Customer Experience Recovery Tactics

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Customer Experience Recovery Tactics- 1

Two customer-centric businesses that deploy creative and innovative tactics to recover customers are LEGO and Slack.

LEGO

  • LEGO is a customer-centric toy business that deploys simple yet highly thoughtful and unique tactics to recover customers who are unhappy after purchasing a LEGO product.
  • Specifically, LEGO responds to customer complaints or issues with products by sending highly personalized and thoughtfully written letters to the impacted customers alongside any replacement products.
  • For example, the daughter of customer service expert and bestselling author, Mike Solomon, was upset when she found that two Lego pieces were missing from the specific kit that she was building.
  • However, Mr. Solomon noted that he was able to quickly and easily contact Lego to report the missing pieces by vising the LEGO website.
  • More importantly, LEGO expedited the missing toy pieces alongside what Mr. Solomon described as a "well thought-out" and "customer-involving" letter, that included humor, information about LEGO's quality processes, a very clear apology and a promise to include his daughter's experience in further team testing.
  • Ultimately, Mr. Solomon and his family felt closer to the brand after the experience, because his daughter had been made part of the LEGO process, and the response was so personalized, sensitive and well crafted.

SLACK

  • Slack customer-centric technology and team collaboration company that deploys a well-planned and highly personalized strategy in the case of mass outages.
  • Specifically, in the situations where Slack services become unavailable to customers, Slack not only works to quickly resolve the technical issues(s), but also has a clearly defined and "well-coordinated" team approach for minimizing any negative customer experiences, including an extensive and highly personalized social media messaging and response process.
  • For example, Slack recently suffered a service outage that left over a million users globally without the ability to send/receive messages or files for almost three hours during the work day.
  • Upset customers expressed their concerns on social media, and Slack responded promptly with over 2,300 personalized, funny and well though-out messages.
  • Not only did Slack's rapid and well-crafted customer communication strategy contain any customer fallout from the outage, but Slack's @SlackHQ Twitter handle gained 3,300 followers that same day, representing an increase of seven times more than average.
  • Ultimately, Slack's efficient, humorous and uniquely personalized approach to supporting its customers through a potentially damaging situation "deepened the trust of existing customers," strengthened the company's reputation and led to an expansion of its customer base.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Customer Experience Recovery Tactics- 2

Every business owner is bound to have disappointed customers at some point, but the good news is that there are many tactics they can use to win them back and even turn them into loyal returning customers. Here are three different creative examples of exceptional customer service tactics used to mend relationships with unsatisfied customers, from Dr. Harvey's pet food, Landry's bike shop, and Ritz Carlton hotels.

DR. HARVEY'S PET FOOD: GIVE A FREE FULL-SIZED SAMPLE

  • Dr. Harvey's has been creating all-natural health food for dogs, cats, and birds for more than 30 years. Dr. Harvey Cohen began his career in 1970 as a medical doctor for humans, before leaving his New York-based practice to dedicate his life to caring for animals. He was awarded the Icon Award by Pet Age magazine in 2015. He still oversees his company today.
  • Dr. Harvey's has a history of going above and beyond for its customers, and they have many testimonials to prove it. They have a "no questions asked" return policy and they always offer full refunds or exchanges to customers who are not satisfied with their purchases. Dr. Harvey also personally speaks to pet owners over the phone to help them transition their pets into a more nutritious diet.
  • There was one instance where they disappointed many of their regular customers by discontinuing a popular product and replacing it with a new one. They listened to the complaints and once they improved the new product to satisfy customer demand, they sent out a free full-sized sample to every customer who had complained. They were so excited and grateful and many of them have since ordered more of that product.

LANDRY'S BIKE SHOP: MAKE SURE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE SINCERELY HEARD

  • Landry's bike shop, which is based in Massachusetts and has been around since 1922, is rated one of America's best bike shops. They've been nationally recognized as National Bicycle Dealer of the Year and they've received Interbike's Top Bike Shop award in 2015. All the employees at Landry's have a passion for cycling and they are dedicated to making it a big part of their local community.
  • Landry's employee Mark Vautour loves to go above and beyond for his shop's customers, by providing exceptional hospitality and making sure they're always taken care of, no matter how positive or negative the situation is. On the positive side, he'll give customers rides home in his car if the weather is bad, and he loves to offer recommendations for local restaurants and attractions to customers who are visiting Boston from out of town.
  • Vautour has won back many dissatisfied customers simply by replying back to their complaints in a sincere and timely manner. He understands that many customers simply want to be heard, so he'll ask what's on their minds and always try to give them the benefit of the doubt. He also always writes customers hand-written thank you notes.

