Being available for your customers is not optional. They need you, and you need them.

Let’s start with a scenario you’ve probably experienced. Imagine you’re at a restaurant. You’ve been waiting a while and you keep trying to catch the server’s eye, but it’s simply not working.

What if instead, as soon as you enter, the waiter invites you to your table and hands you menu cards? And when you order, they even recommend dishes and combinations that would go well with your order. As a customer, this is the kind of place you’d want to go back to.

Attentive and proactive customer service is a win-win situation for both companies and customers. Doing this on a daily basis might sound difficult, but there are a few brands who have pulled it off. Here’s one such story.

Back in 2010, Xbox had a 15-member team dedicated to handling customer complaints and feedback on Twitter. They sent out close to 5,000 tweets a week. Their average response time? Three to five minutes!  

Xbox Support turned traditional customer service on its head and did something truly out of the box. They made themselves available for customers, even when customers hadn’t yet approached them for help. They achieved this by scouring the Twitterverse for terms related to Xbox support issues, like “flashing red lights,” “can’t connect,” or “Xbox LIVE broke.” They also used their Twitter account to inform customers of major service incidents. By doing so, they addressed issues proactively and won their customers’ respect. All this was rather unusual (and very tricky to accomplish) before the time of multi-channel customer service software.

That year, to nobody’s surprise, the Xbox Support team was awarded the Guinness World Record for being the most responsive brand on Twitter.

If we take a closer look, we can see that being available and proactive creates a steady progression of benefits for the company. As we explain in our Pyramid of Customer Relationships, Xbox laid a solid foundation with their transparent service and steadily built upon it over time.

The three levels of the pyramid are:

– Responsiveness: When you respond quickly, you reduce the customer’s anxiety right away. Even if the response isn’t the complete solution, they’re likely to appreciate you for being transparent and thoughtful. If the issue takes time to fix, they may even cut you some slack! 

– Trust: Trust works on a “pass along” basis—when a person you know trusts somebody, you tend to trust them too. Responding honestly and setting the right expectations makes customers trust your brand more. This means that they are more likely to recommend it to others..

– Loyalty: A consistent pattern of transparency and trust, over time, adds up to loyalty. If you’re always there for your customers, they’ll be there for you as well — even on those rare occasions when you fall a little short.

Xbox Support has gone from 30,000 Twitter followers in 2010 to over a million today, thanks to their responsive and interactive customer service. Whatever the nature of your business, keep their lesson in mind: the spirit of customer service never goes unnoticed or unappreciated. 

Do you have your own such stories to share? Has any brand swept you off your feet with their service? We’d love to hear about it!

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