The Golden Rule of Amazing Customer Service Isn't What You Think

What are some hallmarks of amazing customer experience? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Dave Gilboa, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker, on Quora.

One of our core values at Warby Parker is "treat others the way they want to be treated". This is a subtle variation of The Golden Rule: "treat others the way you want to be treated". Switching the "you" to "they" is a small but powerful change that incorporates empathy and understanding that others' preferences may be different from your own. In order to deliver amazing customer experiences, it has to start with understanding who your customers are and what they are looking for. What frustrates them in the current shopping or ownership process and how can your company help reduce friction and make the experience better?

In our case, we realized that many eyewear consumers were sick of overpaying for glasses and hated the shopping experience of walking into an optical shop and seeing frames locked in cabinets, then being upsold on lenses and coatings without really knowing what they were buying. We asked ourselves if we could rethink the entire shopping experience and sell glasses online (at the time less than 1% of glasses in the US were sold online). We thought that free shipping and free returns would make people feel a bit more comfortable about shopping online, but after talking to dozens of consumers, and surveying hundreds of people, we realized that was not enough. We would need to offer a way for people to try glasses on before making a purchase decision. So we developed the first of its kind Home Try-On program, where we would send up to five frames without prescription lenses for free to customers and include a free return shipping label. If they found a pair or two they liked, they could send us their prescription and we'd make them a custom pair of glasses. We knew the quality of our product was as good or better than anything else on the market so we just wanted to get as many of our frames on people's faces as possible.

The Home Try-On program caused GQ to call us "the Netflix of eyewear" and put us on the map right when we launched. We stocked out of all our Home Try-On frames within forty-eight hours and all of sudden had a 20,000 person waitlist. All from thinking through how we reduce friction for our customers.

Now we are six years old but still obsess over our customers and try to understand how we can continually reduce friction and improve their experiences. We measure our Net Promoter Score (NPS) religiously, which is a measure of customer satisfaction. It asks "How likely are you to recommend to Warby Parker to a friend" on a scale of 0-10, then takes all the people that vote 9 or 10 (promoters) and subtracts all the people that vote 0-6 (detractors), resulting in a Net Promoter Score. Then we ask them to give us a reason for their rating. Our score has consistently been in the 80s since we launched, which means that vast majority of our customers are so satisfied that they are highly likely to recommend us to other people (and has resulted in the majority of new customers being generated through word of mouth). But we also gain insights into areas that we can change or improve based on direct feedback from our customers. We take this feedback very seriously and it helps us prioritize how we continuously improve how we "treat" our customers.

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