What Good Customer Service Looks Like [+Examples]

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Sophia Bernazzani Barron
Sophia Bernazzani Barron

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One bad customer service experience can indefinitely tarnish customers’ opinions of a product or brand. But consistently good customer service, on the other hand, can turn them into loyal brand advocates.

woman excited to give good customer service

Customers will do a lot for brands they’re loyal to: Data shows that 72% of global customers feel loyalty toward at least one brand or company. Additionally, the average American consumer belongs to 16.7 customer loyalty programs. So, how can brands earn the loyalty of customers?

To answer this question, we’ve curated a list of B2B and B2C brands established as industry leaders that deliver exceptional customer service. But, before diving into those examples, we need to set a baseline for “good” customer service.

Table of Contents

“For complex problems, good customer service looks like active listening and even discovery questions like, ‘What troubleshooting have you already done for this?’ [It also looks like] repeating back the problem statement to the customer before offering a solution so that we are both on the same page,” says Caleb King, senior inbound consultant at HubSpot.

In addition to the ones listed above, let’s break down the six most common characteristics of good customer service teams.

good customer service, customer support skills

1. Rapid Response Times

Customers are always looking for fast solutions. In fact, 66% of adults say that the most important thing a company can do is value their time. Your team must focus on efficiency and develop a workflow that streamlines different support functions. Consider adopting a help desk tool to manage and automate various service tasks.

2. Customer Feedback Collection and Analysis

Although customer service needs vary depending on the type of business you’re running, the best customer service teams use feedback collection tools to identify the specific needs of their customer base and create personalized solutions for them.

Rather than assuming you know what your customers want, reach out to them through surveys and interviews to get their perspective on your business. These tools will help your team uncover new opportunities to enhance your products and improve the customer experience.

3. Customer Self-Service

When your customers want to find their solutions to service problems, they should use self-service resources provided by your business. For example, one of the most common self-service resources is a knowledge base.

Knowledge bases consist of categorized support articles and FAQ pages that supply customers with solutions to common user roadblocks. With more customers wanting to solve problems independently, self-service tools like these are assets when providing high-quality customer service.

4. Omni-Channel Support

It should be easy for customers to contact your support team, regardless of the medium they’re using. Your team should be equipped to respond to incoming service requests via phone, email, social media, live chat, and any other communication channel that your customers prefer. Providing this omnichannel experience makes your team more accessible and creates less stressful service interactions.

5. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to your ability to read and react to other people’s emotions. This skill is precious in customer service roles because it helps diffuse difficult customer interactions. Every business experiences a frustrated or upset customer, but the best service teams can de-escalate the situation and prevent potential churn. Avoidable churn represents $35.3 billion.

6. Creative Problem Solving

At the end of the day, the best customer service teams solve their customers’ problems. They’re tenacious and determined to help their customers achieve their goals. This often requires agents to be creative and develop unique solutions to customer issues. As you’ll see in the examples below, sometimes excellent customer service means finding a solution that falls outside of normal company protocol.

Benefits of Good Customer Service

Research from Zendesk found that 60% of business leaders say that high-quality customer service improves customer retention, and Salesforce reported that 94% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience.

Moreover, Outbound Engine found that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.

Happy customers are crucial to your business. They're on their way to brand loyalty if the positive customer service experiences continue.

On the flip side, a bad customer experience will tarnish any goodwill that your business and brand have built for those customers, and you run the risk that they might tell even more people about it than a good customer experience.

 

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    How to Provide Great Customer Service

    1. Put customer needs first.

    A customer-first strategy means your team is committed to finding solutions and providing high customer service. When a clear answer isn’t available, the customer service team will go beyond to help customers achieve goals. And, if there's no way to solve the customer’s problem, your team relays the feedback to work towards a long-term solution.

    2. Understand the customer’s goals.

    Start with relaying input to management. If the case needs escalation, follow procedures for escalation management. If the problem isn’t severe enough, record the issue and forward the information to whoever would benefit most. As you continue this process, you’ll see trends forming to help you adjust your support strategy positively.

    3. Show genuine interest and enthusiasm.

    A delightful customer experience usually starts with an enthusiastic greeting. Reps should outwardly show interest in each customer’s problem and express an optimistic attitude toward finding a solution. Keep a level head and pay attention to your tone and body language. If in person, look the customer in the eye and smile; smiling will help portray a cheerful demeanor. If you’re on the phone, focus on a cheerful tone of voice.

