Small, But Mighty: How 5 Companies Won By Prioritizing Great Service
If you think your small company can’t compete against the big players, you may be overlooking a crucial component that could help you win big. Outstanding customer service can create loyal, repeat customers that enthusiastically spread the word about your business.
According to research compiled from Groove HQ, happy customers tell an average of 9 friends about their experience. Meanwhile, Marketing Metrics reports the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%, while selling to a new prospect is a paltry 5% to 20%. So it seems obvious that the profitable combination is to make your current customers happy, and let them sing your praises.
How to stand out for exemplary customer service is a little trickier. We hear a lot about differentiating our business models and innovating our products to compete, but it’s time to take a look at applying the same principles to customer service. Take a step back to evaluate your current customer service techniques and work towards innovating your approach. Start by getting inspired by these small but mighty companies that won by prioritizing great customer service.
Firmoo quietly built a name for itself as an underdog competitor in the competitive world of optical ecommerce. They offer low prices, ongoing sales, a wide selection and great quality eyeglasses like many of their big-name competitors do. Firmoo also makes it easy to pick out fashion-forward frames that suit your face to save you time and money at the eye doctor’s office. Other competitors in the online marketplace, like Frames Direct, offer similar products and services on a bigger scale.
But Firmoo really makes a big splash with their responsive customer service and thriving social media base on Facebook. Firmoo regularly posts sales, updates and handles customer service right from their Facebook page. Customers can ask questions and resolve issues through their Facebook messaging app, or order directly from a button on Firmoo’s Facebook page. To date, over 576,000 Facebook fans love Firmoo’s service, and can leave a review about what they liked and didn’t like.
But it looks like their customers are mostly just leaving sparkling reviews and strengthening Firmoo’s social proof.
Image: Firmoo Facebook Page
College dropout Aaron Levie launched Box as a way for people to safely store and access their online files and data in the cloud. Although Box has scaled its way to success and in 2015 was worth $2.1 billion, it faces slower growth than its rivals like Amazon, Dropbox and Google Drive.
To stay ahead of the curve, Box focuses on their customers’ success and user experience. Box also works hard to create a culture of passion around their customers by focusing on giving them a real voice in their day-to-day to help shape the company. The entire Box team gets on board with evaluating and implementing necessary changes based on customer feedback.
Instead of just sending out surveys and compiling data from customer service calls and emails, Box gets up close and personal with their clients and invites them to their office to talk. Jon Herstein, the Senior Vice President of Customer Success told Zendesk, “We have our customers come in, stand in front of the company, and tell us what they like and don’t like. In the room you’ve got the engineers, the product managers, everyone hearing directly from a customer. The more we can do that—and remind people that this is what it’s actually about—the better off we are as a company.”
Munchery took the on-demand food and delivery model and turned it on its head by choosing top-notch local chefs to head up its ever-changing menu. Orders can be placed for same-day delivery, or scheduled ahead to just heat up and eat.
There are plenty of other food kit businesses in the marketplace, like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, that offer a similar product. That’s why Munchery relies on improving their customer service experience as much as their delicious food and curated menus to grow their success. “Our goal is to go above and beyond, so that ultimately we can turn someone from a frustrated customer into an evangelist,” says Conrad Chu, CTO and Co-founder of Munchery in an interview with Salesforce.
Munchery continuously looks for opportunities to turn unhappy customers into loyal advocates. The company uses tools like Desk.com to help resolve customer service issues and track the activity from start to finish. According to Salesforce, Munchery resolves 330 customer service cases every single day, and shares the feedback with chefs and delivery personnel to help optimize the entire operations process. This keeps happy customers coming back, and unhappy customers nurtured to give the service another try.
You would be hard-pressed to count the number of burrito joints around the world. Yet Boloco managed to revolutionize the burrito experience with a mission “to better the lives and futures of our people. We use ridiculously delicious burritos to do it.” Dig a little deeper, and what Boloco is really doing is offering a variety of burritos that go beyond standard fare at a food truck or hole-in-the wall burrito joint. Boloco also borrows from global culinary traditions to infuse bold and enticing flavors in their burritos to give their otherwise-oversaturated product a boost.
Boloco works to create an engaging and cohesive customer service experience that impresses customers right as they’re ordering. John Pepper, Boloco founder & CEO says, “It just wows our customers when multiple people can be working – tag teaming – on an issue for one customer. The customer gets that. They feel it immediately. You might have me chiming in, and then you have the executive chef saying something, but we all see it, and so it’s a flowing discussion, but multiple people can take part, which is great.”
Boloco takes their proactive approach to customer service online – as well as off – and streamlines the experience to ensure personalized attention and an above-and-beyond mentality. For example, Metis Communications took to Twitter to report a team member had an issue with Door Dash delivering the wrong burrito from Boloco twice. Door Dash responded, but failed to follow up and let Metis know what was going on or how it would be resolved.
Image: Metis Communications
CEO Pepper hopped on Twitter and invited the team to DM him directly to follow up, assured it would be sorted out, and that he would monitor the situation until it was resolved. The correct burrito was delivered, and the entire team also got a free lunch the following week. It’s hard to be an unhappy customer with that many tasty burritos flooding the office.
Image: Metis Communications
5. Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s is a big-name retailer in its own right, but can’t compete with publicly traded companies like Wal-Mart, Target and Whole Foods that also sell groceries. The privately-owned grocery retailer simply doesn’t try to keep up with their big-box counterparts, and instead focuses on offering an exceptional customer service experience and quality products.
Image: Trader Joe’s
There doesn’t seem to be an official customer service policy for Trader Joe’s that the public can follow along with. Instead, it seems more likely the company empowers its employees to make the best decisions for its customers and go above and beyond as needed.
Stories of customers receiving free flowers just to brighten their day are common. So are tear-jerker customer service stories. For example, a woman was worried her 89-year-old father would be snowed in during an upcoming storm in Pennsylvania and couldn’t find a store that would deliver. Trader Joe’s also said they didn’t deliver – usually – but made an exception, recommended additional items that would fit her father’s diet, and delivered it all for free. It’s no wonder studies have found Trader Joe’s customers are the most satisfied in America.
Gather inspiration from these five success stories of small companies crushing it with customer service. Brainstorm how you can apply similar techniques, from giving your customers a voice that helps shape your business, to going above and beyond to do the right thing for someone in need. The more you start really listening to what your customers want and need, the more likely you are to join the ranks of other small businesses that won big.
What is your favorite company for amazing customer service? Let us know by leaving a comment below: