For home bakers, King Arthur Flour is somewhat of a holy grail.
As the friendly Vermont-based purveyor of all things baking – including some of the highest quality flour and grains in the U.S. market, King Arthur is the preferred choice of people who don’t mess around with the store brand.
The company has two things that get it noticed:
- Criminally beautiful pictures of baked goods that suck you into an endless vortex of sugar-fueled dreams.
- A roster of professional bakers you can call, chat or email when you finally begin impulsively baking and mess up. Seriously, having a baking crisis? Call their Baker’s Hotline.
How amazing is that? All I need to do is call a freaking number and all this could be mine.
How King Arthur Flour created a low-effort baking experience
King Arthur Flour nails the customer journey that customers want but that most businesses have yet to fully wrap their heads around. Here are the principles that they take advantage of to offer a low-effort customer experience:
1. Customers want to get from point A to point B quickly and painlessly as possible.
2. Customers want to help themselves and learn on their own time.
3. Customers would rather choose from two highly efficient channels over five inconsistent ones.
Now, how does a flour company define customer success? In much the same way any business would define customer success: by enabling their customers to use, enjoy and derive clear value from their product.
As our own Sarah Chambers says, “Customer support is only about making the road to success as easy as possible for the customer.”
For King Arthur Flour, this means enabling their customers to bake amazing stuff. After all, this is what will keep customers coming back to buy more baking supplies. In other words, they bank their success on educating, supporting and building a community of happy baking enthusiasts.
It’s unexpected and delightful to see a flour company get it so right.
Harnessing the power of self-service
King Arthur Flour has set up the lowest-effort customer experience possible to enable the greatest number of customers to successfully bake. Result: all the baking education you could possibly want on a single website.
What they make available online is essentially a comprehensive self-service center – from quick reference materials all the way to recipes, videos, baking lessons, and so on. You can learn to differentiate flour types and their uses. You can learn the basics of bread baking, and when you’re finally ready to break out the pan, they have tons of tested recipes to choose from.
Why is this a great investment? Because for most customers, this is enough. Most customers arrive at King Arthur Flour’s website to get recipes and to learn how to bake. These resources make it possible for them to get online on their own time and do so. (Of course in the process they learn what separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes to high-quality baking flour.)
Even from a business perspective, this self-service is highly attractive. These resources are both affordable and evergreen. Putting up a series of how-to guides helps a customers more cost-effectively than a rep on the phone ever could.
That is, an initial investment in self-service pays for itself over time. Once any business invests time and effort into a comprehensive self-service center, it significantly reduces the kind of simple, straightforward calls that drive up support costs. It pays for itself over time.
Live chat, email and phone for baking emergencies
Self-service doesn’t eliminate the need for all personal support. With really great self-service comes fewer calls, which means you can spend more individual time with customers that really need it.
Enter King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Hotline.
Think about what happens when your baking doesn’t come out right. You have an emotional response: you get frustrated, feel like you wasted your time (and when it comes to bread, this could be over a course of days.) This is when you want to get right on the line QUICK. King Arthur Flour is ready for that with a team of experts on the line who can help you investigate what went wrong and how you might be able to fix it.
After all, a bunch of sad and deflated amateur or newbie bakers don’t exactly result in enthusiastic repeat customers. Without help or enablement, these customers don’t have a compelling reason to keep buying flour to make bread, cakes and other delicious carbs.
In practical terms, when I’m looking for a cookie recipe, an experienced baker on live chat tells me exactly what I need to bake my ideal cookie.
As we said above, customers would rather take two highly efficient channels over five inconsistent ones. It’s great to know if one thing doesn’t work out the way we were hoping, King Arthur has a sweet backup option to get us emergency help.
The experience that King Arthur Flour has engineered for its customers isn’t limited to any one type of company. Every business should be thinking one step ahead of our customers.
The questions you need to be asking is how you can efficiently solve the most problems:
- How can we help the majority of customers be successful?
- How can we enable our customers so they don’t have to take time out of their day to call us?
- What do most customers need help with?
- How can we help customers get from A (where they are) to B (where they want to be)?
To really help customers have a successful experience, you need to be able to deliver the right kind of service to the right customer at the right time…or fall disappointingly flat.
Every company will go through a customer complaint crisis. How prepared are you for managing yours?