3 Customer Experience Lessons from Brands Who Show They Truly Care
October 8, 20156 min read
There are a million and one ways to measure the success of your brand’s marketing. Sometimes, you might feel like you’re drowning in metrics. But what really matters – what should be the driving force behind everything you do – is how well you build relationship capital with your customers.
Says Ekaterina Walter:
“…what consumers truly want the most from brands is to know that they, consumers, matter. And the only way to do that is through consistently delivering amazing experiences. If brands are not able to deliver those, they have zero chance to retain their customers (and we all know how much more expensive it is to attract a new customer vs. retaining the current one).”
Given how much content is vying for people’s attention at any given time, personalized, genuine campaigns – and marketing that puts the customer at the center – are much more likely to grab a consumer’s attention.
What does this kind of marketing look like? Here are three ways to show customers your brand truly cares.
1. Give Without Asking for Anything in Return
In his talk at INBOUND 2015, Peter Shankman, author of Zombie Loyalists, asked the audience: “How can you help your audience without wanting anything in return?”
KLM Airlines understands the importance of adding value to its customers’ daily lives, and the brand amped up their social strategy with their #HappyToHelp campaign last year. During one week in October, they used social listening to understand travelers’ needs. They didn’t just help passengers flying with KLM – they helped any passenger, flying on any airline.
A customer stuck in New York City traffic was ferried across the Hudson on a speed-boat in order to make his flight on time. Customers stranded in the airport were given countless cups of coffee, and people were contacted on social media to return items left on the plane.
As a play on their lost-and-found efforts, KLM released the following video, which gained 12 million views in three weeks, and now has over 20 million views.
Other related campaigns included Meet & Seat, where passengers could choose their neighbors by checking out LinkedIn profiles, and KLM Surprise, which gave random surprises to people who were checked in and waiting for their flights.
KLM put consumers at the center of their marketing and customer service without asking for anything in return, demonstrating that the brand truly cares about people (not just its bottom line).
2. Thank Your Customers
Toronto Dominion Bank pulled out all of the stops in July of 2014 to thank their customers for their loyalty with a marketing campaign rightly named, “TD Thanks You.” Green envelopes with $20 bills inside were given to every single customer at TD’s more than 1,000 branches. In total, over 3,000 customers were surprised and thanked.
“Automatic Thanking Machines” were set up at four locations to distributed surprise gifts to long-time customers who local tellers thought would appreciate the kindness, and who deserved some extra recognition. Some customers were given a little extra cash, but others were given extremely personalized gifts – including plane tickets to visit a sick loved one, trips to Disney for their kids, and throwing the first pitch at a BlueJays game.
“We wanted to say thank you to our customers in a way that we felt was unique and distinctive, and that actually gave back to our customers,” said Chris Stamper, SVP Corporate Marketing at TD Canada Trust in Marketing Mag.
Another great example comes from Honda, which showed customers how much they appreciate them through a few bold gestures.
In 2011, Honda reached 1,000,000 fans on Facebook and decided to thank them with their “Honda Loves You Back” campaign. A customer named Chris once mowed his lawn to show off his Honda pride – so Honda returned the favor. A child with an “I <3 My Honda” shirt was thanked by the Honda staff, who made and wore “I <3 Luke” shirts, and the Sales Territory Manager shaved a passionate customer’s name into his head.
Showing your customers how much they’re appreciated doesn’t have to be an expensive or fancy endeavor, but it can be a way to use your creative side to display your love for the people that make your brand possible.
3. Improve Your Response Time
Having the perfect solution to your customers’ complaints doesn’t matter if, by the time you respond, they’ve already switched service providers – and told their social network about their bad experience with your brand.
Social media has given customers more power than ever, and they expect their complaints to be addressed in real time.
But brands are having a tough time keeping up. Last year, user engagement, specifically messages that required a response or attention, grew nine times faster than before. Simultaneously, average brand response rates dipped below 20% in most industries. Response time was more than 11 hours. A lot can happen in 11 hours!
When it comes to engaging on social media, brands need to be as fast as their customers.
After taking to X, formerly Twitter to express sadness that her vacation was ending, Lindsay Kolowich received an empathetic, cheerful response from JetBlue. The response was tweeted out within ten minutes of Lindsay’s post, while her feelings were likely still top of mind.
— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) July 19, 2014
JetBlue is known for going above and beyond for their customers (see their welcome home parade). As a result, they continue to establish themselves as a brand that truly cares about its customers’ well-being.
A quick response time doesn’t mean that engagement should be cut short or feel hasty. Zappos is famous for setting records for the longest customer support calls ever. They boast 10-hour, 8-hour, and 6-hour calls during which reps chat with customers about everything from shoes to what it’s like to live in Las Vegas. The online retailer wants their customers to know that they truly care, and that they will spend however long is necessary to make people happy.
Here’s what each of these examples has in common: they stem from using online data to better understand the customer. People now leave a trail of actionable data every time they go online; all companies have to do is listen. In fact, showing customers how much you care has never been easier. Social gives brands the ability to respond in real-time, reveal a more human side, learn from customer feedback, and prove to customers that their needs matter.