I spent most of 2015 preparing for my wedding day. A fun, yet busy time filled with flowers, dress fittings and table assignments. While I am usually supporting Airfoil clients with their marketing and public relations needs, I was the client. An interesting change of pace.
As the client for florists, photographers and more, I had certain expectations including responsiveness, quick turnaround and problem solving abilities. In short, I expected a quality customer experience.
To my surprise, my best customer experience came from, of all places, my contact lens company. 1-800 Contacts, the world’s largest online lens store, surprised me with their customer service from start to finish.
For a little background, this experience started with a bit of confusion. A month before I was scheduled to leave my home for wedding festivities, I placed my order. There were some problems with the verification process between 1-800 Contacts and my eye doctor, which resulted in my order not being processed. Unfortunate? Yes, but what happened next was nothing short of awesome.
A representative contacted me, listened to my concerns about receiving my package in time for the wedding and fixed the issue. My order was then overnighted, at no extra charge. Then a few months later, I received an envelope from 1-800 Contacts. In it, a hand written note and a gift card, congratulating me on my marriage.
As an industry disruptor, known for bridging the doctor/consumer gap with online lens buying, 1-800 Contacts uses technology to simplify the process. A service that for years was exclusively done in physical office buildings can now be done via smartphone, tablet or computer. While the novelty quickly wears off because, let’s face it you can buy anything online these days, it’s the strong customer service efforts that keep consumers invested in companies like 1-800 Contacts.
Turning to technology has the potential to lead to a loss of personalization in the consumer experience. Any company, specifically those operating primarily online, can get sucked into the daily operations and forget that there’s a human on the other side of the electronic transaction. When we trade face-to-face for screen-to-screen the result is often a loss of personalization, but this does not have to be the case. Handwritten notes may not work in all cases but cobrowsing, video and chat functions can help.
It is possible to compete and succeed when combining convenience and customer experience. My experience with 1-800 Contacts made it apparent. And for that, they have a loyal customer.