Think about the last time you had a customer experience so good that you whispered an inaudible “Wow!” Although it’s easier to earn reverent accolades during in-person exchanges, the opportunity to harvest them from digital interactions is probable if you know your audience. Here are a few examples of companies leveraging digital to provide extraordinary service.
Delivering your favorite restaurant’s dishes directly to your door, Postmates scores points for catering to the whims of a hungry public. However, they exceed customers’ wildest dreams by not only allowing online and mobile ordering, but following up with text messages, phone calls if necessary, and follow-up surveys and opportunities to rate drivers.
Postmates is so responsive that a fan who tweeted at the brand asking for their delivery map to include his house received a response and was added to their delivery zone within 12 hours. Postmates knows that customers satisfied with digital service are 30% more likely to make referrals; in fact, I’m one of the referrals of the person whose tweet was answered.
Lesson: Communicate in your fans’ preferred format.
Implementing the findings of their internal StrengthsFinder surveys, Rackspace helps employees (or, “Rackers”) to find their Venn diagram cross-overs with the company’s culture in order to deliver on-brand service every time. They go beyond ordinary service, encouraging their team to role-play scenarios during training to instill second nature, brand appropriate responses to common and bizarre possible digital customer interactions.
Each client has a dedicated team of Rackers who will respond to requests immediately: these teams create a bank of information about each client to personalize interactions to ensure that it adds to the relationship, creating a bond that makes clients want to stay with Rackspace indefinitely. By creating a strong internal culture, Rackspace ensures their employees exude that culture to customers.
Lesson: Internal fans create external brand advocates.
Providing exceptional site functionality means shoppers aren’t thinking about navigation and lag times, but instead focus on the products themselves and the creative arrangement of them. Ikea expertly shifts attention to exactly where they want it—design: they allow customers to “see” goods in their own homes with the augmented reality app, which works both on smartphones and tablets.
Although Ikea’s “book-book” is anything but digital, its digital results are awesome: with more than 17.8 million YouTube views, their spoof of Apple’s release outranked Apple’s and Samsung’s product videos. Their anti-digital spoof resulted in more than a million social shares, 6,000 fan photos with the “book-book,” and 330 articles featuring the item (331, now). The lesson Ikea teaches is that functionality should be effortless, whether it’s a site or choosing a traditional printed catalogue because that works best for your audience.
Lesson: Provide intuitive functionality so the transaction is effortless.
Everyone marveled at Taco Bell’s new app last fall. Apeing the innovations of Starbucks’ much earlier app, Taco Bell took it much farther and allowed customers to create new menu items, order and pay, and then walk to a special line in-store to receive their dish without any hassle. Users can rotate their mobiles to the right to reorder a preexisting order, or send e-gifts. They can view nutritional information and receive special, customized offers as they order. In a daring venture, Taco Bell went offline for three days to encourage fans to download the app, posting just the words, “The new way to Taco Bell isn’t on Twitter—it’s #onlyintheapp,” which may have also been a tongue-in-cheek response to the Domino’s pizza emoji, which auto-orders a preset order via Twitter and text. In response to Taco Bell’s campaign, 300,000 fans downloaded the app in three days, and it has risen to 2.5 million.
On other fronts, Taco Bell’s leadership is wowing their core audience by appearing on sites like reddit (u/realtacobell) to answer questions, respond to feedback, and in one case, offer to buy fan art of Taco Bell hot sauce. Without being summoned, Taco Bell was able to respond to a picture of inappropriate employee conduct on an unrelated social site within hours of the post being made on September 21, 2015: they are actively sweeping all message boards for opportunities to engage with fans on a personal level. While you might not eat fast food, you have to admire Taco Bell’s commitment to customers.
Lesson: Customization is king.
Wherever there are pain points in digital transactions, there are opportunities to creatively engineer solutions, which will wow your audience and create raving fans. If you’re not sure where to begin, then take a virtual walk through your customer experience like a mystery shopper, identifying opportunities for improvement. These opportunities are the key to creating a painless experience your customers will be excited to revisit.