RITZ CARLTON HOTELS: JOSHIE THE GIRAFFE

  • Ritz Carlton is an international luxury hotel chain which has been around since the early 1980s. They have locations in many countries all around the world.
  • They are famously well-known for their exceptional customer service, which used to be very formal and standardized across every location, but is now a bit looser and more catered to each individual customer.
  • One of their most well-known examples was the story of Joshie the Giraffe. He belonged to a young boy who was staying at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Amelia Island, Florida with his family in 2012. Joshie accidentally got left in the laundry by housekeeping after the family checked out. The boy was very sad because Joshie was his best friend, so his father cheered him up by explaining that Joshie just wanted to stay some extra days on his vacation. When the hotel staff called the boy's parents to let them know they'd found Joshie, his father asked them to snap some photos of Joshie doing vacation activities like sunbathing by the pool, so he could show them to his son. Not only did they follow through, but they also sent the family a care package with Joshie and the photos, plus some Ritz Carlton branded goodies like a Frisbee and a football.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

The article published on ncmagroup.com provided many specific examples of various small businesses which have gone above and beyond to repair relationships with unsatisfied customers. From there, we chose two small businesses to focus on, which were Dr. Harvey's pet food and Landry's bike shop. The final example, Ritz Carlton hotels was referenced in a previous research strategy document.

The specific examples of exceptional small business customer service are accompanied by the official websites for Dr. Harvey's and Landry's, which provide testimonials from customers (Dr. Harvey's) and examples of how they've given back to their local communities (Landry's). For Ritz Carlton, the story of Joshie the Giraffe is accompanied by a Forbes article about how their customer service tactics have changed over the years.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

Customer Experience Recovery Tactics- 3

Domino's, Tim Horton's and Lululemon are examples of large, national brands that have creatively used tactics to recover customers with unhappy experiences.

DOMINO'S

  • Domino's Pizza sales were slumping, and the company was being widely criticized in the press. They used feedback to discover that customers were unhappy with the taste of their pizzas.
  • The company collated comments to understand exactly where the issues lie. They then used these to fix the problem and reformulate their recipes. What was creative was that Domino's used a self-deprecating and transparent strategy to admit their product hadn't been that good, but they were working hard to make it better.
  • They also took their time, taking around 18 months to thoroughly develop and test the new recipes. This communicates, in a subtle way, to the customer that Domino's really cares about its food.
  • To communicate this, Domino's launched the "Pizza Turnaround" campaign, which told customers they "reinvent[ed] our pizza from the crust up".
  • The campaign involved a mockumentary video about "the turnaround story of the year", along with a heavy press campaign of commercials, media appearances/interviews, social media and more. The company invited celebrities and influencers to taste-test their new pizzas to prove to the public they had changed for the better.
  • They also used these taste tests to 'prove' their pizza tasted better than the competition and also communicated this in their marketing materials.

TIM HORTON'S

  • Tim Horton's, a popular Canadian coffee chain, used its #TimsBringItBack campaign to lure back customers who may have stopped coming after TH discontinued their favorite product.
  • The official message of the campaign was that it was a 'thank you' in honor of their 50th anniversary.
  • Conducted on social media, the chain invited customers to vote from a list of five discontinued items, promising the one with the most votes would come back on the menu.
  • As part of the publicity, TH's actually sent the 5 food items to the media for them to taste.
  • The company saw more than 300,000 unique views on the dedicated campaign website.

LULULEMON

  • The company was forced to recall 17% of its inventory due to customer complaints that the material was too sheer. Later that year, the chairman made insensitive comments blaming overweight women for making its products appear see-through.
  • Even though the brand had attempted to win back disgruntled customers by re-releasing the pants six months later with an extra layer of fabric, the chairman's comments re-awoke the controversy and further angered customers.
  • After a media storm, the brand saw several subsequent quarters of negative comps. This ultimately led to Lululemon forcing the chairman to resign, hoping to appease customers. As he had been the founder and primary voice of the brand, this created a void in messaging and communication.
  • The new CEO, Laurent Potdevin, who was appointed outside of the sheer pants debacle, is credited with leading the brand back to growth. One of the first steps he took was easing the company's return policy, hoping to rebuild customer trust.
  • Lululemon also recognized their mistake, apologized and pledged to ensure it was only putting out the highest quality athletic wear.
  • Potdevin also increased local autonomy, allowing staff to implement initiatives and take ownership of their individual stores. This allows stores to adapt to the needs of the local market.
  • He also expanded the product line, hoping to lure back customers with new looks and innovative style that communicated a fresh design-led brand.
  • Lululemon's approach to winning back customers is unique to the other two examples, as it conducted a more grassroots effort, keeping with the ethos of the brand.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Our case studies of brands winning back customers are slightly older examples, but they were selected as they are robust examples from large national companies. Each brand creatively found ways to communicate to their customers and do something to win back brand loyalty.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Customer Experience Recovery Tactics- Non-Profits

Two creative ways non-profit customer-centric businesses recover customers with unhappy experiences are by reassurance and rebuilding trust, and digitization.

