When you have a lot of conversations with different customers of different brands as we do you quickly pick up on those companies that stand head and shoulders above the pack.
In the past when asking consumers which companies they think has the best customer service, John Lewis, Apple and First Direct have almost always been mentioned. However, in the last year, the brands have changed and a stand-out brand has been AO.com which has been mentioned in almost all recent sessions.
A quick google of TrustPilot supports what we are hearing:
First Direct customers used to be passionate, trying to persuade anyone else in earshot that they should switch, but recently I haven’t heard one consumer mention them. Their USP has been eroded as the competition and analogous categories have caught up and overtaken them. Here’s a review from what was probably a brand advocate on Trust Pilot who could only muster up 3 stars for the brand:
Been with this bank for many years but in today’s world you would think they could offer a choice of card and text colour for visually impaired customers. Thinking of leaving for this reason alone. Disappointed.
John Lewis gets 1 star and, despite being a brand that consumers still say they are passionate about, only has reviews from 8,000 customers. It clearly isn’t galvanising its advocates so the people talking loudly about the brand are the detractors.
AO.com gets an astonishing 5 stars and a score of 9.5 out of 10. But what I think is most notable is the 80,000 reviews! Here’s just one:
I'm genuinely amazed by the customer service I have received so far. Farouk has been an absolute star. Really helped me with my query and nothing was too much bother. I also would like to mention how impressed I am by their automated phone system that helps you speak to the right people. I normally despise them but it was so intuitive and simple. This is how all companies should operate. I will 100% be shopping with AO again in the near future. Thank you
Also noteworthy is that every negative review that I could find has been responded to with an explanation, a solution or an apology. In contrast, I couldn’t find one response from First Direct to those customers who had experienced issues.
I would suggest that any brand or business owner, especially those who pride themselves on offering great service, could usefully spend time reading reviews and asking themselves some tough questions:
If my service is so good why aren’t I creating passionate advocates?
If customers have issues what am I doing to resolve them?
Is the wider competition or my competitive set catching me up?
Just remember, your customers are always talking. You just need to make sure you know how to listen