    4. Prioritize quality over quantity.

    During holidays or product launches, there might be a customer service surge of support cases. It can be tempting to solve many instances instead of thoroughly working through each issue. Reps should focus on customer delight rather than speed and efficiency. It’s necessary to create positive interactions; it’s management’s job to find solutions that improve productivity, whether adopting customer service technology or rethinking internal support strategies.

    5. Provide omnichannel support options.

    The use of smartphones in our lives means customers can interact with brands almost anywhere, anyhow. Customers expect an immediate response whenever they contact you. Whether this means providing support through various communication mediums or having self-service options, your business should make your customer service team accessible.

    Your support channels must also be connected so customers can freely transition between mediums without restarting the service process. This omnichannel experience makes it easier to provide effective customer support and meet your customers where they are.

    7. Solve for long-term solutions to continue long-term support.

    Be sure to advocate for long-term solutions over short-term conveniences. Show your customers that you’re interested in solving the problem in front of you and concerned with their overall success. Some cases call for a short-term solution as it’s the best option.

    However, it’s essential to ensure that short-term solutions don’t become long-term as your reps continue working on other cases. When a long-term solution becomes available, your team should return to those cases and notify customers about the update. This level of personalized support shows a genuine commitment to customer success.

    8. Learn from feedback.

    Some customer interactions will be filled with friction as customers openly provide feedback about your company. In these scenarios, it’s essential to maintain a professional demeanor and learn from your customers. Consider the feedback an opportunity to use to improve your customer service offer and your company.

    Start with relaying input to management. If the case needs escalation, follow procedures for escalation management. If the problem isn’t severe enough, record the issue and forward the information to whoever would benefit most. As you continue this process, you’ll see trends forming to help you adjust your support strategy positively.

    The Principles of Great Customer Service

    1. Be responsive to customers.

    When we ran a survey looking at what was most important for customers, being responsive to customers surfaced as the number one customer service standard that 61% of consumers value the most. Being responsive means more than just responding to every customer inquiry. After responding quickly to their initial contact, you also want to follow that up with a speedy and thorough resolution to their request.

    Most consumers expect a response from customer service in 5 minutes or less. Ensure you have an excellent first-touch customer response strategy — whether through automation or live agents — to let your customers know you received their inquiry and are working on it.

    2. Be accountable to customers.

    Of consumers, 60% rank the standard of accountability as an essential standard for businesses to uphold. The first step toward fixing a mistake is acknowledging it exists. And taking responsibility shows the customer that you care more about the resolution than getting caught up in assigning blame.

    Consider developing a set of canned responses your reps can use when things don’t go as planned. Something like “We recognize that we made a mistake and want to make it right” goes a long way.

    3. Be outstanding to customers.

    Of consumers, 59% say it’s essential for you to go above and beyond. When customers raise an issue, they want to feel like you’re doing everything possible to resolve it. And if you can’t fix it, you escalate it to someone who can help. This makes customers believe that you’re invested in their business.

    The only thing better than meeting customer expectations is exceeding them. Each customer is different, so give your support reps the flexibility to determine what this means for each interaction.

    4. Be available to customers.

    Of consumers, 55% agree that being there when customers need your help is essential. Customers must know your hours of operation and when your customer service team is online. And it’s even more important to be as responsive as possible during that time window.

    Use automation to ensure you’re giving your customers a response even if your reps are offline. Automated email replies, chat responses, and phone messages are great ways to remind people when they can expect to hear back from you.

    5. Be positive to customers.

    Of consumers, 54% expect positive customer service interactions with friendly agents. Kindness wins every time. And no matter how difficult the conversation may seem, try not to take it too personally if a customer is upset. Because behind the frustration, it’s usually just a customer trying to succeed with your product or service.

    Good Customer Service Examples

    1. ClusterTruck

    good customer service example from ClusterTruck

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    The customer service at ClusterTruck is so seamless that you may not know whether you’re troubleshooting with the customer service team or the marketing team — a telltale sign of superior omnichannel support.

    CluterTruck sends regular emails to the ClusterTruck customers. In one of the emails, a HubSpotter noticed she could get a really good deal on her next order, but during the pandemic, she couldn’t receive delivery in the area where she lived.

