This is a continuation of our series on great companies with great support. We haven’t thought of a name for the series yet so we’ll just call it what it is. Deal with it
A few weeks ago we asked some of our loyal users which companies came to mind for them when we mentioned “great customer service”. We were pleasantly surprised when quite a few of them threw out Virgin’s name. We hadn’t thought to analyze Virgin’s customer service history but we’re also not surprised by this nomination. Virgin’s continued success in all, or most, of its companies are nothing short of amazing. We dug a little deeper and here’s what we found.
Sir Richard Branson is a pretty humble man. One of our co-workers here has actually met the man of the hour and even spent some time with him during a commercial shoot. He can be described as someone who’s “passionate at the core”. His passion for greatness is an extension for his passion for people. Branson believed that with the right people, anything was possible. In an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine, he claimed that “if you treat your employees right, they will treat your customers right, and sustained profits will follow”.
We’ve always been a company that believed in an alternate version of that very mantra. You might build a product that makes your customers’ world go round. But it’s also your customers that make your world go round. Break that model and you’re the one that suffers. Your customers will simply find an alternative. Like Virgin, you need to not only build a product that successfully disrupts the market but also offer the level of customer service that is just as disrupting in order to steal customers away from your competition. Customer experience is the one true indicator for future potential. They go hand-in-hand, really. Also Branson’s words. Not ours.
So if you could build an empire like Branson’s and have the level of customer service like Branson’s, what could you do? Here are the tips we’ve gathered from Virgin.
Be Visible. A good leader is important for the success of any good business. And a good leader needs to be inspired constantly by employees and customers. It’s important to stay connected and grounded to what employees want, what customers want, and what employees believe customers want.
Express Passion for Serving Customers. Good customer service always starts at the top. Regardless of the type of business you’re in. Good customer service IS the single most important ingredient. Branson puts it this way: “Anyone can sell a product. We’re not in the business of selling a product. We’re selling the experience. If you fly on a Virgin plane…you know you’re going to have a completely different experience.”
Employees are your biggest assets. Your product or service is only as good as the employees you hire. Customers might try your product based on the notion of novelty. They return because they enjoy working with the people of your organization. Invest in people wisely. Bet on customer service to always win it for you in the end.
Hire Positive People. Enough said. Postive attitudes are infectious. The only way to generate sustainable positivity is to train your employees well and offer them the creativity and freedom to express themselves. Just like any company with great culture and an army of individuals willing to serve and work there, customers are just as likely to appreciate the positivity.
Seriously. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Customers adore authenticity. Your authenticity is part of the company culture. Remember to have fun.