By Aaron Huang
After World War II, the creation of cars, highways and suburban housing distanced American families from one another. As everyone became less interconnected, big businesses such as McDonald’s or Macy’s thrived in a culture where strong business-to-customer relationships were not as crucial to a company’s success. However, with globalization in recent years increasing the frequency of communication, many businesses have stepped ahead of the competition by building solid customer relationships through quality customer service.
The best example of this would be Zappos, an online shoe retailer that prides itself on their customer relationships. With their exceptional service, they were able to hit $1 billion in gross merchandise sales by 2008 (Hsieh, 2010). Today, Zappos continues to develop their loyal customer base by caring for every customer. Amy Stewart, who has been working at Zappos for over 10 years, describes it as building a personal emotional connection with them, where she “actively [listens] to the customer and [takes] cues [that she] can build on to make those connections.” Whether it may be similar interests in shoes or coming from the same hometown, Zappos employees go above and beyond in order to make memorable experiences with each caller.
Another business that emphasizes the importance of customer relationships is Wendy’s. After being a part of 2017’s most retweeted post, the Wendy’s Twitter account received well-deserved attention on how they foster conversations with customers. By responding to almost every complaint, inquiry, or praise, the account had an outstanding 126.5% follower growth rate in 2017 (Ravi 2019). From their hilarious roasts to genuine tweets, the account ultimately revolutionized how companies utilize social media platforms to attract and retain customers.
The success of Zappos and Wendy’s are clear examples of how quality customer service has been pivotal in business growth. As more consumers base their purchases off of customer reviews on Amazon, YouTube, or Twitter, it only heightens the importance of strong business-to-customer relationships. Sharon Huang, an incoming freshman at the University of Illinois at Chicago, states “I always check customer reviews [as] they are rather unbiased and can, of course, help tell me about their customer service.” From American suburbia to Wendy’s twitter account, social media and technology continue to revolutionize how businesses consider customer relationships.