Chobani – A Creamy Example of Customer Service through Social Media

Chobani Greek yogurt is amazing.  In the world of Greek yogurt, its high-protein, low-fat deliciousness really is just second to none.  But do you know what else is amazing about Chobani?  Their customer service.

It all started on a Wednesday.  I decided to have a Chobani for an afternoon snack but when I took it out of the fridge the lid felt very taut, like there was a pressure build-up inside.  Most cups I’d had didn’t look or feel like this so I tweeted “Is my @Chobani supposed to look like it’s about to explode?  Exp. date 2/12/12…”

Within seven minutes (yes, seven!)  I had a reply: “Oh no! So sorry about that. Shoot us an email at care[at]chobani dot com & we’ll take care of you.”

I promptly emailed them as requested and got a reply in 22 minutes.  Their customer service representative, Ashley, apologized profusely, asked me to tell her a little bit about the Chobani I’d bought, and then asked for my mailing address so she could send me some product coupons.  I replied with the information she asked for and voila!  Within a few days I received yet another apology letter in the mail along with a few coupons for FREE Chobani.  Is that customer service or what?  I sure think so.  Thanks to Ashley’s quick actions I’ll remain a loyal Chobani customer for a long time to come.

Lessons Learned

What Chobani did in this story, which is 100% true, is nothing short of flawless execution of customer service.  They obviously “get it” and have well-established procedures for dealing with customer service complaints over Social Media.  Let’s wrap up the story by reviewing how your small business can follow Chobani’s example and turn a dissatisfied customer into a fanatical brand advocate:

  1. Respond to inquiries as quickly as possible.  Customers turn to social media because they want to be heard.  Respond quickly and they’ll know you’re actively looking to engage with them, which shows you care about what they have to say.
  2. Apologize.  The customer is always right, even when they’re wrong.  While this seems pretty basic, it’s easy to get defensive about your products or your brand.  Just take a deep breath, say you’re sorry, and move on.
  3. Explain what you’re going to do to make things right.  In addition to an apology, offer your customer something for their trouble.  Offer some free product, a discount on their next monthly bill, or whatever you think they’ll like.  Give freely, as the more impressive the gift the more likely the person will tell their friends about it.
  4. Be personable.  When I emailed Chobani I got an answer from a person with a name and a real e-mail address, not a nameless customer agent.  The letter I got in the mail was personalized and signed in ink by the same person.  Make sure your customers know there are real people behind your brand.
  5. Have a plan.  Work within your organization to develop official best practices that incorporate the previous steps.  Train your staff how to find and respond to your customer complaints and establish communications guidelines to make sure they always respond appropriately.

While none of the steps here are all that revolutionary, it takes training and commitment to make sure every customer service incident is dealt with successfully.  The real key here is to make it central to your corporate culture for each employee to look at every customer interaction as an opportunity to win a customer for life.  This may not happen overnight, but after some time you may find yourself being blogged about for your customer service!

Have you had any recent customer service success stories you can share?  As always, we encourage everyone to leave questions and comments in the field below.

One comment

  1. Hey, Phil! Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out to us about your less-than-perfect cup of CHO, we’re just happy we could help get a few fresh cups in your fridge. At Chobani, customer service is tops & we certainly view each and every interaction as a chance to win a customer for life. Thanks for taking note & sticking with us :)

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