    The customer service team sprung into action, offering her a long list of exact locations where she could pick up her order that were as close as possible to her address without leaving the ClusterTruck delivery range.

    Another customer service rep chimed in with a map that starred the locations for a visual representation of where she could pick up her lunch.

    The Takeaway

    That marketing email served as a beautiful example of how a team could engage the customers and delight them, too. ClusterTruck put the flywheel in motion, starting by attracting the customer to an offer, engaging them when they had a question, and delighting them with a solution.

    As a result, the customer sent the email with all of the helpful information to her network, who were fans of ClusterTruck but had the same issue. Now, that’s brand loyalty in action.

    2. OhLolly

    good customer service example from Ohlolly

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    Korean beauty brand OhLolly has made waves in the LA beauty community due to its dedication to the customer. The owners describe their business as “a place where customers were treated like friends.” Customer service is at the forefront of OhLolly’s business operations.

    To make the customer experience more personalized, they’ve started requesting feedback on the brands they offer. This helps the team curate the perfect selection of beauty solutions for their customers. OhLolly even goes the extra mile to share updates when they restock a beloved brand or add new products to their collection.

    The Takeaway

    This example shows us that a simple gesture to show our customers that we are actively listening to what they tell us can grow brand loyalty far beyond our initial interaction with them. Depending on the size of your business, your team can recreate this interaction fairly easily. When you bring on a new product or service, search your customer service inbox for mentions of it.

    Then, follow up with customers who made the request and let them know it’s available. If your company is too large to do this manually, you can export a list of email addresses and upload them into your email marketing system to notify them that way. Either way, the outreach is well worth the reward.

    3. AdRollgood customer service example from AdRoll

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    AdRoll helps B2C marketers reach and resonate with their audience by centralizing their marketing and advertising activities in one platform. By looking for data less, marketers who use AdRoll spend more time doing the work that makes the data. We’ve mentioned before that self-service support is one of the tenets of good customer service.

    AdRoll’s robust help center begins the user’s customer service experience with four options: an intro to AdRoll, setting up your AdRoll account, FAQs, and an option to browse by topic. If none of these get you precisely what you’re looking for, there’s a search bar at the top.

    Of course, if all those options still leave you lacking, their customer support team is available to help answer your questions.

    One customer wrote a review about AdRoll on G2 and said this: “The retargeting has helped generate a consistent conversion rate over the last six months, and their customer service is helpful and super efficient.”

    The Takeaway

    Your customer service team doesn’t have to provide round-the-clock live support to be a champion of the customer experience.

    AdRoll gives us an ideal example of “work smarter, not harder” when solving customer pain points. With a self-service solution that is easy to navigate, your customers will be just as happy that you saved them a phone call and gave them a tool to find a solution instead.

    4. Santa Cruz Bicycles

    good customer service example from Santa Cruz Bicycles

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    Santa Cruz Bicycles manufactures and sells high-quality off-road bicycles. Its bikes are known for their high performance, and its customers deeply care about the technology that they’re riding. But the bike’s performance isn’t the only feature that Santa Cruz customers love.

    They’re loyal to the company because its service and support teams match the quality of its products. Customers can trust that any problem they have with a bike will be solved swiftly and with excellent service.

    In an interview with HubSpot, Kyle Harder, Santa Cruz Rider support lead noted, “What sets us apart as a company is that we want to deal with anyone that owns our product, regardless of where you bought it. If you have an issue with a Santa Cruz Bike and come to us with your issue, we’ll help you resolve your issue.”

    And, Harder wasn’t just talking about problems with the bike. The company is also focused on removing long-term roadblocks from the customer experience.

    For example, when the business first started out, it experienced sudden growth. Customers loved the bicycles, and the demand for the product rose beyond what Santa Cruz’s service team could support. Agents were working tirelessly, and the team’s email inbox nearly reached capacity.

    Recognizing this flaw in its service experience, Santa Cruz adopted customer service tools to aid its support team. Reps started recording data on customer issues and highlighted problems that were most common with their customer base.

    They created a shared inbox with an email alias so customers could easily contact the support team. They also created a customer feedback loop to collect and share customer reviews with the entire organization.

    The Takeaway

    When your company experiences growth, it can sometimes create unexpected problems that pop up down the road. If these issues are left unchecked, they can become a detriment to the customer experience and halt your business’s success.

