Have you ever bought a new sweater, only to get home and learn that it’s itchy when you wear it all day? Or, that it shrinks in the wash and becomes too tight in the sleeves? What about a pair of pants where the zipper always gets stuck or the button seems like it was sewed on by a single thread?
These common issues aren’t show-stoppers in the buying process. But they do bring some discomfort post-purchase.
Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx, set out to fix these annoying post-sales experiences for the women buying her products. And along the way, she built a billion dollar brand beloved by millions.
That’s why this month, we’re crushing on the standout customer experience that Spanx delivers.
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Did you know that 77% of consumers prefer brands that seek out customer feedback before it’s launched to the masses? It’s true! People want to beta test your products and services before you ship them out into the world.
Blakely was a so-called “beta tester” for dozens of shapewear products for years. And, no product lived up to her expectations. In fact, every product she tried caused some kind of discomfort. So, when she started prototyping her own product, working with hosiery mills to make it right, she had a brilliant (yet seemingly simple) idea. She asked potential customers for feedback before packaging up her product and putting it on the shelves.
Blakely sent prototypes to all her family and friends and took their feedback to build something her customers really wanted. That keen focus on the customer, from the very start, launched a brand with customer experience strategies worth copying.
Here are five more reasons we love the customer experience examples Blakely and her counterparts have shown us at Spanx.
1. Let’s not overcomplicate this: They communicate clearly and simply.
When customers search for Spanx and hit the company website, they’re greeted by a friendly and approachable experience. It’s easy to navigate and find your way to the resource you need. And, once you find what you’re looking for, the company outlines very clear steps to follow.
Let’s look at the Returns page as an example.
The return policy outlines three steps to help customers help themselves. But, the company doesn’t shy away from offering omnichannel help. Scroll down on the same page and you immediately find the customer line to call if you need extra help. Or, the chat button if you’d like to quickly reach a rep. It’s clear they live by the motto: if a customer needs help, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get it.
2. Customer satisfaction and a standout customer experience are clear pillars of their business strategy.
Some 77% of consumers say inefficient customer experiences detract from their quality of life. That means, delivering a poor customer experience and making customers dig around for the information they need would stand in opposition to Spanx’s mission – improving the lives of women.
That’s why Spanx pairs clear and simple self-service with an escape route to a real human to make the customer experience easy. Not to mention, they boast a satisfaction guarantee for every customer who purchases from their site. If you aren’t 100% satisfied with your purchase, you can return it (for free) within 90 days and get a refund.
3. They encourage, not deter, customers to reach out for help.
Have you ever found a short window of time in your day to reach out to customer service over a recent issue, only to spend all your time digging for a phone number where you can reach a live human, instead?
I have (*cough, thanks Facebook, cough*).
Some companies keep their customer service numbers under lock and key to keep interaction volume low. If customers can’t find the customer service number, they’ll use self-service or email us instead, right? Not so fast. Your customers will still need help from a live human, but they’ll show up to the conversation already steeped in frustration.
Head to Spanx.com and you’ll immediately see the customer service phone number up on the site. And, nearly every page you click through, you’ll see it again. And again. In just a few clicks, I saw the customer number four times. Just like their product, Spanx designed their site and omnichannel customer experience with real people in mind.
If I can read a quick few paragraphs to solve my problem, I will. But if things get complicated, I want to know, at a glance, how I can reach out for help.
4. Like every star company, they’re mission-driven.
In 2000, Spanx founder Sara Blakely started Spanx with $5,000 in savings and her lucky red backpack to tote around her supplies. Her mission was to empower women with comfort and confidence at work and at home.
But over time, Spanx’s mission moved beyond fashion and became dedicated to improving the lives of women. Now, Blakely is taking that mission to the next level and paying it forward with The Red Backpack Fund – giving 1,000 female entrepreneurs a $5,000 grant to help with hardships during the pandemic.
“I have decided to donate $5 million directly to female entrepreneurs to help their business, families and employees. This donation will immediately provide 1,000 female business owners here in the United States with $5,000 in funding each. My hope is that this gift will help alleviate some of the pressures caused by this horrible pandemic.
20 years ago, I started Spanx with $5,000 in savings and I see this as a time to pay it forward.” – Sara Blakely
5. They know quality customer service breeds long-term loyalty.
A whopping 96% of customers say the customer service they get matters to their customer loyalty. Spanx knows this, so they hire agents who set the best examples: those who know each interaction contributes to an outstanding customer experience. Read the job descriptions of any position for hire at Spanx, and you see the commitment to experience, growth and work-life balance.
On top of that, their easy returns process and satisfaction guarantee always puts the customer first. If your customer isn’t happy with a purchase, it’s likely they won’t purchase from you again. But, if your service organization puts in the effort to make it right, you’ll earn loyalty for life. And a trove of brand advocates talking about you, too.
It’s moments of impeccable service and a true commitment to the customer that helped Spanx rise above the rest. We all know the name. There’s a reason for that.
Follow examples from leading brands like Spanx and build customer experience strategies based on what your customers really want, not your instincts alone. Use the data that lives in your contact center to create a better CX. Here’s how.