Whether you run a startup or a billion dollar corporation, impeccable customer service can be the most powerful marketing tool you have. As a consumer, nothing is worse than being lured in by a brilliant ad campaign, only to be met with script-reading, life-hating, robotic-like service representatives!
If you're smart, you'll hire the best customer service pros and pay them well. If you're smarter--you'll also showcase them to the masses.
Last week, JetBlue Airlines pulled a prank on its customers. They rented out an empty storefront on a busy strip in their hometown of New York City and created a window that resembled a giant touch screen hologram. On the screen were buttons with questions for JetBlue, alongside a smiling flight attendant that would speak the answers. As New Yorkers passed the glowing technology, they could not help but interact with it.
The "hologram's" questions initially seemed like canned FAQs. But just as the users were getting comfortable, the hologram spoke to them directly-making them laugh, dance, attempt to climb into the screen, and generally scratch their heads in sheer confusion. One guy in the video even ended up without a shirt on....that hologram must have been pretty persuasive!
Delighted by the technology, users spent an average of 10-15 minutes interacting with the window. At the end of their session, the hologram woman (the very talented Mary Morrissey, who is an actual JetBlue flight attendant!) stepped out of the storefront, awarding the curious souls with free travel vouchers. The responses were priceless.
"Our goal with this campaign was to spread awareness of our customer commitment by surprising and delighting our fans," says Phil Ma, JetBlue's Manager of Advertising. JetBlue shared a video of the prank via Facebook. In only one week, they have received just under a million views - exceeding their benchmarks by 50 percent.
This little stunt gave JetBlue a great opportunity to show off their customer service reps through the social media response to the video. The comments from fans are extremely familial towards the brand--some of them reminiscing about past family vacations, expressing their opinions about in-flight food, virtually high-fiving the airline for their prank, and even making travel arrangements. Each is answered swiftly by a kind, humorous, HUMAN staff member.
"We use social media as a fast, efficient method of customer service," says Ma. "Our customers tell us they really feel cared for." And the proof is in the pudding. JetBlue has won the J.D. Power Award for "Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Low-Cost Carriers in North America" for the past 11 consecutive years.
Ma shared JetBlue's recipe for customer service success:
- "Be true to your mission. JetBlue's mission is to Inspire Humanity and we breathe this into every customer touch point. Whether it be in the air or on the ground, the JetBlue experience is consistent and ladders up to this mission."
- "Set the bar--don't just meet it. We're constantly thinking ahead of the curve with our innovative offerings to surprise and delight our customers in a unique, JetBlue way. This pertains to all aspects of the business from Customer Service, Operations, Marketing, Product, etc. As a brand, you can't be afraid to think big and deliver bigger!"
- "Invest in your team. At the end of the day, JetBlue is able to deliver award-winning customer service because of the talented, passionate and committed crew members who truly believe in our values and our mission, delivering on both each and every day. Whether on the front lines or behind the scenes, it's the crew members who leave lasting impressions on customers."
Charismatic customer service wizards should be your company's not-so-secret weapon--whether you have one or one thousand of them. The most powerful marketing comes from word of mouth. Always give your customer service reps the tools and support they need to help you create an experience worth raving about.