27 Dec 2016

I just got served up some serious CRM & it felt honest

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A couple of weeks ago, I bit into some gum and I actually bit down on a piece of plastic. It scared me, so I stopped chewing immediately and thought back to all the dental work I had done in the weeks prior. Words like, “too soon” and “that might cost me” were the first thoughts to fill my head. The next was turning over the package to find the 1-800 number associated with customer inquiries. I took a long look at the number and thought “well, I am going to try their Facebook first. Yeah, that’s what I will do.”

After one message to their inbox, I received a prompt call from a service line, and I chatted with a nice lady about my “encounter.” She was happy to send me coupons for new gum and confirmed (on a recorded line) that I was in fact, okay, and did not suffer from any physical or mental damages. While this was extremely convenient for me (I did not call their number, and I did not have to sit on hold) I felt like our conversation was scripted, or slightly too, “this has happened before”.

Compare this encounter with another recent experience of mine. I hit the jackpot when I faced a not-so urgent customer service need with the online retailer, Zappos.com. It began last week, when the colder temps struck and a craving to spend too much money on boots was strong. I spotted some killer Frye boots and within seconds told myself there was NO way I could manage a purchase like that, when also facing a first-time home loan, my car needing love and Central Maine Power waiting on a check. So what did I do? I took out my shopping frustrations on Zappos.com’s Facebook page. To be exact, I commented right under a post they had shared about “Why Every Girl Needs Luxury Leather Boots”. Like, come on, I could have written this article.

I enthusiastically commented:

Putting the Relationship in CRM

Nothing wrong with a little venting, right? I know someone will cheer me right up over at Zappos.com, they’ve got to have a killer script. I wait. About three minutes and then “JC” (some unicorn over at their mothership of unicorns) answers me and our interaction becomes an actual conversation. What happened next was a beautiful mixture of CRM and honest-to-goodness humanity. JC answered my plea for fresh leather in just a few minutes time. He/she answered my questions and helped me decide on the exact style I wanted. JC invited me to send my email associated with my Zappos account. Almost instantly I received a message from customer service at Zappos, offering me $100 credit towards any purchase at Zappos – good for 90 days! SAY WHAT, JC?! I speed typed my way to their website and had them ordered within 90 seconds.

After the sale and my credit from Zappos, I was (and probably forever will be) standing in Frye boots, with the biggest smile on my face for a VERY affordable $50 dollars. The cost for JC to make this happen for me? I’m not really sure; I don’t work at Zappos.com. But what I do know, is with whatever source of magic this employee has, they were able to act in their own honest and helpful way. It DID feel like it came from the heart, like my happiness did truly matter to Zappos. I am happy to have helped someone, who wanted to help me. Isn’t that what Customer Relationship Management is all about? As CRM moves to online platforms, and consumers look to places like Facebook and Twitter for help, the real service for these brands will be in their responses and interactions. The scripted, all too generic responses will fall to numb ears. Those who inject personality and integrity into their responses, are sure to grab consumers like me, and may even snag my last $50 bucks.

Thanks JC, you mystical creature, you.