Whether or not you play video games, or know anything about World of Warcraft, is irrelevant for this post. This post is going to explore what customer excellence means as well as the value in paying attention. However, I will digress a little into some WoW talk because… it’s awesome.
Last night I decided to fire up Blizzard Entertainment‘s new World of Warcraft expansion pack – Warlords of Draenor. I’ve been a long-time player of WoW and my gameplay waned slightly after Pandaria came out (sorry Blizzard!) but the new expansion pack had me REALLY excited as it’s probably one of the best story lines that they have introduced in awhile (more on that in a future post).
Okay, so I’m playing the game and I am really loving the quest lines and the adventure until I get to a specific quest where I’m building my own garrison (this is important work people!) and I finish the quest, phase (gamer talk for going from one part of the game to another) and get ready to turn my quest in but… all of the NPCs (non-player characters) have disappeared post-phase.
Given that I had a three hour queue time to get into the game (yes, seriously, this game is VERY popular and the server load is the highest right after an expansion pack gets released) I did not want to simply “restart the game” so I did a few things on my own to try to make the NPCs reappear so I could carry on with the quest line. Nothing worked.
So, I filed a ticket with Blizzard’s support team and told them the details about what had happened. What happened next, in their response e-mail to me, made me remember why I love this company and why everyone could take a page from their book.
Blizzard’s Customer Support Person May be a Better Listener than 90% of My Past Boyfriends
I received a response to my ticket the following morning, which I wholeheartedly did not expect so soon. World of Warcraft has over 7.4M subscribers so, as you can imagine, their customer support team is likely inundated with messages, particularly during the launch of a new expansion pack.
The response was perfect and here’s why:
1. It started with an apology for the time delay.
2. They listened to the preferences that I wrote out in my message, including the best e-mail address for me.
3. They joked about not being able to Tweet me, which was a perfect injection of humour and light-heartedness.
4. They related the issue back to me showing me that they were paying attention and understood it.
5. They offered a solution that was perfection for a gamer like me who understood exactly what they meant and where they were placing me (thus also weaving in the story of Warcraft).
6. They apologized again.
7. They offered additional support.
As you can see, the response that I received was on point, detailed enough to incorporate the Blizzard and World of Warcraft story and they listened to my preferences while also creating an opportunity to apologize for any delay or frustration on my part.
I left the experience feeling supported, heard and taken care of.
The Nordstrom Way: Three Principles to Customer Service Excellence
Another company that does customer service right is Nordstrom. Nordstrom has always been hailed as one of the top customer-focused companies in the world. They take customer service excellence extremely seriously. In an article on 27gen.com, three principles of customer service excellence at Nordstrom are quoted as follows:
1. View every customer interaction as a STORY OPPORTUNITY.
There are any number of stories about legendary customer service at Nordstrom’s. These “service stories” communicate more about a company’s culture and values than any single act. Train each of your employees that every customer interaction is a story opportunity, the first step in creating a legend about your company. These stories, repeated over and over, eventually become legends and serve to form the image of your company. Your team has the power to create positive legends by serving their customer in an exemplary fashion.
2. Define service from the customer’s POINT OF VIEW.
There is often a wide difference between management’s perception of exemplary performance and the customer’s viewpoint. When evaluating the quality of your product and the performance of your staff, ask your customers! No one is in a better position to judge. This means you need to continuously talk with your customers. Be proactive: ask questions right after a transaction; talk to them again in 10 months.
3. Exceed your customers’ EXPECTATIONS.
If you are meeting your customers’ expectations, you are already ahead of the game. You’ll have satisfied customers who will recommend you to their friends. But you cannot create Legends by simply meeting customers’ expectations. Legends are the result of an event that goes beyond the expected.
Blizzard incorporated all three of these customer service excellence principles into their response to me and it was perfection.
In what ways can a company exceed your expectations when it comes to customer service? What has been one of your favourite customer service experiences? Share it in the comments below.