Welcome to The Kustomer Service Pulse, a new series on the Kustomer blog where we share our point of view n customer service experiences that showcase how companies can create unforgettable moments with their customers, drive impact for their business, and elevate their brands.
While 2023 may have been the year of Barbenheimer and Taylor Swift, we also saw great strides in customer service. AI has become more widely implemented across the industry, companies are growing their proactive customer service offerings, and interactions are becoming increasingly personal.
As these new technologies are being implemented in the background, how are companies handling customer service now? Are there any key learnings that we can implement from brands this year as we plan for 2024?
Here is a collection of some viral customer service moments this year, and how brands can learn from these experiences to improve their offerings and ultimately build trust and loyalty among consumers.
Delta Flight Attendant Comforts Nervous Passenger
To kick off 2023, a Delta airlines flight attendant, Floyd Dean-Shannon, sat in the aisle of the aircraft to comfort a nervous passenger on a flight to JFK. He calmly explained every sound and bump, holding her hand when the passenger was scared. He even offered her a mimosa to brighten her spirits and settle her nerves.
As Dean-Shannon told Good Morning America: “I went on ahead and held my coffee and I sat there next to her for like 10 minutes explaining to her… ‘So you’re gonna feel like this or a little up and down feeling… The gears are coming out. You’re going to hear all of this. But I guaranteed safety – that if nothing was not right on this plane, we would never lift off the ground.”
Other passengers took notice, capturing the moment and sharing it on Facebook where it quickly went viral for Dean-Shannon’s willingness to go the extra mile. Many called for a raise, and while Delta never revealed the internal aftermath of this kind gesture, the positive goodwill has certainly helped the brand.
Kustomer Reacts: Human touch can be a vital aspect of customer service. While AI is making great and important strides to improve customer service, AI combined with a human service agent is key to unlocking improved support. In fact, tools like KIQ Customer Assist can leverage AI to increase efficiency and automation to free an agent’s time to provide meaningful touchpoints, like we see here with Delta.
Food Influencer has a Negative Experience in Atlanta
Keith Lee, TikTok influencer and food reviewer who has amassed over 15 million followers, took a family trip to Atlanta in October and naturally embarked on a food tour of the southern city. He visited a number of restaurants, including Atlanta Breakfast Club, The Real Milk and Honey, and Old Lady Gang, all of which he shared an incredibly negative customer service experience with unusual rules.
At Atlanta Breakfast Club, for example, Keith shared that they would not be served water until the entire table was seated and were charged $1 for butter. The Real Milk and Honey refused to serve members of his family, while Old Lady Gang assigned his family a 90-minute wait time.
This sparked outrage on TikTok, where many Atlanta residents shared the same sentiment. Even Cardi B chimed in on an Instagram Live that customer service in the city is less than ideal, and she has to name drop to get a seat at these restaurants.
Old Lady Gang did reply with an apology of the long wait time and asked Keith to return in the future, while The Real Milk and Honey posted a now-deleted response to his review stating, “who is Keith Lee?”
Kustomer Reacts: Empathy plays a key role in customer service, placing the agent (or in this case, restaurant staff) in the shoes of their guest to understand where they are coming from and why they might be upset. While there are many aspects of CX that are out of our control, like unexpected wait times, it’s important to address the customer from a place of understanding. Flexibility and creativity can take this even further, looking for new solutions that can help meet the customer’s needs, while working within the constraints of the problem.
A Woman’s Stanley Cup Survived a Car Fire – So Stanley Bought Her a Car
And perhaps our favorite – and most viral – story of the year. Danielle Lettering filmed a TikTok of her car after a fire. The only item to survive was her Stanley Cup, including the ice inside which was still frozen. Commenters were shocked that the Stanley was able to survive the fire in such great condition, calling it the best Stanley advertisement.
Stanley took it a step further with a video from the CEO offering to not only send her some Stanley Cups, but to buy her a new car. Viewers were thrilled to see the brand step in to help Danielle, who shared her gratitude to Stanley for replacing her car. While it’s unlikely Stanley will have a response this big for a customer again, it highlights the importance of responding to timely reviews to build brand loyalty.
Kustomer Reacts: Social media has undoubtedly become a huge player in customer service, not only offering more channels for consumers to reach brands, but allowing customers to share their stories and reviews – both good and bad. As businesses consider their modern customer service approach, it must include omnichannel channel support, to meet consumers where they are – anywhere, any time, and on any channel.
As we enter 2024, it’s a great time to reconsider your customer service strategy to learn from key, viral moments on how to deliver personalized, effortless customer service.