How a leak turned into the best customer service experience
Most of the time you don’t appreciate your water heater. That is, until it breaks.
So when Skipio strengths coach Wyn Dunford’s water heater created a pool in his basement, he immediately contacted the hardware store he bought it from nine years ago. With a 12-year warranty on it, he expected a simple replacement to occur. Instead, the hardware store put Wyn in contact with a local HVAC company.
He spoke to representatives there and they sold him on the idea of a tankless water heater. However, Wyn didn’t have a working water heater at the moment. But the HVAC company sent someone out the next day to install a temporary water heater.
While replacing the water heater, the installer offered to go to the hardware store to work on the warranty disagreement. The original water heater cost Wyn $500, and after some negotiations, the installer got him $475 off in-store credit! The installer went above and beyond just installing a temporary water heater. But the excellent service continued.
A superior customer service experience
A few days later, installers for the tankless water heater arrived at Wyn’s house. Upon meeting the installers, they handed him a contract, aka a WOW agreement. This was for the installers to sign and return to their headquarters. The contract included four clearly defined points. It stated:
- clear installation times
- that installers would have a professional appearance
- a promise the work area would be kept clean
- a clear explanation of the service and process
While Wyn wasn’t surprised that they showed up on time and left the work area clean (just like they stated so in the agreement), their determination to “wow” him was shocking.
To create loyalty in business you need to provide an exceptional experience. Not the kind that leaves your customers pleasantly surprised, but the kind so great that they can’t help but say “WOW!” aloud to themselves (or better yet, to everyone around them). The kind that has them thinking, “How did I ever live without this service before?”
Getting it done
How do you do that? Well, make it clear exactly what you’ll be doing to provide a great service. Studies have found that 89% of customers switch brands due to a bad customer experience. The majority of customer losses come about because of service-related problems, not the price of a product or service. In fact, customer experience as a loyalty factor is said to be the key brand differentiator by 2020.
Customers want to turn their purchases into an enjoyable experience. They want it to be something more than a simple transaction they pay for; there has to be some emotion involved that forms a good memory. Wyn tells everyone about his experience with that HVAC company. As a result of their customer service, he’ll definitely recommend that company to everyone who has HVAC issues.
Here are five keys to creating that “wow” factor with every customer service experience.
While service quality is very important, the speed of service still trumps all other aspects of customer service. A majority of companies fail to make fast customer service a priority. If you want to “wow” your customers, help them immediately. (That includes after hours and weekends too!) Wyn had a temporary water heater within a day or two and a brand new tankless water heater within a week. The company took no time servicing all of his needs.
If a customer issue requires several steps, never leave them hanging. Tankless water heater installation takes time and is quite complicated. The installers Wyn spoke to took the time to explain every step of the process – and told him that upfront in their agreement. Even after installation, a supervisor came out to ask about his experience.
Keep your customers in the loop throughout the process, offering updates and empathy. Reassurance and communication are powerful customer service tools.
Your customers are people with individual lives, unique situations, and very real feelings. Take notes on your customers so you can address anything that means something to them, such as important events or experiences that impacted them. This type of relationship-building effort yields trust and connection – creating lasting bonds.
Everyone loves free stuff, especially when it is thoughtful, and even more when it is unexpected. Now, you don’t have to break the bank to impress your customers. You’d be surprised the impact some free movie tickets, a Starbucks gift card, or gift basket can have.
Do people even write notes with their hands anymore? Not really, and that’s exactly why you should! It’s a surefire way to go the extra mile and show just how much you care.
A lot of times, an amazing customer service experience doesn’t need to involve crazy deals and services. Actually, most times communication and meeting expectations matter most. Be clear from the beginning what you’re hoping to do for the customer and they’re going to be wowed for sure. That’s the real key to the ultimate customer retention strategy.