your online reputation is all you have. Just one bad customer service can sting. Up to 80% of people say that they won’t purchase from a brand that has negative reviews online.
But it can be hard to know what kind of strategy will work best for your company (or where to even begin). If your customer support strategy needs an edge, but you’re not sure where to start, look no further than the strategies used by these five brands.
1. Nordstrom Offers a Personal Touch
Nordstrom is an upscale fashion store created in 1901. Today, the company has more than 370 stores across the United States and Canada, as well as an online presence. They must be doing something right when it comes to customer service if they’ve stuck around for over 100 years. Nordstrom’s website is living proof that they are committed to giving customers the help they need when they need it.
They have “stylists” on hand to help users with almost any shopping problem, including designer stylists, beauty stylists, wedding stylists, and online personal stylists. Their “About Nordstrom” page reads:
“Free shipping and free returns, mobile shopping, and exciting new retail partnerships offer us continued opportunities to serve more customers in more ways with a fresh, relevant shopping experience and inspiring style. Fashion changes. Shopping changes. Our commitment to happy customers doesn’t.”
Their dedication to customer service doesn’t stop there. They offer 24/7 live chat, email, phone, and social support. On Twitter, the company has been known to help customers out with issues that they didn’t cause, like delivery issues caused by the postal service.
And in the past, they have even helped a customer find a missing diamond from her engagement ring that was lost and sucked into a vacuum cleaner. Nordstrom employees commonly walk customers over to items rather than pointing to them, which is a personal touch that’s hard to find these days.
2. StudioPress Uses Self-service Tools
StudioPress, a WordPress site building tool, knows when to let customers serve themselves thereby freeing up agents to help with more difficult issues. Not every customer service question has to get solved with the help of a customer support agent, and StudioPress knows it. They offer a huge collection of content about their software that users can use to tackle their issues, including blog posts and detailed tutorials.
And customers prefer to solve problems this way. Research shows that up to 91% of customers say they would use self-service tools if they were available. This way, customers can handle support situations on their own terms and time, all without ever having to deal with an agent.
But self-service content isn’t just helpful for your customers. It can be an excellent resource for agents to refer back to when answering questions. You can even create self-service content (like knowledge base articles) to integrate with AI features like bots, which will play a huge role in the future of customer service.
3. Swanson has Swift Response Times
Swanson is an online health products brand founded in 1969 as a mail-order company. They were even ranked as one of the top 25 companies with the greatest customer service back in 2015 against mega brands like Coach and Apple. On their site, their customer service section makes it easy to find help for returns, shipping, or general inquiries.
And the company makes it possible to submit a question even when live chat representatives aren’t online.
Returns are on them, and response times are much faster than the average brand. According to Entrepreneur, response times on emails to Swanson are between six and 12 hours, while phone calls have a response time of a whopping one and a half to two minutes. Swanson’s commitment to swift customer support is part of what has kept them in business for almost 50 years.
Similarly, you can keep track of your support team’s average response times with Freshdesk customer support software to evaluate whether or not you’re responding to customers fast enough.
4. Zappos Goes Above and Beyond
Online shoe and clothing store Zappos is best known for having amazing customer service. Even their Twitter bio says so:
The stories about Zappos’ customer service successes are almost unrivaled. Back in 2011, a Zappos customer forgot to pack her favorite pair of shoes on a trip. Once she arrived, she tried to get on the Zappos site to order more to her location, but they were sold out. The customer contacted Zappos customer service and an employee located the same shoes at a competing store in the customer’s location. The company purchased them and hand-delivered them to her for free. Almost sounds unreal, right?
Not for Zappos. They deliver that same level of service across every channel, including live chat, social, email, and phone support. The best part? All of those channels are available for customers 24/7.
The brand offers extraordinary service across multiple channels, which is a must for any brand looking to set themselves apart from the others. And it’s likely that they have some internal omnichannel method for keeping track of customers without losing information about their tickets.
Offer service across as many channels as you can. Then, integrate them all so that your customers can experience smoother, hassle free customer support across all channels.
5. Casper Replies to People Who Don’t Tag their Brand
When you think of Casper, you might think of yet another mattress company. But they’re actually killing the customer service game because they reply to people who aren’t tagging their brand across the web.
Every disgruntled customer isn’t going to @mention you online. And Casper knows that. Most brands search their company name to share good feedback, but very few searches it to find people who aren’t satisfied. To do this, the company is likely tracking several keywords and hashtags to help them monitor this activity.
This is a brilliant strategy that every company should use. That way, you can respond to issues that you can’t blatantly see before they blow up across the web. You can add a customized Twitter stream to your feed with Freshdesk so that you can catch and respond to the posts that most brands miss.
Without a strategy, your company’s customer support game could be falling flat. This is especially dangerous if you rely on online sales since your online reputation can make or break you. But it can be tough to come up with a strategy that will benefit your brand best.
Strong, unique customer support strategies have taken these brands far. Build a customer support strategy that is specific to your brand. Stay committed to it and evolve your strategy as you grow, and you could see the same success as the companies on this list.