Everyone understands good customer service is an important factor in the success of a company. After all, the saying, “The customer is always right” had to come from somewhere.
And today, with so many options available to them, customers expect to receive a certain level of service. If they don’t get it, they simply shop elsewhere. We are no longer limited to the shops located within a certain distance of our homes.
With the advent of social media, and the ease at which people can complain about everything from the weather to their pizza delivery that took way too long, our displeasure with a company doesn’t take long to make the rounds among our family, friends, and total strangers. Most companies get it. Do whatever it takes to make – and keep – your customers happy, or risk an onslaught of backlash from the Twitter-sphere. Luckily, for consumers, good customer service is the quality standard.
But that’s where most businesses stop. And that’s a big problem.
Because good customer service is expected; it’s the minimum standard required to satisfy a customer. If you want to turn them (and their friends, and anyone who watches their Instagram Stories) into a loyal, returning customer, you have to do the unexpected and go above and beyond.
Take this American Airlines example.
Alan Silberberg (Founder, CEO Digijaks, Co-Founder Dalai VC.) was travelling with his 3 sons on a flight from Philadelphia to Chicago that, due to unforeseen circumstances (a fire at the Chicago airport control tower) was delayed. Sitting on the tarmac with three kids and the prospect of a missed connection, Silberberg tweeted the airline.
“Waiting on ground in a plane on runway while traveling w little kids is interesting to say least. @Americanair staff being extra cool tho.”
Even though Silberberg’s message wasn’t directly asking for help with the situation, or a complaint (in fact, he was already pleased and praising the staff), American Airlines responded, ready to provide an update on his situation. And when he mentioned he was concerned about reaching his connecting flight in Chicago, they provided him with his connecting gate information (he would be landing at K9 and departing from K6) and said they would reach out to the airport to see if there was anything that could be done.
Imagine the relief when Silberberg and kids arrived in Chicago only to discover American Airlines had held the plane for them. When they arrived at the gate, the agent reportedly said, “The Silberbergs have arrived. We have been waiting for you.”
American Airlines could have ignored his tweet – no harm, no foul. They had crew on the plane already doing a great job, according to Silberberg himself. Instead, they provided extra value by finding out arriving and departing gates – and then went above and beyond by holding the connecting plane.
I would bet a plane ticket that Silberberg flew American Airlines whenever possible after that trip.