In our customer service workshops, we do an exercise in which we ask participants what their favorite companies are to do business with and why. We almost always get Amazon as an answer. One of its success traits is communication. When a customer places an order, he or she is immediately notified by email. Another email is sent once the order ships with tracking information. And another is sent to inform the customer the package has arrived. Frequent communication is one of the reasons customers have so much confidence in Amazon.
One of our clients sells to businesses (B2B). When one of the employees shared that Amazon was his favorite company and mentioned the emails, an executive raised his hand and said that this doesn’t apply, as they were in the manufacturing business, not retail. On the contrary! Communication is not limited to B2C companies and brands.
Kevin Paige, one of our subscribers, owns a tobacco store and placed an order with International Plastics, Inc. He was so impressed with their communication that he shared it with us. The short letter contained the following:
“Thank you for your order! Attached is your confirmation. At International Plastics, Inc., we greatly appreciate your business. For questions, please contact me at extension 114 or call our customer service team at 800-820-4722.” Lynn Skupien, senior sales rep, signed it and included her direct phone number and email.
But there’s more. On Monday morning, Lynn called and left a voice mail to inform us that the item had shipped and when to expect delivery. In Kevin’s words, “What a heads up and FANTASTIC customer service experience. They told me who I could reach out to if my expectations were not met and adjusted my expectations by sharing when my delivery should be. I’m giddy!”
There are several important lessons and reminders here:
- You don’t have to be Amazon to have amazing communication.
- There was plenty of communication: First to confirm the order, second to inform of the shipping, and third to establish a delivery expectation.
- There was ownership. This wasn’t a faceless corporate email. The email included a person and phone number, just in case, there was a problem or question.
Kevin wrote to me, “I’m giddy!” That’s a great word, giddy, and I can understand why. He feels a stronger connection to his supplier for the communication reasons above, as well as for a connection to someone “on the inside.” Kevin now has a go-to person if there are any issues.
Find ways to communicate – even over-communicate – with your customers. It creates confidence and credibility and gives the customer a sense of control.