One of the best ways to both create a positive experience for your customers and provide them with exceptional support is to study real-world examples of business leaders who made customers their priority. There's nothing wrong with modeling your own company and customer support department after one that has seen a great deal of success. And when it comes to customer service, we here at FuseDesk think it's rare to find any business founder as diligent and successful as Mr. Charles Walgreen, founder of the national Walgreens drugstore chain.
According to Walgreens.com, Charles Walgreen worked at a variety of drugstores prior to opening his own, and though he may not have realized it at the time, each new job he took was an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of those before him. Walgreen was increasingly disappointed in each drugstore's lack of commitment to their customers, so he began hatching a plan for how he would improve efficiency and customer service in his own store.
A Friendly and Personalized Atmosphere
When he opened his very first drugstore, Charles Walgreen made sure that he or a colleague personally greeted each and every customer that walked through the door. Rather than it feeling like a business or corporation, Walgreens was a special experience from day one. Can you think of any successful retailers that have adopted a similar strategy today with personal greeters?
While your own business may foster customer relations solely by email or phone, you could consider sending occasional emails to check in and follow up with customers after they've made a purchase. A personal email from the owner could do wonders for your business and bring in regular customers.
Know your Roots
Any small business has the potential to grow exponentially. So how do you maintain such a quality experience for customers? As Walgreens expanded, Charles Walgreen urged each manager of a new store to consider that particular branch an independent retailer. This way, each individual Walgreens could better cater to the needs of local customers in their area. Judging from the number of Walgreens stores across the U.S. today, this practice has definitely worked to their advantage!
In Charles Walgreen's eyes, the ideal candidate for pharmacy employees would, among other traits, have "a zeal for customer service." If you want to set up a crackerjack customer support team, consider ways of weeding out those who apply who will not help your company succeed. Things as simple as a smile and great eye contact can go a long way, even if your employees will never meet your customers face to face. Walgreens continues to fill positions with this same attitude, and even has positions known as "service clerks," with a job description that focuses on customer service.
Going Above and Beyond
What makes a shopping experience stick out in your mind? We've all been to retailers and small business a million times but we can't remember them all. Well, Charles Walgreen wanted to ensure that customers would remember their interaction with his pharmacy. According to the American National Business Hall of Fame, "Walgreen placed special emphasis on making regular customers think they were special, on turning the casual shopper into a regular customer, and on the handling of customer complaints." Sound familiar? By making your customer support department the best it can be, you too could find yourself in a hall of fame someday, my friend!
Walgreen believed in delivering outstanding customer service to such extremes that he would go so far as to send his handy man out on deliveries while he still had customers on the phone, making friendly small talk just long enough that local customers would often receive their delivery while Walgreen himself was still on the line. Now who wouldn't remember that?
Charles Walgreen was a customer service genius from the beginning, and gained great word of mouth from satisfied customers. Consider ways that your own business can surprise and delight your customers while fulfilling their needs!