5 businesses that won with customer support as their primary differentiation

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| Last Updated: June 09, 2015 |

Reading time: 6 minutes

Customer Support Primary Differentiator

Time and again, businesses are going against the grain to satisfy their customers and make them happy. Did you know that making your customer happy increases retention and can improve your profits from anywhere between 25% to 125%? Despite the obvious value of making customers happy, Harvard Business Review estimates that businesses lose about 50% of their customers every 5 years.

Achieving high customer loyalty is not an easy task. To build brand loyalty, companies need to consistently improve customer relationships and concentrate on the areas that differentiate them in their industry. For consistent growth in market share and sales, many companies are investing in customer service. Below, we’ve compiled five companies from different industries that are trailblazers in customer service.

1. Zappos

Zappos

Zappos has been a trailblazer in customer support and their success has been the subject of much discussion and emulation within business circles. Even after being bought by Amazon, the company still returns its unique customer proposition of making customers happy. Just last year, an employee spent 10 hours on the phone with a customer. Talk about making customers happy.

For Zappos, it is all about offering customers a “wow” experience right from their website up to when they receive their shoes. For starters, the company’s website is easy to use. Shoppers can find the shoes that they want quickly, the checkout process is uncomplicated and issues about shipping and returns are clearly indicated.

But more than the website, it is the products that make customers happy. The company has a variety of shoes to cater for different customer needs. Instead of spending millions in marketing, Zappos spends its budget in understanding and improving the customer experience on their website. And this is why customers have constantly ranked the company among the top companies in terms of customer support for years.

2. Buffer App

buffer

When it comes to subscription based businesses, customer satisfaction is key. The success of any subscription business depends on increasing recurring revenues and keeping churn low. And the team at Buffer App understands this.

Buffer App loves their customers. According to the co-founder Leo, the company has dubbed the customer support team as “The Happiness Team”. Customer happiness is a priority for Buffer App.

Giving the best customer support possible is at the very top of our list. It is the number one thing we want to get done every day.” Leo, Buffer App

This is incredible from a company that supports many free users in addition to its paid customers. So, why is the company putting a lot of effort in customer support when it already has thousands of free users?

According to Leo, it is all about getting the users to see how amazing Buffer App is and in turn tell their friends. “We then help them in the fastest and best way we can and they go away feeling happy and wowed telling their friends about us.” He says.

3. Nordstrom

“Use good judgment in all situations”; this is the rule that employees of Nordstrom follow when interacting with customers.

nordstrom

Perhaps one of the best examples of a company that is known for excellent customer service in the retail industry is Nordstrom. The company’s non-rigid approach on employees’ interaction with customers has led to overall great customer support that is not hindered by corporate rules and regulations.

The company follows a service oriented culture and has valuable loyalty rewards programs that provided real benefits to frequent buyers and wins them raving fans. Customers enroll in their loyalty programs and get discounts on various offers, free tailoring and early access to sales. In addition, the tiered nature of the program encourages customers to spend more to gain further benefits while enhancing brand awareness at the same time.

The loyalty program is very effective. Numbers indicate that members of Fashion Rewards Programs spend as much as three times and shop twice as often as the average customer. The great personal interaction between employees and customers wins Nordstrom many hardcore fans who are impressed with its loyalty rewards programs and customer service when compared to other clothing retailers.

4. Rackspace

rackspace

Great service can be provided across all industries, even in the volatile web hosting space where most companies tend to automate their customer support. Rackspace, a managed hosting and cloud computing company justifies its premium service with fanatical customer service.

Rackspace makes customer support personal. One of the notable and memorable customer support incidents at the company went like this: an employee was taking a customer through a troubleshooting session when she realized that the customer was getting hungry (apparently the customer told someone in the background)

As the employee tells it, “So I put them on hold, and I ordered them a pizza. About 30 minutes later we were still on the phone, and there was a knock on their door. I told them to go answer it because it was pizza! They were so excited.”

That pizza moment brought a “wow” on the customer and definitely pushed the customer’s loyalty to Rackspace up. You can also imagine the customer being told by the support employee to open the door, there is a pizza waiting for him!

This is what I call Fanatical!

5. JetBlue

jetblue

Time and again, airline companies have been ranked among the lowest when it comes to customer satisfaction (source). Can you blame them given the tough competition and the volatile industry? Having to serve customers traveling to different countries and carrying out cargo logistics, one might be forgiven to think that customer service should be the least of these companies’ worries. True, it may be for some airlines but not for jetBlue.

While other airlines are getting customers locked in on luxury options they don’t want, jetBlue is taking a different approach in making customers happy. One of the cool things they have is the mysterious “People Officer” who randomly surprises customers in airports and flights with rewards.

The takeout for businesses here is that you do not have to compete on price to be loved by your customers. Being creative and more personal in your relationship with customers can win you a client for life. Customers appreciate rewards and regardless of you industry, there is always something you can do to win a customer.

Customer service takeaway for Companies

So, what do these five companies have in common with regards to customer support? Customer Focus!

While many businesses strive to outpace their competition on product development or differentiate themselves in pricing, successful companies are focusing on customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer can generate revenues to your company for years. Moreover, given the high cost of acquiring customers, you do not want to burn your ad dollars by losing a customer you have worked so hard to get.

Author of the post

John Solomon

Marketing Leader / Sales Enabler. Head of India Operations for @Infrascale / @sosonlinebackup.

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