    Santa Cruz recognized a potential flaw and acted immediately. They adopted customer service tools to ease the pressure on their support team while improving the customer experience. That way, reps weren’t being overworked and had the time and energy to provide excellent customer service.

    Additionally, Santa Cruz used its new tools to conduct reporting as well. This allowed the company to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction while its customer base continued to grow. Even though more customers interacted with the business, each interaction still felt genuine and personalized because of the customer data Santa Cruz had gathered.

    5. Lyft

    good customer service example from Lyft

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    Ride-hailing app Lyft succeeds in the customer service space by making its customers proud by putting its money where its mouth is toward values and causes customers truly care about. For example, Lyft announced its commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of the millions of car rides it provides every day by declaring all of its rides to be carbon neutral, thanks to its voluntary purchase of carbon offsets.

    Lyft announced the Lyft Up program, where Lyft is working to make sure everyone has access to affordable, reliable transportation to get where they need to go — no matter their age, income, zip, or postal code, through partnering with brands like Goodwill and United Way.

    Lyft also has Round Up & Donate, its program that lets customers round up the price of their rides and donate the extra change to the charitable organization of their choosing.

    Wherever you stand on these important issues, it’s undeniable that Lyft’s customers care about these topics worldwide. Lyft is doing work that’s important to its customers with initiatives like those described above.

    The Takeaway

    An important facet of customer service that can be difficult to measure is standing for the values that are important to your customers. Customers take pride in supporting businesses that represent them — and 70% want to know what businesses are doing to address these issues.

    Companies shouldn’t be afraid to serve customers in big-picture ways that make them proud to support them, which will encourage them to share and refer their friends and colleagues. Getting customers involved with and excited about fundraising and charity partnerships can go a long way toward fostering loyalty.

    45 Customer Service Scripting Templates

    45 templates to help you determine your customer service responses.

    • Live Chat Support Script Templates
    • Phone Support Script Templates
    • Social Media Support Script Templates
    • Email Support Script Templates
    Learn more

      Download Free

      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      6. Basecamp

      what is good customer service, example from Basecamp

      Image Source

      Basecamp’s success comes from its customer support team — more specifically, how the team measures success to reduce employee stress and turnover and achieve better outcomes for customers.

      Part of Basecamp’s solution to solving for the customer and reducing employee stress was creating time in the workday for research, innovation, and creativity. To that end, customer support reps spend two hours per day off the phone lines and away from the queue — and they re-dedicate that time toward other projects.

      Employees have more opportunities for company-wide impact by collecting research, analyzing data, identifying patterns and trends, and working on projects and processes to achieve better results.

      Two hours per day, or 10 hours per week, might sound like a lot, but it paid off for Basecamp. Employees weren’t burning out due to overload and stress, and Basecamp wasn’t over capacity and unable to solve customer problems because team members were happier.

      The Takeaway

      Time spent away from the queue isn’t time wasted, so dedicate time during your week to identifying patterns, analyzing data, and creating processes to work more efficiently.

      It can be hard to step away when you’re burning through tickets or on the phone non-stop all day, but front-line customer service insights and feedback can help your organization, so collect and share them.

      7. Wistia

      what is good customer service, example from Wistia

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      Our friends over at Wistia — a video hosting and analytics platform — believe in the power of video to help tell company stories. And that isn’t just restricted to marketing videos and social media content — Wistia uses videos to provide great customer service, too.

      Wistia team members create personalized how-to videos and individualized thank-you notes to help customers and demonstrate how to use different aspects of the software using a visual medium.

      It makes sense for a video hosting brand to use videos when helping customers, but it’s also helpful for the customers. As Harper, a customer happiness team member at Wistia says, “When it comes to communicating technical concepts or processes, videos are the best.”

      “Even if I can explain something clearly with words,” he says, “it’s totally different from being able to show someone how few steps it takes to get from point A to point B. Realistically, eyes will gloss over a wall of text.”

      By showing, rather than telling, customers how to troubleshoot, users can learn more effectively and remember solutions better. That beats reading an email or hopping on a phone call.

      The Takeaway

      Don’t feel restricted to phone calls to provide exceptional customer service. Instead, use technology to deliver support in the medium that makes the most sense. Screenshots, GIFs, and videos can go a long way toward explaining a tricky concept, and they don’t need to be fancy to work.

