by Larry Mead, Kate Kompelien and Kurt Schroeder
At Avtex, we love to hear about great Customer Experiences, and few compare to the stories told about Chewy. We all love our pets and want the best for them. Knowing this, Chewy has focused on "becoming the most trusted and convenient online destination for pet parents," and in doing so has established themselves as a leader in customer experience. After being acquired by PetSmart in 2011, Chewy has continued operating independently, allowing them to ensure that they are available for their customers 24/7. Chewy has also continued to officer a 100 percent unconditional customer satisfaction guarantee on every single order.
Chewy Cares About Its Customers, and Their Owners Too
When we first encountered this story, we were amazed by the incoming call policy at Chewy service centers. Chewy works hard to set a high bar for interactions with customer calls, using the speed of interactions to provide an incredible experience. They aim to answer every single call within five seconds, to ensure that they are making the most of their customers’ time. Every customer call is answered by a real, live human, with no automated system to frustrate and confuse customers when looking for support. At Chewy, all employees are also trained in the details of every product, preparing them to help customers directly. This commitment to training helps agents avoid handing customers off to someone else. Chewy ensures that customers enjoy quick and easy interactions, so they can go back to spending time with the furry friends they care most about.
Chewy’s Just Getting Started
Interaction speed is just the beginning – it’s what we found when we dug a little deeper that truly exemplifies their dedication to CX. Across social media channels and review forums, Chewy customers have been sharing times when employees took an extra step and sent them a personalized card or gift during a time where they needed it most.
One customer shared about losing their pet and contacted Chewy to return the food they had just received as they would no longer need it. The agent immediately refunded the order and suggested that the customer donate any unopened food to a local pet shelter. The agent wasn’t done there, however. They went the extra mile to make the customer feel valued, sending the customer a bouquet of flowers and a note expressing their sympathy for the passing of their pet. This kind act simply amazed the customer, prompting them to share the experience online, noting that they had never experienced treatment like this from a for-profit company before.
At Chewy, this story is not a one-time occurrence. Again and again customers continue to share stories of handwritten notes after a hiccup in their delivery process, or receiving flowers after ending their subscriptions due to a pet passing. These incredible customer testimonials astounded us and has continued to stick with us as we examine how Chewy leads by example when it comes to CX. Chewy continually demonstrates compassionate support for customers in their time of need and have built strong bonds with their customer base because of it. The reality is that when a customer loses a pet, Chewy may also lose a customer, but through their approach to customer experience, Chewy has demonstrated that their priority is building meaningful moments during a time of emotional loss, not simply retaining a paying customer.
Old and Young Dogs CAN Learn New Tricks
There is a lot to be learned from a company like Chewy, who chooses to focus on kindness, generosity, and quality experiences instead of just selling their products. Chewy understands that pets mean the world to their people, and as a trusted provider of pet supplies, Chewy wants to support their customers with the same boundless loyalty that pets themselves demonstrate. By showing that they care, Chewy has created relationships that compel customers to share their powerful experiences online. Chewy has shown that positive word of mouth from brand lovers is louder than any hiccup that may occur for a customer. Because of this approach, Chewy has found itself at the top of the list with the CX greats as they become a role model for other companies looking to embody the same ideals and experiences.
Following Chewy’s lead can be made simple by understanding the true meaning and the value behind their CX:
- Prioritize the person, not the customer: Businesses often prioritize the needs of the “customer” or the one paying the bill, and forget that the customer is an emotionally driven person behind that customer. Delivering experiences that resonate emotionally with customers should be the focus. When a person feels connected to your brand, the willingness of their inner customer changes.
- Make it personal: Taking the time to acknowledge information about a customer and adding individual touchpoints to their interaction increases the positive feeling a customer has about your business. Customer’s feel seen and valued by your brand, which changes their relationship with you.
- Don’t be afraid of investing in the relationship: Sending handwritten notes or gifts on important dates or events of a customer’s life is impactful. Don't be scared to take that extra step and invest in their life.
- Experiences matter: Creating positive experiences will change how your customers interpret the worth of your business and their interactions with you. Excellent customer experiences deliver value beyond the price customers pay for your services or products.
Take a page out of Chewy’s playbook and remember these key factors when planning your CX strategy.