A fresh start to the year begins with reflection. Looking back, 2016 saw some of the most forward-thinking customer experiences yet. The fastest growing companies are delighting their customers with innovative, inclusive and personalized experiences and most importantly, are being responsive to their customers needs.
Here’s our take on the brands that inspired and delivered the best customer experiences of 2016:
Uniqlo is reinventing mobile shopping. The retailer just launched IQ, a cutting edge way to shop with the help of a chatbot—all via Facebook Messenger. Users open a Messenger chat with IQ, then type away describing the items they’re looking for. Something of a virtual personal shopper, IQ gives the customer product options to swipe through. It helps you buy, too; the chatbot can pull up your cart for shipping or show you item availability at stores nearby.
Mattress e-tailer Casper knows that restless nights happen, even when you have the most comfortable bed. Enter Insomnobot-3000, a quirky chatbot designed to keep sleepless customers company. Instead of counting sheep, users can text the chatbot for a little late night conversation between 11pm and 5am. Not only does Insomnobot-3000 bring customers closer to the brand, but it also gathers data that helps Casper learn more about their users.
One of this year’s viral stories went from a flight fail to a customer service save. When a Birmingham, England woman booked a surprise Vegas trip for her boyfriend, she mistakenly chose the Birmingham, Alabama airport for departure. A PR lead at Virgin Airlines caught the story and replaced the pair’s non-refundable flights with new ones to Las Vegas, complete with a 5-night hotel stay. The story went viral all over again, garnering praise and great press for Virgin Airlines.
Spotify is one of the brands that really know how to do Twitter customer service right. First, they give customers a standalone channel for assistance through the @SpotifyCares account. There they provide a stream of helpful tips as well as prompt answers to queries and complaints. But that’s not all: @SpotifyCares has been known to answer questions using a personalized playlist created for the user. The company employs the best Twitter tools to provide outstanding customer service.
Sephora is the retail industry’s shining star for customer experience and its “Any Time, Any Where on Any Device” strategy is clearly working to woo customers with enticing and fun features. Sephora’s new “Swipe it. Shop it.” program is a play on Tinder, and a “beauty uncomplicator” feature lets users play a Mad Libs-like game to find the best products to match their beauty needs. Sephora is also experimenting with a more compact store-within-a-store concept at JC Penney and in its Chicago Michigan Avenue store; it’s not selling products but the venue is simply a destination for beauty experiences.
These brands are at the top of their customer experience game by engaging with customers in creative and innovative ways. Utilizing cutting-edge technologies across mobile and social channels, offering personalized benefits and responding in a timely manner is proving to be a winning strategy to keep customers happy.