      Tools like SnagIt, Awesome Screenshot, LICEcap, QuickTime Player, and even your smartphone or webcam can be used to create helpful resources customers can refer to again and again. And, of course, if you’re a HubSpot customer, you can integrate with Wistia to create and host video using its neat software.

      8. Zola

      what is good customer service, example from Zola

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      Zola is an online wedding registry, wedding planner, and retailer. Understanding what is essential for not only their customers but for everyone, Zola advertises and fights for marriages for everyone.

      In 2022, as there was a record number of attacks lobbied at the LGBTQ+ community, Zola ran a full-page ad in The Washington Post imploring the U.S. Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act. No one could question where Zola stands on important issues, and Zola continues to advocate for marriage equality.

      what is good customer service, Zola’s marriage equality invitation

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      The Takeaway

      It’s not enough to acknowledge and respond to every piece of incoming customer feedback if you’re not listening to the overall conversations inside your industry. Be vocal about what matters to your business and your customers.

      9. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

      what is good customer service, example from the Ritz-Carlton

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      The Ritz-Carlton’s service policies are so legendary that stories of satisfied customers have even made it into books — like this one.

      In it, customer experience expert and author John DiJulius describes the story of his stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel — when he unknowingly left his laptop charger behind in his guest room. Before he even got a chance to call the office, he received a package from the hotel.

      “In it was my charger, with a note saying, ‘Mr. DiJulius, I wanted to make sure we got this to you right away. I am sure you need it, and, just in case, I sent you an extra charger for your laptop.’ The note was signed by the company’s Loss Prevention,” he recalls.

      If this customer service story sounds over-the-top good, it’s not. Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to exceptional customer service is so strong that any employee is independently authorized to spend up to $2,000 per day to improve guest experiences.

      That’s right — whether an employee works at the reception desk, in the restaurant, or cleaning hotel rooms, they can independently decide to make a guest’s experience exceptional — as was the case in the example above.

      The Takeaway

      Employee empowerment is critical to achieving good customer outcomes.

      The first step toward employee empowerment is engagement: Make customer service part of your mission and your mission a part of everything your organization does. Then, structure and incentivize your team so employees can work independently to solve customer problems and think creatively.

      And if you don’t have $2,000 per day in your budget, you can still empower customer service reps with strategies like:

      • Measuring qualitative and quantitative feedback, and not just how many cases or tickets they resolve in a given day.
      • Freeing up employee time to conduct research, analyze data, create processes, or work on other projects to have a greater impact.
      • Devote creative or monetary resources to helping employees create moments to delight your customers with handwritten thank-you notes, small swag gifts, or discount codes.

      10. Super Runners Shop

      what is good customer service, example from Super Runners Shop

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      Super Runners Shop is a running apparel and equipment store located in midtown Manhattan. It differentiates itself from competitors through its above-and-beyond customer service experience. They guide you through every step of the buyer journey.

      For example, I went there to purchase a pair of running shoes. A disclaimer: I have been a runner all my life and have been stubborn in the past about my shoes and my brands. So, when I needed a pair of shoes and was hesitating to try something new, friends referred me to Super Runners Shop.

      The online reviews didn’t let me down, and I was greeted as I walked into the store. I told them I needed shoes, and they paired me with one of their running specialists. This rep knew his stuff. He asked me about my running style, where I ran, and how often I would run.

      Then, we talked about price range and brand preferences. They even had a high-tech foot scanner that analyzed my feet to match for potential inserts and shoes that would fit my arches. It was clear that every step of the experience was planned and detailed.

      The Takeaway

      It doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-billion-dollar company or a local business. Your service should be consistent throughout the entire customer experience.

      Even though Super Runners Shop is a small business, they’ve made their mark by committing to the customer’s goals. This, in turn, produces loyal customer advocates who willingly refer new leads to the business, and I will tell all my running friends about it.

      You’re on Your Way to Great Service

      Every year, customers change their buying habits, marketing preferences, and so on. One thing that will never change is customers’ need for support and service. Companies should always think about the best way to serve their customers and how to adapt to the moment.

      Now that you have the tips and best practices for good customer service, apply this information during your next customer interaction.

      Editor's note: This article was originally published in August 2021 and has since been updated for comprehensiveness.

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