Upon landing on Modify Watches’ website, I was immediately drawn to their Wow Wall—a page littered with endless love from their customers.
The feedback was specific, mentioning tone, friendliness, and the joyful surprise of frugal wows like free replacement batteries and different color straps for the watches. I couldn’t help but see a pattern.
Not having purchased from them, or even knowing who they were before my inquiry, I felt a wave of calming reassurance that not only was their product great, but their service, too.
There is something profoundly comforting in knowing that a company provides great customer support; it is, perhaps, an impression that encourages us to take a leap and to have faith in whatever happens next.
Talking to Aaron Schwartz, CEO of Modify Watches, and Marisol Burgueno, head of support and customer experience, it suddenly became obvious why the company is succeeding: they don’t just make sales, they build relationships; they are careful listeners and adapt the product accordingly; they believe in transparency and treating their customers like friends.
The Pro in Proactive Support
Asking customers for the order number or which product they purchased last creates a chasm of disconnect between the company and customer.
Modify Watches believes that in order to create lasting relationships with their customers, they need to approach support proactively.
“There's a certain amount of information that we need to move the conversation forward,” Aaron said. Because Help Scout integrates with ecommerce platforms like Shopify to assist teams in serving the customer better, Modify Watches uses their existing knowledge of their customers to tailor their responses.
“What I've tried to do on the help side is make sure that we're proactive, that we don't say, ‘Would you like something?’ If we screw up, it's like, ‘Hey, we screwed up, we're really sorry, here's what we're doing to resolve this, we're sending you two new ones, we're refunding you 100%, and here's a 100% off code for your next purchase,’” said Aaron.
Wow is an understatement. When I heard this I thought it was remarkable, first because I’ve never heard of such service and second, it’s never happened to me.
With a roughly 30% re-purchase rate—an unbelievable number in ecommerce where most only convert 2-3% of potential customers—they achieve this with transparency in their design and support process.
Being proactive is simply about making the customer do less homework. It’s about creating a seamless process where their efforts are minimal but fulfilling.
Aaron said, “We over invest on being upfront and on honesty and listening. Transparency is probably a better way to put it. It's like, ‘Here's what it's going to look like.’ I hate when people are vague.”
The Art of Frugal Wows
The outcome for this level of support is exactly what you would expect it to be:
When you think about a time that you were wowed, it probably didn’t take much. Yet many companies fail to put in just a little bit more effort, neglecting to realize the tremendous benefits of such small acts. That effort echoes and travels far into the hearts of customers and users.
I was in Colorado at a restaurant. Four of us ordered dessert, but the waiter only brought out three. He looked at me with horror and said, “My goodness, I forgot to tell you we ran out of the brownie. Is there anything else I can get you?”
“No,” I said passive aggressively. “Don’t worry about it. I’m fine.”
As I was walking out of the restaurant, the waiter stopped me, gave me a card, and said, “Next time you come in just give this card to me or another waiter and you’ll get a free drink and dessert. Sorry about before.” He even made eye contact.
I have been going to the same restaurants in my hometown for over 8 years. When orders are wrong or drinks are spilled on my lap, I’d be considered lucky to even get a free salad.
It’s not hard to wow your customers: identify your current level of effort and multiply it by two.
The Traits That Tailor Great Support
Loving everything that I’d heard thus far from Modify, I wanted to know details: what do they look for in a support person and what is their methodology or attitude in speaking to customers?
In short, how do they (and you) build a wall of customer love?
“Nobody would be doing customer service at our company if they weren't an empathetic person,” said Aaron. Marisol added, “I treat our customers as if they were my friends. . . . I know it sounds funny, but that really is the best way to take care of someone's issue.”
Injecting personality into the conversation is fruitful, too.
“For example, a customer told me that they were studying abroad,” said Marisol. “I told them about my experience in Barcelona. Surprisingly, this same customer messaged me later and told me that they purchased again and wished me a great day. . . . It’s funny because I’ve developed real friendships through my work.”
This reminded me of the Zappos story where a customer received a friendly but also hilarious response. The customer’s friend who shared the story said, “If I had written an email like that at my previous customer service job I would have been fired on the spot for unprofessionalism.”
Modify Watches cares about three elements in customer support:
How do you work through negative feedback or angry customers? How do you work under stress? If you ship the wrong product accidentally, how do you make this right?
A deep-seated desire to help people. This is a connection that I’ve been making while speaking to many support teams; team members have previous experience helping people in one way or another, whether as an EMT, in customer service, community service, non-profit work, etc. You can almost automatically identify this within a person based on his or her empathy, care, and how he or she interacts with the world.
Empathy and Intuition
Empathy is that one core virtue required in customer support because it’s rarely about you and always about the customer. An understanding of the situation points toward the proper solution. Intuition is aided by empathy in enabling us to be practically wise—to understand how this solution fits this proper context and with this particular person.
“We are a company of service like Zappos. We are not Zappos; Zappos is amazing. If we could become any company, it would be Zappos, that's our North Star,” Aaron said. “But we use Help Scout as a foundational layer to make sure that we deliver the wow service we need to.”
And we love companies that love their customers. Thank you to the team at Modify Watches for sharing this valuable insight and allowing us to peek inside their process.
Do you love your customers? Have any interesting insights into how you hire, train, or use Help Scout to provide excellent support? Then I want to spotlight your company.
Email me at Paul@helpscout.com with the name of your company and why your story would be a great fit.