REASSURANCE AND REBUILDING TRUST

WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
  • Wounded Warrior Project is a non-profit organization well-known for its compelling mission to aid veterans returning from military service and providing health and wellness programs, work programs, support, benefits assistance, resources, and much more for them.
  • In 2016, the organization faced allegations from major news highlights from CBS and New York Times on its lavish all-hands conferences and unbridled spending on ticketed outings which created a major distrust among its donors/customers.
  • Donors even commented that "they were using the smallest percentage of wounded veterans to suck money out of hard-working Americans."
  • As a result of this unhappy experience, fundraising dropped from a peak of $373 million in 2015 to just $211 million in 2017, public support dropped 50%, BBB removed their charity organization status, and their charity navigators score dropped to 2 stars.
DESCRIPTION & DETAILS ON THE TACTIC USED
  • To recover its donors, the organization took a "restoring faith" approach by adopting various constructive steps towards reassurance and rebuilding trust.
  • WWP immediately fired the alleged two top executives — CEO Steve Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano — and called for a third-party adviser to help investigate the allegations.
  • The organization changed its advertising campaign focus on warriors that have succeeded to emphasis on the positivity and objective of not to bring in the most advertising dollars but to do the most good for the community, thereby assuring that WWP's portrayal of veterans has never stripped them of their dignity.
  • WWP "cut significantly back on all-staff outings; moved away from pricey ticketed events in favor of addressing complex quality-of-life issues for veterans; made efforts to be more collaborative in the veterans' organization community".
  • The organization also stepped forward in its role as a legislative advocate and recently mounting a campaign to expand an adaptive housing benefit available to veterans.
EXAMPLES
  • 'I am living the Proof' was a revamped advertising campaign through which the WWP wanted to ensure they were communicating in the most compelling way possible.
  • The new multi-media campaign (social media, digital advertising, email, video) used "stories about the amazing things WWP does for wounded vets come straight out of the mouths of those who have benefited ".
RESULT
  • As a result of the WWP “I Am Living Proof” advertising campaign, both the fundraising and perception of the brand had a positive immediate and impressive impact.
  • In 2018, WWP financials released a positive up of "16% to $246 million, received an updated score from Charity Navigator up to 86.45 from 86.02 out of 100 the previous year."
  • The customer/donor database of the organization also rose from 96,695 individuals in 2015 to 155,302 by the end of 2018.

DIGITIZATION

UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGES ADMISSIONS SERVICE (UCAS)
  • UCAS is "an independent charity organization providing information, advice, admissions services, and data insights to inspire and facilitate progression to higher educations."
  • Through the UCAS Progress Provider Experience survey on customers' experience, 41% reported having the lowest satisfaction with the data reports provided by the organization along with poor user experience and non-universal use of UCAS Progress.
  • Customers also complained about the organization's unclear feedback related to the changes they have suggested in previous surveys and through other means.
DESCRIPTION & DETAILS ON THE TACTIC USED
  • To recover the customers, the non-profit primarily adopted several "digitization" approach towards regaining customer satisfaction.
  • UCAS implemented training of digitization enabling instant access to a range of different materials for staff development including bite-size modules, how-to guides, and videos.
  • As per the UCAS schemes, the terms of service were updated along with having frequent meetings with the LA and direct contract holders and providing them regular updates on progress and position as part of the development of its services.
  • To control the web stability issues affecting the ability to serve students, universities, and colleges effectively, the organization implemented Drupal content management with a third-party source — Acquia — to host the UCAS site as a fully managed service.
EXAMPLES
  • To digitize the web tools and solve the issues related to user experience, UCAS worked with Acquia to implement Drupal content management which offered the closest fit in terms of functionality, robust enterprise capabilities, and scalability.
  • The organization released a customer satisfaction survey — update report sharing the further steps on the feedback and changes recommended by the customers relating to their experience, data reporting, engagement, information and advice, and usage through making email communications more relevant and timely.
RESULTS
  • The cloud enterprise "significantly reduced its in-house administration and maintenance workload, freeing its employees to work on value-added services that support its student and institutional communities".
  • Additionally, the 2018 survey feedback showed 92% satisfaction, and advisers at schools and colleges report overall satisfaction of 95% with UCAS services.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "What we say about ourselves isn’t nearly as important as what our customers say about us. For 30 years we’ve helped thousand of guardians care for their companion animals.""
Quotes
  • "Founded in 1922, Landry’s Bicycles is now rated as one of "America's Best Bike Shops"""
Quotes
  • "But to get at what makes up a brand like The Ritz-Carlton, which is perhaps the most frequently-cited exemplar of customer service in today's business world...""
Quotes
  • "Ritz-Carlton Hotels are renowned for their brilliant customer service, and I often refer to them in my presentations on customer delight and the fact that all their staff have the authority to spend up to $2,000 to resolve a customer’s problem without having to refer to a manager! Well, here’s a wonderful story of this in action, and it involves Joshie The Giraffe!""
From Part 03