Customers are the backbone of every business, but every day we hear about people who believe they have been mistreated or pushed around by companies, sometimes even their favorite brands. On the bright side, you also hear stories about companies that have gone above and beyond to give a customer an amazing experience. I decided to take a look at two recent, notable customer service “wins and fails” to see what brands are doing right and wrong when it comes to delighting customers.
We all hate those trendy restaurants that don’t take reservations, and always seem to have hour-long waits – even on weekdays. Robb Myer, a Pittsburgh native, recently came up with the idea for a consumer-facing app called NoWait that allows diners to look up the next available open table at a restaurant and add their name to the waiting list before they physically need to be there. Restaurant giants including Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s and First Watch all subscribe to NoWait to make their diners’ experience more convenient and stress-free. While NoWait sounds similar to Open Table, the service is free for most restaurants and costs from $59 to $199 a month for the busiest restaurants.
What did we learn?
Smart devices have created a generation of hyper-connected, empowered consumers who are used to making their own rules and interacting with brands on their own terms. Finding a way to become the intermediary between restaurant and consumer, from a customer service perspective, this app brings both every day technology and innovation to the dining experience. For the companies who have been slow to respond to shifts in the customer-company relationship, where consumers want quick and seamless service via the devices and channels they already use, the growing trend of restaurants subscribing to NoWait is a positive sign that more food brands are realizing the importance of giving consumers back control.
Virgin Airlines has always been known as the “trendy” airline, and the brand certainly lived up to that image with this initiative. Virgin Atlantic recently announced a six-week Google Glass trial that has been immensely popular among customers. The airline uses the Google Glass technology to check in passengers, update their itineraries, supply them with weather forecasts of their destination, inform them of dietary restrictions and even help them translate phrases in different languages for international customers. Though this technology is only being used on Virgin’s first class lounge on international flights, this is still a great example of how Virgin has taken the customer experience to a whole new level by creating a truly unique, personalized and innovative experience for every passenger.
What did we learn?
Virgin took early advantage of a new, sought-after product, demonstrating the company’s ability to not only be ahead of the curve technologically, but also to be predictive and proactive in the most innovative of ways in addressing its customers flying needs. As technology and thus consumer expectations evolve, so does the customer experience and Virgin is doing just that.
To sum it up
Looking back on the customer service stories we have seen over the past month, it’s clear that technology is driving the customer service revolution. New technologies are enabling companies to make the customer experience smarter and more personalized, which customers clearly appreciate. With smarter technology, it’s that much more important to have a proactive outreach strategy. Customers continue to expect more from brands, and companies will only keep pace with the rapid evolution of technology by being one step ahead of consumer needs and concerns. Have you had an amazing customer service experience recently that was driven by smarter technology and proactive outreach?
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