Exceptional customer service is critical for building brand loyalty and unlocking business success. At our annual Gladly Connect Live, we bring together executives, visionaries, and experts in the customer service space to discuss the future of the industry, as well as tactics, customer service insights, and best practices for creating these winning customer experiences.
During last year’s conference, we had conversations with leaders from the world’s top brands about how to deliver exceptional customer service that strengthens brand loyalty and drives business impact. Here are the key customer service insights, moments of inspiration, and lessons learned.
Reinventing “Heritage of Service” for the 21st Century
How do you evolve a legendary brand like Nordstrom so it meets new customer service needs and expectations? Here’s what Jim Gallagher, the department store brand’s Vice President of Customer Care and Fraud, says made all the difference.
- Implement an inverted pyramid organizational structure. This helps you support employees from the bottom up. With the CEO sitting at the bottom and employees who engage with customers at the top, this hierarchical model reminds the whole company of their top goal: serving customers.
- See customer service as a value center, not a cost center, especially if you focus on metrics beyond revenue, such as loyalty and engagement.
- Develop a CX strategy that starts with the customer, not your digital agenda or business outcomes. This means spending time understanding what your customers want from their digital experiences and why they choose to reach out via app, chat, or phone.
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Driving Natural Sales – Shifting Away From a Cost Center
If you provide outstanding service, sales will naturally follow. At least that’s what Kate Showalter, Vice President of Customer Care and PMO at Crate and Barrel, believes. Here’s how the popular retailer evolved their customer service department to generate additional revenue from their customer care department.
- Empower associates with robust customer profiles that empower them to provide “magical service” rooted in personal experience and authentic engagement. The context Gladly provides associates with is crucial for acknowledging and showing gratitude to loyal customers — plus they never have to request an order number ever again.
- Leverage chat as a channel to reduce churn, increase sales, and boost engagement because customers benefit from immediate responses and are actively shopping while in chat. Our live chat payment feature boosts the channel’s effectiveness by reducing friction in the purchase process.
- Use customer feedback and CX data to improve the business. Sharing centralized Gladly dashboards with other teams and external partners (e.g., merchandising or distribution) that summarize what the customer is saying can help drive accountability for improvement.
Helping Customers Help Themselves
Although creating an entire customer service team in-house can maximize efficiency, the process can feel impossible. Here are the best practices for expanding self-service to alleviate the burden on customer support agents, according to Jason Faria, Vice President of Customer Experience at V Shred.
- Invest in knowledge bases for self-service support. The Gladly Sidekick, an embedded website widget that surfaces customers’ most frequently asked questions first so they don’t need to wait for an agent, is a must-have addition to any self-service strategy to expand the knowledge base.
- Leverage workforce management to ensure maximum efficiency and the highest level of service. By making sure there are no holes in any channels, verticals, or teams, companies guarantee that customers will always receive the highest level of service without wasting resources.
Fun fact: After V Shred integrated Gladly, their NPS scores rose by 30 points during the first year alone.
Meeting Customers Where They Are
Automation is one of the best ways to enable more personable service. Here’s how Framebridge combined a multi-channel approach with automation to enhance customer conversation, as told by Logan Rose, Manager of Customer Advocacy.
- Use personalized customer service to support personalized products (like frames). Gladly helps you provide personalized customer service without a corresponding spike in time and resources.
- Offer customers the ability to contact across every channel. At Framebridge, 70% of contacts are digital, 10% phone, 15% chat, and 5% text messaging and social media. Despite having so many disparate channels, thanks to a custom API integration with Gladly, customers will never have to repeat their information — all requests and conversations are synced between the shop floor, support agents, and the customer within a single task. This integration has made Frambridge 30% to 35% more productive.
Matching for Faster Resolution
For companies with real-time stakes (like airlines), customer service strategies need to be elevated to meet new customer demands. Danny Cox, Vice President of Guest Services at Breeze Airways, shared the secrets to how they keep their customers happy amid notoriously poor customer service in the airline industry.
- Prioritize guest empowerment within your customer service strategy. Support agents should follow up with encouragement and reassurance after customers use a self-service option.
- Funnel customers in the right order based on their needs using People Match. For Breeze Airways, hours until departure is a key element of People Match. Since prioritizing urgent scenarios, the company now helps customers out 70% faster.
Empowering Agents to Take Action
How do you keep your customer service agents happy and engaged? From incentives to coaching, here’s how Warby Parker empowers their customer service team, according to Lauren Forrest, Director of Customer Experience Engagement.
- Hire the right people. Problem-solvers with a passion for serving others, individuals who embrace company values, and people who can stay calm under pressure are customer service agent material.
- Find opportunities to nurture CX agents. At Warby Parker, support agents undergo ongoing training and have opportunities to participate in programming that further develops their skills. Providing clear performance metrics and employee appreciation incentives are crucial ways to drive employee satisfaction.
- Know how to measure employee engagement. Warby Parker sends out an annual anonymous employee engagement survey that measures how committed and motivated employees are and identifies areas for improvement.