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By now, we’re all familiar with customer experience horror stories—those viral videos of customer service gone terribly, terribly wrong. The airline passenger dragged from an overbooked flight. The holiday package destroyed by an inept delivery man. The four hours in phone calls required just to cancel your cable subscription. But, believe it or not, consumers are quite good at recognizing good service, too. In fact, they’re willing to pay more for it—up to 16% more, according to...

“Over 50% of customers we’ve surveyed are restless, skilled at shifting spend and intolerant of poor [customer-service] experiences,” said Forrester CMO Victor Milligan on a recent company podcast. Plenty of similar research backs him up: An American Express study showed that 33% of those surveyed would consider ditching a trusted brand after just one bad customer-service experience, while another report found that 59% of folks might tolerate a handful of customer service frustrations before they move...

We live in an era when shoppers demand first-rate experiences and every interaction plays a vital role in a company’s success. “Customer service shouldn’t just be a department,” Zappos founder Tony Hsieh once told Fast Company. “It should be the entire company.” And, indeed, the businesses that excel at the game make it a huge part of their corporate culture. Consider the Zappos Zapponians, Bonobos Ninjas, and Apple Genius Bar—which essentially equates tech support staff with...