Feeling the Customer Love

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Customer Experience
Customer Experience
There's nothing like a simple thank-you from a customer to acknowledge that a customer strategy is paying off.

The 2010 1to1 Customer Champions have many different approaches to customer centricity. But they all share one trait: being delighted by a simple thank-you from a customer. Here, they answer the question, what's the best thing a customer ever said to you?

Desirree Madison-Biggs, Director, Customer Insight & Measurement, Symantec Corporation:
"I get a lot of satisfaction out of a simple 'thank you'. The best thing I've heard is something along the lines of, 'Thanks for listening. I didn't think anyone cared.'"

Esther van Zeggeren, Director Marketing Strategy & Innovation, KPN Netherlands:
"It was when someone said, 'KPN helps me to combine my work and my private life and to stay in touch with everyone. That's important to me, and for that I thank KPN.' That is really the best thing a customer said to me."

Fred Taylor, Senior Manager, Proactive Customer Service Communications , Southwest Airlines:
"On a macro level, I think the best thing any customer can say to Southwest Airlines or to me is, 'You have our business. We're satisfied with Southwest Airlines, we think Southwest Airlines is a great organization and we love the service that you provide. Therefore, we want to fly with you.' I think that's the best thing our customers can say.

"On a more micro level, when the customers take the time to respond to our proactive correspondence and say 'thank you,' that is probably one of the best things we can have as a small team, in addition to them saying, 'Wow, I'm amazed that you took the time to do that, we're going to be telling other people about it.' We still have their business, but having that thank you at the end of the day is really nice and it goes a long way with our team, as well as all the employees at Southwest Airlines."

Susan Jacobs, Director of Marketing and Customer Communications, All-State Legal:
"The best thing a customer every said to me was "I trust you and I trust your company." Trust is the foundation of a personal relationship. Without it there isn't much chance in developing a long-term relationship."

Gloria Berndl, Sr. Director Market & Business Intelligence, CDW
"'I get what you're trying to do and it's exactly what I need.' It's not an exact quote, but it's an expression of what they've said. It's that really great place you get to when your interests and the customer's interests are aligned."

Kirk Kelly, Ph.D., Director of Testing and Accountability, Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE):

"Teachers said that this gave them a 'roadmap' in terms of what they could do. We are able to give current information on the students to teachers so that they can see it right now when they open up and look at their class roll. They have a history on the student, and they also have a prediction in terms of what the student is likely to do, and they know areas that need to be addressed. They can take that information and from an educational standpoint apply best practices to best address each individual student's needs in the classroom."

Barry Mainz, Chief Operating Officer, Wind River, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation:
"I actually remember this like it was yesterday. About five years ago when I started, I was not satisfied with where satisfaction scores are. In the first five months there was a lot of change. We had brought in a third party in and customer sat scores were going up. Bu you just don't know if you're doing everything correct. It was nine months into the job and we were at a customer meeting and the VP of engineering pulled me aside and said, 'Hey can I talk to you?' He said, 'I have to shake your hand first. I have to tell you that the things that you've done over the past six to nine months have been phenomenal. My sales guys told me there's a big change in the way Wind River is dealing with customersI have to tell you that not only will you get more wallet share from us, but last week I recommended to you to one of my colleagues at another company. He should be giving you a call and I think you will get his business based on how you act.' All the hard work and heavy lifting---after I had that conversation it made it all worth it."

Scott Rogers, Director of Strategic Planning, David's Bridal:
"I've had a number of people who I've talked to over time who have thanked me for listening and helping and being empathetic."

Kathleen Cattrall, Vice President, Branded Customer Experience, Time Warner Cable:
"About a year ago there was an article about me in USA Today, and the article included my photograph. Because the article included my picture, my name, my company's name, and my title, which has the word 'customer' in it, I got phone calls.

"One of the customers who called me was a woman by the name of Sue. We had a great conversation, and she really felt that Time Warner Cable did her wrong. We had a wonderful conversation and I wish that I could say that in that conversation that I got her back as a customer. But I did not. The next day the competition was coming out to install for her.

"We have these conversations and sometimes you think, 'OK, that person will never remember me.' But a little while later I received a note from her. Here's what it said that really made an impact on us:

Dear Kathleen, I just want to thank you for taking the time to call me back out of your busy day. I wish your employees were as nice as you. They really could not relate to me at all, and could not understand how I felt swindled. I hope you took the time to hear how I was treated and I hope you use me as an example of how not to treat your long-time customers. Thank you sincerely, Sue

"Well, shortly after that note, Sue became a customer mascot for Time Warner Cable. I took that note everywhere with me. I still don't go anywhere without it. For more than a year now I read it at the beginning of meetings. I'm saddened that she felt swindled. We don't swindler customers. There may be a perception of that, but we don't. She felt bad and there is no way of navigating that perception with her. She really lit a fire under me and her thank-you note proved that my goal is to take each of these in turn each one of them around. Sue and I still interact via email on a weekly basis. I'm very grateful to her."

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION