49 Customer Experience and Marketing Pros Reveal Their Favorite Examples of Great Customer Service and Customer Experience
Every company wants to provide exceptional customer experiences and top-notch customer service. But what exactly does great customer service look like? What are the elements of a fantastic customer experience? Obviously, meeting (better yet, exceeding) customer expectations is the surest path to customer satisfaction. Meeting and exceeding expectations looks different from company to company, depending on whether you sell products or services, your industry, and your target audience, among other factors.
Great customer service might mean going the extra mile to help a customer with a problem, going out of your way to make life easier for your customers, or creating an atmosphere that makes it so easy and enjoyable to work with you that your customers keep coming back for more – and tell all their friends.
To gain some insight into what makes a great customer experience and what exceptional customer service looks like, we asked a panel of customer experience and marketing professionals to answer this question:
“What’s your favorite example of great customer service and customer experiences?”
Find out what our experts had to say below.
Meet Our Panel of Customer Experience and Marketing Professionals:
John Lombard is Canadian, but has been living and working in China for 23 years and has started three successful businesses there. His latest company, MKS, helps North American companies source products and suppliers in China.
“It takes commitment to create the ideal customer experience…”
Sourcing in China is full of risks, and there are tons of horror stories of how things can go wrong. My goal was to establish a full-service business that not only addresses some of the most common problems when buying products from China (inaccurate or deceptive information, poor communication, etc.) but also provides a level of customer service that others just can’t match.
My first big client was a Canadian company that is producing a unique kind of backpack for primary and high school students. He already had a factory in China that was making it for him but wanted to see what we could do. As our first client, I wanted to establish the highest possible standard. As we looked at the sample from the other factory, our first thought was that we could make a much better quality product. We did this by coordinating work with two different factories, each responsible for different components. Not only did we reach our goal of making a better product, but we were able to do it at the same price he was being charged by the other company. We also saw the need for him to differentiate his product and make it more attractive so we came back to him with suggestions for other products that could be combined with his primary product to make a cohesive package of products. In dealing with the first factory, he’d taken months to communicate and get what he wanted; when he came to China for a five-day visit, we were able to resolve all of his concerns and issues within the first two days. Working with the client to not only make what they want but help them figure out how to improve it and give them options they had never considered resulted in an excellent client experience and a solid foundation for our work as we move forward.
Edward Sturm is a digital video and image producer. His creations have earned him tens of millions of views and have gotten him featured on television shows such as 20/20, Good Morning America, and The Today Show as well as in publications such as The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, and The Verge.
“One of the best customer service experiences I’ve ever had is…”
I listen to a lot of audio books and occasionally I’ll misjudge a title and purchase something that’s completely wrong for me. That happened very recently, and I expected to have to explain this over the phone to Audible’s customer support staff. Nope. It took me just three clicks to make the return, and there were zero hoops to jump through. Audible is owned by Amazon, another company which has always impressed me with their Thank You Economy initiatives.
“To me, great customer service is…”
When one forms a connection with one’s client, through providing an experience that not only meets the client’s needs but goes above and beyond just delivering the product. Although the saying, “The customer is always right,” does not necessarily hold true, the essence of the saying encourages businesses to place a high priority on customer satisfaction, which I believe should always be remembered when providing customer service.
Being part of a team-building/games start-up, customer service is among our top priorities. My favorite example of great customer service and customer experience is when our clients have meaningful interactions with our staff, which not only lets our clients enjoy the team-building games we have for them but also allows for bonds to form between our clients and us. With this, better feedback can be given as we will have a better understanding of our clients’ needs.
Jenn Barber is a mom of two young kids and a marketing manager for a software company in San Diego. Her obsessions are cheese and aerobics videos.
“A recent example of a great customer experience is…”
Receiving my January Birchbox. I was introduced to Birchbox through a gift from my best friend. After my first six months, I debated whether I should renew my membership (having to pay myself now). I decided to go for it, and I’m glad I did. I look forward to receiving my monthly boxes of luxurious beauty products that I wouldn’t choose to buy on my own without the samples. It’s pure indulgence to open up the box, bespeckled with a unique design every month. Birchbox outdid itself in January, with an interactive box design complete with stickers to state what my 2016 was going to be about. I was so excited about it that I tweeted it out to my 2K+ Twitter followers!
Sarah Pike is a communication assistant for CableTV.com and freelance writer. She loves productivity apps, volunteering, and all things Instagram.
“Some of my favorite examples of customer experiences include…”
Experiences that focus on simplicity or simple processes. Lightshot is the best screenshot tool I’ve ever used. You can adjust the screenshot border, draw on it, and copy, save, or print instantly.
Experiences that solve interesting questions. I like www.FlixFindr.com because I can type in any movie or actor and I’ll learn which streaming service to watch on. Our own ‘what to watch’ tool lets people tell us what shows they like and our tool offers more recommendations. Binge Clock is another fun tool that focuses on customer experience, sharing how many hours (or days!) it takes to watch a show series.
Prior to Wantable, Inc., Getz founded BUYSEASONS, Inc. in 1999 and served as President and CEO until December 2010. BUYSEASONS is the largest retailer and supplier of costumes and party supplies on the Internet.
“Here are a couple of specific instances where our customer service team has gone above and beyond…”
My best experience was with a customer who reached out a few times with questions. I related to some of her sizing struggles, and we chatted back and forth through email. I found out she was widowed with younger children and her mother in law had also recently passed away, and she was having a hard time coping. Numerous times she told me how much I had brightened her day and how much she appreciated my help. She was always very sweet and so gracious that it made me want to do my very best to help her. I always tried to go out of my way to correct any problems, have a good interaction,
and relate to her on a personal level. She ended up even sending me a thank you gift packaged to look like one of our orders, and I was beyond floored that a customer would do something like that for me. That type of experience is what makes it all worthwhile, knowing you made that connection and were able to truly help someone. A simple kind-hearted word can make all the difference.
One of my favorite customer interactions was with a woman who hails from NYC, where I’ve recently lived. She reached out to us because she had to travel for business at the last minute and needed more time to review the items from her Style Edit. Her return flight was delayed, and she shared that in addition to managing her Wantable subscription, she was also scrambling to find someone to feed her cat I offered to put her in touch with a few friends in her neighborhood so her poor cat wouldn’t go hungry. Interactions like that one are why I love working for a small startup that values a personal touch and highly individualized customer service experience!
I believe all businesses and business owners have the duty to operate ethically, provide the best product possible, treat customers the way they expect to be treated, and address any mistakes or issues openly and honestly when they happen. As a member of a growing group of Subscription Companies, I feel there are a three additional principals we should all adhere to in order to build trust with our customers and improve the appeal of the subscription model:
#1: Never charge a customer for a subscription without notifying them in advance. Preferably, notifying them with enough time so they can cancel or skip their subscription prior to being billed.
#2: Allow all customers to cancel their subscription via their online account, email or by phone. Do not force customers to call into a call center. If you are willing to take their money without talking to them, you can also stop taking it without forcing them to talk to you.
#3: If you charge a customer, send them your product. Never hold a customer’s money indefinitely without providing your product or service.
Kevin Adkins is the CEO of Kenmore Law Group.
“My favorite example of great customer service and customer experience is the following…”
When I was in Minnesota last year, and it was snowing hard, I was concerned that my grandfather would not be able to go out shopping for groceries, and that he would starve. I called around and found that no grocery stores in the area delivered. When I explained my situation to a certain grocery store, they made an exception and delivered to my grandfather. This is what I call going the extra mile.
Freeman Lewin is the CEO of Gimmee Jimmy’s Cookies, a corporate gift and cookie company. Freeman is an expert on customer experience and customer loyalty and has been featured in over ten major media outlets for his insight on the customer experience. He has also been onboard with numerous other startups, so he has a wide array of knowledge about customer/client relationships.
“Benjamin Franklin once said ‘well done is better than well said.’ That statement sheds some light on how important the customer experience is. One of my favorite examples of stellar customer service is…”
The Southwest Airlines story where the pilot held up the plane for a passenger who missed his flight. The passenger was traveling to see his three-year-old grandson for the last time, and when they heard about the story, the pilot waited for the passenger even though he arrived at the airport late. That says a lot about their brand stands for. The best customer service tip I can give is never to look at your customers like a number or a dollar sign. Actively listen to and engage with them, and show them you appreciate them on a regular basis.
Lee Evans is the CEO and co-founder of SurveyMe.
“One example of a great customer experience that made an impact on me is…”
We (my wife Nicola and I) spent two weeks recently at The Four Seasons hotel in Maui to celebrate our wedding anniversary and birthdays. Practically from the moment we arrived every staff member knew our names and throughout the stay they smiled and said hello. We arrived into our room late at night, and we found the shutters did not close fully. Within ten minutes they had a maintenance man fixing it and to apologize, unprompted, they brought us a wonderful complimentary room service meal. For our
wedding anniversary, they left a complimentary bottle of champagne and chocolates in our room plus a lei made from my wife’s favorite flowers. On each birthday, we received personalized cakes and cards personally signed by the management team. Every day of our stay there was usually a wonderful
surprise delivered to us by the pool and it was always with the same Polynesian warmth. From the get-go, the staff paid attention observing what we liked, and they seemed to predict we might enjoy the same again the following day at roughly the same time.
Teddy Poulos owns and operates a small locksmith company in Charlotte NC. A-Access Lock & Key has been in business for over 20 years and the company’s number one goal is to have satisfied customers. Remember, the customer is always right!
“One example of Great customer service is…”
Helping someone when they are in an emergency. We had an elderly lady locked out of her house at about 9 pm and it was cold outside. We usually close at 6 pm. After we answered the call and heard the lady in distress, we made an exception and went to help her out. This does not happen often, but is an example of great customer service and she was thrilled that she did not have to stay out all night in the cold. Sometimes you have to bend the rules a little and go the extra mile for your customers. It is especially rewarding when this happens.
Adrienne Barker, MAS is a Principal and Corporate Vice President at Barker Specialty Company, a promotional product distributor based in Orlando, Florida, with the largest showroom in Cheshire, Connecticut, and offices throughout the U.S.
“The best example of excellent customer service I’ve encountered, and my experience as the customer, is…”
I called my supplier in the industry with a vague idea of what I needed along with a few sketches that looked like a 5-year-olds scribble. The customer service rep first listened to my babble and then all of a sudden she had ESP. She began to tell me exactly what I needed and explained she would follow up in 20 minutes with the suggestions and mock-ups showing a design that I would like. I watched the clock and sure enough within 18 minutes I received her ideas and logo design along with answers to questions I did not even know I would have. She read my mind, anticipated my questions, stayed true to her schedule, made sure she had all my information and my contact information and then followed up the next day!
Dirk Spencer is a former government analyst, turned corporate recruiter and is the author of Resume Psychology Resume Hacks & Traps Revealed – Beat the Machine. Be Seen. Get Hired! A fact-based, science-focused approach to modern resumes.
Dirk shares his technical and process insights to help people hack their resumes to be more effective when applying to job openings.
“Let’s talk about AMAZON.Com. I noticed something I had not experienced before with other online retailers…”
When returning a series of items back to Amazon, I noticed something very interesting about when I received my refunds. It was within seconds of my package being scanned by UPS or USPS!
This means Amazon is not waiting until they receive my return in some warehouse. They provide my refund once they have control of the package! That is customer service.
Bryan Clayton is a serial Green Industry entrepreneur who led his previous organization through successful acquisition. Bryan’s passion is building purpose-driven teams and companies in the Green Industry, creating value and opportunity for everyone he works with. Bryan is the co-founder of GreenPal. You can connect with him on Google+.
“We recently decided to tackle the same challenge. How do we evoke a personal connection with our customer with great service?…”
We have around 2,000 currently, and we want to figure out a scalable, effective way to get closer to them.
After brainstorming, we came up with an idea to tap into our customer’s soul through their pets. When a homeowner signs up for our service we gather information on if they have pets, and if so what are their names. We do this so that our lawn vendors know to be careful when entering the lawn.
We decided we could use this info about our customer to send a personalized gift to our customers’ pet, addressed to them.
This wowed our customers; we received personal thank you notes, videos of their dog chewing the bone we sent posted to FB, and thank you tweets. It worked really well for the time and money we invested.
Todd Kelly is the Sales Director at Zing Broadband, which provides wireless broadband internet to residential customers in the United States, predominantly throughout rural America.
“My favorite example of great customer service is anytime that…”
Our company is able to match a customer’s needs with one of our great products. I recently worked with a mother who was searching for Internet service to use so she could home school her two children. After getting to know her, we were able to really pinpoint her needs. I love when I can improve someone’s life by helping them get connected.
Unfortunately, a lot of rural America goes without the proper access to high-speed Internet. There are satellite Internet companies that are trying to create more viable solutions, but the process isn’t immediate. Zing Broadband is an authorized reseller of one of those leading companies, HughesNet.
Roberta Perry is the President and Owner of Scrubz Body Scrub, Inc. The mission of ScrubzBody™ is to create simple, effective, natural, skin care products, for body and face.
“One of our favorite stories is about our customer Lisa and our daily moisturizer, Oilz+™…”
She asked us more than once for a pump type lotion, and at the time we only had an oil spray and a very thick butter type balm, nothing in between. We decided to try out different ratios of the Shea butter we had in our Balmz™ with the eight-oil blend we had in Oilz™. After various attempts, we had a consistency and a product we loved. We created one in Lisa’s favorite scent and gave her a six-month supply on the house. Needless to say, we were both very pleased. We launched the line and it became one of our best sellers. To this day, Lisa continues to be a brand ambassador for us and tells everyone she invented OIlz+™.
Steven Macdonald is an online marketer at SuperOffice and is based in Tallinn, Estonia.
“My favorite example of great customer service is as follows…”
In May 2011, a three-year-old named Lily Robinson wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s, a UK grocery store, asking, “Why is tiger bread called tiger bread and not giraffe bread?” To Lily’s surprise, Chris King, the customer service manager of Sainsbury’s responded with, “I think renaming it to giraffe bread is a brilliant idea!” In January 2012, the bread was renamed to giraffe bread.
Jacqueline (Jaci) Burns is Managing Director of Market Expertise, a business-to-business agency which services the marketing, communications, business development and associated human capital needs of ‘smart companies’ in the professional services, financial and technology sectors. Based in Australia, her agency’s clients include several US-headquartered international brands.
“The best customer service experience I ever had was…”
I’m a professional female with a shoe fetish. Some years ago I was walking through the financial district in Sydney when my stiletto slipped between a crack in the pavers, snapping the wafer-thin heel. I hobbled to a cobbler to have my shoe repaired only to be told it was an impossible task – my Dolce & Gabanna pump (picture black leather with a pointed toe and small silver padlock adorning the back) was simply too delicate to handle. In desperation, I wrote a letter to Domenico Dolce himself and mailed it, along with my damaged shoe, to his company’s headquarters in Milan. I kid you not; my shoe was returned, perfectly repaired, within about 36 hours. It’s an example of exceptional customer service I’ve shared countless times. Bravo!
Kate Spasi? takes pride in being a person. She graduated from a law school and got her masters in nonprofit management. Kate is a thriving intrapreneur of Bikes&Humans Cooperative and enjoys cycling, 3D printing & transcendental meditation.
“One of the best customer experiences I’ve had is…”
As I was conceptualizing and operational my own business, Airbnb always served as a great inspiration. I was an Airbnb host for two years; when you frequently let strangers into your house, chances are something will go wrong. However, nothing major ever did. There were minor disputes I was always easily resolving through Airbnb. As a host, I always felt like they really care about my input and was given support. Not a lot of business make you feel like a human being; Airbnb does that, and it’s real. They continuously change in the direction of serving their beneficiaries better. Also, they are the pioneers of shared economy, which is pretty awesome. I hope my own business follows their examples.
Chad Bordelon is the Owner of Fleur de Lis Event Center.
“The best example of customer service I have ever seen is when…”
My bridal staff at the end of a wedding helped the bride, who had had too much to drink, into the limo that we provided for them to leave in. They went to the hotel, brought her upstairs and helped her out of her wedding dress, then put her in her pajamas and tucked her in bed, because this wasn’t exactly what the groom was expecting for the night and he didn’t know how to handle the situation. They then rode back to the event center with the limo driver.
Lou Altman strategizes, teaches, and preaches Customer Service redemption. He is an impactful executive who has led sales teams to records, run sales campaigns in the hundreds of millions of dollars and created and implemented client retention programs at multiple companies. His Client Care training company, Next Level, guides teams towards common principles that develop long-term change through highly interactive, highly engaging training experiences.
“As a Customer Service Redeemer, I always appreciate excellent customer service – or as I call it, Client Care…”
On a recent flight home, I was early enough to the airport to catch an earlier flight. I went to the airline club since that would have been home for the next four hours and the customer service agent, looked up my existing flight, tapped a few keys and handed me a new boarding pass for the earlier flight. Having mentally prepared myself to pay additional fees, I questioned, “No airfare difference, no change fees?” She responded, “I’m retiring in a month; let them track me down.” She then leaned over the
counter and whispered, “I’m also wearing flats,” a jab at the ‘heels-only’ company policy.
It was refreshing and exciting (because I feel like I got away with something). This agent took on my issue and instead of punishing me for life happening, she gave me a few more hours at home for no money. It was brilliant!
Mikaela is a native Seattleite, executive coach, and Founder/CEO of uniquelyHR – No Nonsense HR for Startups. She delivers results by building trust and engaging her clients in creative problem solving. Clients appreciate her strategic thinking and hands-on execution. She’s happily married to Henry, who’s an artist and musician, and their two kids are a constant source of learning and laughter.
“The experience I can’t stop raving about is my office at WeWork Seattle…”
I chose them for their location, flexibility, pricing, and focus on building community but that turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg. The look and feel from the lobby to the lounges on each floor truly make it fun to come to work every day. The staff and community manager are always available, greeting everyone by name, and ready to chat. Here are a few things they do that make them stand out:
- Happy hours galore from Thank God It’s Monday to cocktails on Friday, and holiday celebrations. What a great way to unwind and network.
- Super friendly, casual, down to earth and responsive. I don’t think it’s ever taken them more than an hour to get back to me.
- Personal reminders (and I mean in person) when companies are hosting meetings and lunch & learns.
The best part? After I had mentioned in passing that my son runs a cupcake business, I got an email asking if he could supply cupcakes for the next happy hour. They asked how much he charged, and whether he takes Amex. He wound up making two dozen Halloween-themed cupcakes that were a huge hit. He’s only thirteen and doesn’t take Amex (yet) but was nicely surprised when the team gave him an official Sounders soccer ball and a lovely hand written thank you, encouraging him to keep thinking like an entrepreneur. I think I’ll stay at WeWork forever!
Motivational speaker, author, and consultant Barry Maher has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC, and he’s frequently featured in publications like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Times, Business Week and USA Today.
His client list includes organizations like ABC, the American Management Association, Budget Rent a Car, Canon, Cessna, Fox Cable Television, Fuji, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Lufthansa Airlines, Merck, the National Lottery of Ireland, the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Government, Verizon and Wells Fargo
His books include Filling the Glass, which has been cited as [One of] The Seven Essential Popular Business Books, by Today’s Librarian along with books like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and The One Minute Manager.
“One memorable customer service experience for me has been…”
Arriving late Friday night for an early morning keynote on Saturday, I discovered the airline had lost my luggage, which meant dashing out to a clothing store and banging on the door to get them to open early. After which, both the salesperson and the owner did everything humanly possible to find me the clothes I needed, calling all over town to make sure the pants were properly hemmed and pressed, then getting me back to the conference hotel just in time for my presentation. If you’re ever in Roanoke, I can heartily recommend Davidson’s.
Haroon Ahmad is the Director of Public Relations at JotForm, a popular online form-building tool based in San Francisco. Its simple drag-and-drop interface along with conveniently sortable submission data allows you to create forms and analyze data without writing a single line of code.
“My favorite example of excellent customer experience is…”
Recurring monthly subscriptions are common. JotForm, a tech company that specializes in online form building, offers several different monthly subscription deals. I work in the public relations department of JotForm, however, from time to time, I jump on customer support to know what customers want and need. I received a customer who was unaware that she was still paying for her monthly subscription. She created a RSVP form for her 50-year anniversary one-year ago and didn’t know she was still paying each month for our services. She wanted to cancel her subscription, yet our owner gave her money back for each month she did not use our service. JotForm wants to provide the best customer service experience.
David Scarola is the Vice President of The Alternative Board. Dave has over 20 years of product development and technology experience across many different industries including telecommunications, hospitality, healthcare and financial services. Most recently, he was Chief Information Officer of ResortQuest International, a vacation property management and real estate company. Prior to that, Dave spent five years in business consulting with BearingPoint, leading a variety of consulting and Information Technology programs for various Fortune 500 companies.
“One of my favorite customer service experiences I’ve seen is…”
On a recent trip to Panera, I ordered a takeout salad, so I could get back to my desk as quickly as possible. I waited in a long line only to receive my salad on a plate.
The counter server’s response was the perfect example of great customer service. The Panera folks didn’t blame me or the order-taker, but offered to make a brand new salad (which I declined), then packed up the lunch in record speed. They were calm and collected – a huge feat for a team facing lines of hungry people every day. It’s a rare skill to maintain composure when something goes wrong.
With customer service, the number one skill set to have is not taking issues personally. Instead of feeling personally attacked, an effective customer service rep will exhibit empathy towards the customer. Great customer service begins with maintaining a level of maturity to listen to customer complaints and productively resolve the issue.
Chip R. Bell is a senior partner with The Chip Bell Group and manages their office near Atlanta. Before starting CBG in 1980, he was Director of Management and Organization Development for NCNB (now Bank of America). Dr. Bell holds graduate degrees from Vanderbilt University and the George Washington University. He was a highly decorated infantry unit commander in Viet Nam with the elite 82nd Airborne. Chip is the author or co-author of several best-selling books including The 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service, Managers as Mentors, Wired and Dangerous, Take Their Breath
Away, Magnetic Service, Service Magic, Customers as Partners and Managing Knock Your Socks off Service. A renowned keynote speaker, Chip has served as consultant or trainer to such organizations as
GE, Microsoft, Marriott, Universal Orlando, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, KeyBank, Harley-Davidson, Cadillac, USAA, Verizon Wireless, Lockheed-Martin, Allstate, and Victoria’s Secret.
“One of the most memorable customer service experiences I’ve heard about is…”
My good friend tore down a shed in his side yard. The ugly old shed was in stark contrast with the rest of his highly coiffured lawn. He decided to turn the space into a flower garden complete with a lattice-covered sitting area. When it came time to purchase plants and ornamental trees, he took along his six-year-old granddaughter, Amy. The salesperson at the nursery treated Amy as a part of the decision-making process to the delight of my friend. Amy got to be the salesperson’s helper, and he even asked her opinion on some of the plants.
Amy was over at her granddaddy’s house the afternoon the plants and trees were delivered. After all had been placed in the spots where they would be planted, the driver had one more plant to unload. It was a small, aromatic rosemary plant with a tag that read, “Amy’s plant.” She was thrilled and got to personally choose the spot where it would be planted. Now, every time she visits Paw Paw she races to the side yard to check on the growth of her plant.
Whenever someone visits my friend’s garden, or seeks his input on a good place to buy plants, or asks about any topic even remotely related to horticulture, that inquirer will get to hear the “Amy’s Plant” story. Don’t wait for your customers to wear an “Ask Me About My Granddaughter” button. Find ways to learn the target of their affinity and add it to your list as well.
Lee Singleton is the Director of Client Relations for Tax Defense Network, LLC, a tax resolution company with headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida. Tax Defense Network, LLC has a staff of fully qualified tax professionals who are at your disposal. The initial consultation is at no cost to you, and you are under no obligation after speaking with a professional consultant. To learn more about Tax Defense Network’s A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, our partnership with Jackson Hewitt, and the company’s many years of helping taxpayers just like you, please visit Tax Defense Network.
“Some of the best examples of customer service are based on the company’s underlying philosophy…”
Tax Defense Network, LLC distinguishes itself through our company philosophy of FIRE and ICE. Our core beliefs are that all clients should be ‘Fully Informed with Reasonable Expectations’ as to the services we can provide. This philosophy has become the basis of all of the communications we provide to taxpayers, because we understand the worries of our clients. While FIRE defines how we communicate with clients, ICE, the ‘Ideal Client Experience,’ describes how we treat our clients. This ideology strengthens not only our existing client base but allows new clients to know that we’re a company they can trust.
Here are a few specific tips for ensuring a positive client experience:
- Don’t over-talk your clients. Understand that he or she may simply need to vent. Know when just to listen to what they have to say before responding.
- Never disregard a client or customer concern. Regardless of whether or not you agree with what your client is saying, acknowledge that you understand the issue and offer a tangible solution.
- Avoid negative talk. Even if your client’s attitude or language is negative, steer the conversation toward a more positive track.
- Avoid indifference. Provide empathy to your customer and actively participate in the conversation to show him or her that you care about what they’re saying.
- Don’t forget who you’re talking to. Remember, your customers and clients are the life’s blood of your organization and without them, you’re out of business.
A recent client testimonial* demonstrates Tax Defense Network’s commitment to stellar customer service. Though they encountered a serious setback, a TDN employee was able to make sure the client’s experience with Tax Defense Network was ultimately a positive one:
“I recently received the best news I could have hoped for from my most patient and optimistic tax professional! He called me early on the 23rd of December to tell me that the IRS had accepted my application for a hardship status judgment that my wife and I have been hoping and praying for! The IRS had recently turned down our offer and compromise that he and his team had been strategically preparing for me for most of the year. I had then lost all hope and thought that I would surely have to live with this burden of approximately $12,000. I was quite depressed. But he was not ready to throw in the towel and let me begin to make monthly payments for the rest of my life. He advised me to let him try to make the IRS understand that this debt was just impossible for me to pay back and live within normal comfort conditions at my and my wife’s age. I had basically given up, but he and his people laid out a new strategy and to my delight, succeeded! He and his group have changed my life for the better, and I am so grateful! He always kept me up to date with all things going on and never made any false promises. And at the same time, he was respectable and compassionate.”
-Donald, from C.A.
*Identifying information removed from testimonial
Andy Lindus is the COO of Lindus Construction; a multi-generational, family owned general contracting company that has been in business since 1979.
“One of my favorite examples of great customer service is…”
We strongly encourage our installation department to take initiative during the job and identify an unrelated task they can undertake for clients free of charge. In one particular instance, a crew even mowed the yard of a customer who was struggling with the lawnmower.
Matt Sabo is a senior writer with Consociate Media, a PR & Marketing firm on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. I write press releases, blog posts, web content, ghost write and provide other content. You can read more from Matt at his personal blog, 14 Kids and Blessed.
“My favorite example of great customer service is…”
I was driving to Oregon from Virginia with my wife and 11 kids. About 8 of those kids were with me in a 15-passenger van, and my oldest daughter was traveling with us in a separate car with 2 of my kids riding with her. We were traveling through Wyoming when we saw signs that I-80 was closed west of Evanston, Wyo., in Utah due to a major traffic accident that closed the eastbound lanes of the interstate. I had visions of being stuck in traffic for hours on end with a large number of captive kids. Not good.
We were checking our atlas and GPS trying to get an alternate route to our destination of Boise, Idaho, and we’re having serious trouble. That’s when I hit on this crazy idea of calling the Wyoming Department of Transportation. Then I thought, “How stupid is that?” Because my experience as a newspaper reporter for 20 some years had been that it’s often really hard to get a live person on the phone and even harder to get someone who is responsive. But I thought I would try. I looked up the WDOT info on Facebook, and we found a number. My wife called and got a live person on the phone! Not only that, he was so extremely helpful I nearly drove off the interstate in shock! This gentleman, whose name I, unfortunately, have forgotten but may have been Wayne, spent about 10 minutes or so with my wife on the phone giving her the alternate route, telling her in great detail where to turn off the interstate, the highway to take and walking her through a particularly confusing part of the map where highways converged. It was incredible! We avoided the accident/congestion on I-80 and made it to Pocatello, Idaho, and then on to Boise with no problem.
Here’s the best part of the story, though. That drive we took was spectacular. The scenery was gorgeous, and we traveled through these little verdant valleys on the river bottoms, through the vast, wide-open
plains of Wyoming and through the mountain passes of Wyoming and Idaho. The highway roughly followed the old Oregon Trail taken by the pioneers, so that was pretty cool as well. My older kids told me later how much they loved that drive.
I am forever grateful to the Wyoming Department of Transportation and their employee who provided us with excellent customer service.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation, a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.
“My favorite examples of excellent customer service are…”
One of my favorite examples of great customer service is when we had a customer who needed to form a business and their escrow was closing the next day, and they needed the incorporation paperwork back from the state immediately. We are a document processing service, and our goal is a quick turn-around, but we can rarely get the documents filed same day with the state. One of our team members went above and decided to drive the documents down to the state herself. The documents were filed with the state, the corporation was formed, and the escrow closed in time. Our entire company was involved in the close of the deal and with helping the customer and we felt like it was a scenario that was true to our focus of top-notch, customer-focused service that really wows our clients.
It truly makes my heart happy to hear from our customers when they’ve had a special experience with us. It’s not uncommon for our team to receive very flowery thank you emails from our customers. What seem to stick out to our customers are our positive attitudes and efficiency – we definitely treat our customers like real people.
Leeyen Rogers is the VP of Marketing at JotForm, a popular online form-building tool based in San Francisco. Its simple drag-and-drop interface along with conveniently sortable submission data allows you to create forms and analyze their data without writing a single line of code. JotForm is the solution for online payments, contact forms, lead collection, surveys, registrations, applications, online booking, event registrations, and more.
“My favorite example of great customer service was when…”
I went to a bike rental shop, and they didn’t have a bike in my size available. The employee pointed me in the right direction of a competitor’s shop that did have bikes available. It was very nice and makes me want to shop at the store again (when they have the right inventory!).
I once had a disappointing experience with furniture delivery company MoveLoot, which turned into a positive one once I had communicated my problems with a customer service representative. The item never showed up during the confirmed delivery time. My roommate had taken the morning off to accommodate the expected delivery time, then needed to extend it to take off the whole day when the item never arrived. Then, we received an unexpected email with a new delivery time when we had never received any responses to our reach-outs through email and phone.
To remedy this aggravating experience, we were given a discount off the item, as well as 15% off indefinitely as the customer support representative had given us his personal promo code. He was understanding, professional, and helpful in all of our interactions with him, which made sure that we were going to continue to be loyal customers despite our one-time disappointing experience.
More than 25 years of real world experience has helped Gregg become the dynamic, well-versed Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) he is today. Gregg’s captivating, high-energy keynotes, breakouts and training sessions help design collaborative teams that produce tangible, bottom-line results. With Gregg’s concepts in place, organizations thrive with a stronger team culture, a more highly energized workforce, compatibility across team lines, and greater profitability. Learn more about Gregg’s work at TeamsRock.
“My favorite example of exceptional customer service is far too long to explain in a written response…”
In this blog post, Marriott Hotels CEO Bill Marriott talks about me and shares the video, stating, “It’s a very moving tale about how Alex Shane and the rest of the hotel’s staff supported Gregg when he suffered a personal loss. Since Gregg is the professional speaker, I’ll let him recount that night’s events for you.”
You can watch the video that Bill Marriott shared with his team and has been viewed more than 128,000 times here.
Christie Summervill is the CEO of BalancedComp, a compensation consulting firm that works with financial institutions to tie their salary administration program to their performance management process for all positions.
“One of my favorite examples of a great customer experience is…”
A female CEO of a $2B credit union was paid $20,000 under the minimum of the range. Her annual bonus was the same as the other executives, which was also under the market. I happened to be onsite to work with their HR department on establishing salary ranges for every position at the same time the board was meeting. They asked for my informal opinion just because I was onsite. I had the most recent data with me and provided it. This allowed the board to feel comfortable about making the decision to pay equitably to the market, and she got a significant raise and bonus, as well as a plan to how this would be calculated in the future. There was no charge because I happened to be there and was willing and able to help.
We do this all the time. For us, it isn’t unusual, but I am very sure she felt it was a great example of customer service. Customer Service isn’t just doing what you are paid to do. It is caring enough to do far beyond what was asked of you. I always tell my staff if Business isn’t personal, let me help you find another place to work.
Brandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and places tens of thousands of highly skilled candidates each year into positions ranging from executive and administrative assistant to receptionist and customer service representative.
“We recently conducted a survey at OfficeTeam and participants offered several great examples of stellar customer service…”
A few of the examples of great customer service and customer experiences from the OfficeTeam survey include:
- A company sent me a gift card in appreciation for me pointing out a glitch on their website.
- My cable TV provider called me several days in a row to make sure everything was working correctly.
- At my local coffee shop, one barista remembers my seasonal favorites and warns me as the flavors get low or when there is a limited time to get them.
- A cashier found extra coupons I hadn’t known were available to give me more savings on an item I bought.
- When a customer left his wallet at an establishment, the employee put it in safe keeping for three days. When it wasn’t claimed, the worker drove to the address on the ID to return it to the owner.
- I was looking for a pair of suit pants for my husband and the store we were in didn’t have his size. The employee called every store within 100 miles to check on inventory and did so with a smile.
Here are some stats from a recent OfficeTeam study that you might be interested in:
- 42% of people said they encounter poor customer service at least monthly.
- 59% said it takes just 1 or 2 bad customer service experiences to decide not to work with a company in the future.
- 71% said they are likely to contact a company with feedback after a good customer experience.
- 79% would reach out after receiving bad service.
Angie Stocklin is the co-founder, COO, and Head of Customer Happiness for One Click, a company that owns and operates felix + iris, Readers.com, and SunglassWarehouse.com. She assists with overall company strategy and is directly responsible for Merchandising, Customer Happiness, and Fulfillment.
“Here are just a few of my favorite examples of great customer service – our handwritten thank you cards to customers…”
1. A customer called in to get the Lynwood because they were perfect for his Santa outfit. We sent him a card thanking him for his order, along with a wish that his new readers will allow him to spread lots of holiday cheer this Christmas season. We also included a naughty/nice list joke at the end.
2. We had a customer order a Fit Kit, and it was really past due. They asked for an extension which we gave, but when the kit finally came back, there was a note from the husband apologizing about how late the kit was. It had been for his wife, and she unexpectedly had ended up in the hospital and was still there after weeks. So we got a card and wrote to her to tell her that we were thinking of her and hoped she would get well soon. Everyone in Customer Happiness + I (Angie) signed it.
3. A customer called in with standard questions about the site. During our conversation, she talked about how the post office was raising its prices. This bothered her so she had called them and they told her that they had to because no one writes cards and snail mails them anymore. She stated it made total sense because she had not received a handwritten note in ages. We used her phone number to find her in our system and wrote a handwritten thank you note so she would receive mail.
4. A customer called in and requested to speak to the same person who had helped them originally because they loved the care they were given and even got a thank you card after the conversation. This time, when talking with the customer, she elaborated on how much that card meant to her. She said that she never gets mail like that anymore and because it’s the holidays, she said what she misses the most are the beautiful Christmas cards she used to get. So the representative bought her a Christmas card and wrote her a note, enclosing a gift (cleaning cloth), wishing her the happiest of holidays.
There are several other examples that come to mind as well. For instance, FNI customers sometimes leave little notes on their returned Fit Kits in the “what else should we know about your glasses” section stating things like no matter what they do, their glasses fit their face crooked because their left ear is higher than their right, or vice versa. So before they ship out to the customer, they are adjusted to accommodate for that as much as possible without having them in front of us. We then enclose a note saying “We hope this special adjustment helps!”
When a customer calls with a defective or damaged item, we do not make them prove it to us. We take them for their word and immediately ship out a new item that we have double checked for damage by fulfillment, all while apologizing for the inconvenience. We have received multiple calls from customers who don’t want to, or can’t use the internet/computer. They have heard about us through referrals but want to see the product. We take the time to create a print out with photos, prices, and colors and mail it to them. We have several third party vendors that ship orders for us. There have been a number of occasions that the vendor refused to offer a replacement for a defective or lost item. Rather than have a customer dissatisfied, our company has incurred additional product and shipping costs to reship items as soon as possible.
Our company is an e-tailer, and we don’t have a brick and mortar office or storefront. Even so we have opened our doors for local customers who wanted to come and try on different styles of glasses and purchase right on the spot. Sometimes our service representatives run back and forth from the reception area to the very back of our warehouse several times to allow our customers to make the perfect selection. Now we also offer a pickup option so that our community can pick up their items and ‘buy local.’ We have had multiple customers call us confusing us with other companies. One of the more common ones is Reader’s Digest. I believe multiple girls have gone ahead and assisted these customers with what they need from finding what they are looking for to unsubscribing them.
Allen Klein, CSP, aka “Mr. Jollytologist”, is an award-winning professional speaker and best-selling author of 25 books including The Healing Power of Humor, Change Your Life!; A Little Book of Big Ideas, and You Can’t Ruin My Day.
“There is one great customer experience that is quite memorable for me…”
Several years ago, I planned an event for 70 people. The only requirements were that it had to be both elegant and fun. I decided on a high tea since it was elegant but I was puzzled on how to make it fun until I came up A Mad Hatter Tea Party”. Knowing that both the Ritz-Carlton and another hotel in San Francisco (which shall remain nameless) do a high tea I looked at both of them as a venue for the event. While both have a reputation for excellence, the difference between them was like night and day. When the catering manager at the Ritz heard about the idea, she immediately got behind it and offered several wonderful and inspired suggestions. “Why not have one very long table for 70 people? Just like the table in Alice in Wonderland.” “How about the White Rabbit in the lobby of the hotel greeting guests?” Then she came up with an idea that topped both of these. After showing me the section of the ballroom where the event might take place, she said, “Come with me. I have a better location.” She escorted me to the terrace level and suggested that the party be held outdoors. Not only was there an incredible view of beautiful San Francisco but topiary trees were lining the terrace — perfect for an Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter Tea Party celebration.
Not everything went smoothly (does it ever?), but the staff at the Ritz always made it right. For example, the day before the event I got a call from the catering manager suggesting that we move the event indoors. The unpredictability of the weather that weekend was one of the main factors for the change. Of course, I was disappointed, but the manager had already thought of how to bring the outdoors indoors. She ordered numerous eight-foot high green hedges and had them lining the entire walls of the ballroom.
The staff too went out of their way to make this event a success. The moment we walked in to set up the room, one of the staff came over and offered us some iced tea. At the end of the party, they loaded us down with boxes of leftover pasties. But it wasn’t until after the event that I found out how incredible the staff really was. Afterward, someone told me that while we were setting up, one of the waiters had accidentally spilled a bit of water on a guest’s jacket. Without being asked, the waiter took the jacket to the hotel tailor to be cleaned and pressed. Wait, there is more… During the party, one of the guests had a very large prop which they used in a presentation. When they were done, they put it on the floor. When I saw a video of the party, there was a waiter in the background bringing out an easel for the prop. No one asked him to do it. He simply saw what was needed to be done and did it. And there was one more thing that impressed me. The catering manager gave me a wonderful gift—a Ritz-Carlton mug, Ritz-Carlton tea, and Ritz-Carlton strawberry jam. Next time I need a location for an elegant event where do you think I’ll go? No question about it. The . . . . _________________
Following her transition from union employee to Human Resources Expert, MacLeod created “From the Inside Out Project®” with all levels of employment in mind to assist in maintaining a harmonious workplace. Laura teaches conflict resolution, problem-solving, and listening skills using an innovative method that addresses the human interactive challenges. Her methods have proven successful in various industries including the fields of business, hospitality, retail, and banking.
“My favorite example of great customer service comes from…”
My direct experience working in a NYC hotel (Restaurant/Bar) when Hurricane Sandy hit. My co-workers and I were stuck in the hotel for several days, and we had to manage a group of frightened, frustrated, angry and unnerved guests. We set boundaries: Sir- there is nothing I can do. When your food is ready,
I’ll get it to you. We showed empathy: I know this is tough. I’m stuck here too- haven’t seen my husband in a week. We helped each other when tempers ran high and guests behaved inappropriately: “Excuse me, is there a problem? My co-worker Joe just told you that you’ve had enough. I can’t serve you. We’re happy to get you a cup of coffee.” This is real customer service – managing people in the worst of times.
Scott Cundill is the CEO of Majestic3.com, which builds cutting-edge communication software that can integrate anywhere. In fact, Majestic3 is built completely as an open API.
“My favorite example of excellent customer service is from…”
My first trip to the USA in over a decade. I was so excited because I always wanted to visit the pure white crystal beach in Sarasota. And it was in this lovely town that I discovered my first Whole Foods. I loved the place and what happened to me at the end of my shopping spree made my jaw drop.
At the till after I had paid, a charming young chap came up to me. He said something that I will never forget. He said:
“How would you like your bags packed today sir?”
I was dumbfounded. You mean you actually have options? Wow! This was a customer service experience that was so simple, yet unforgettable. As a result of this encounter, I will never forget Whole Foods in Sarasota and the man who asked me how I wanted my bags to be packed.
Mike McCann is an MBA, author, entrepreneur, and coach residing in Charleston, SC where writing and freelancing take up most of his time.
“One of my most memorable examples of great customer service is…”
As I went through the Starbucks drive through in Neptune Beach, FL the other day, I was distracted and not necessarily in a good way. I pulled through and ordered a Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte – I’ve been trained well.
As I pull up to the window, the young guy at the window is smiling at me like he’s had four shots of espresso in the last hour. He’s as positive as can be and I can’t help but courteously smile back. I pay, get my coffee, and right as I begin to pull out he spots something in my passenger seat.
(Half-joking) Starbucks guy: “I see you’ve been cheating on us, eh?”
Sheepish me: “Uh…Um…No! I mean, yes, but it was because I was traveling and
there wasn’t a Starbucks…”
Starbucks guy: “Haha it’s OK, you’re here now! Have a great day!”
Me: “Haha will do, you too. Merry Christmas!
Starbucks guy: “Merry Christma…..”
I was caught off guard, big time. He spotted a Dunkin Donuts coffee cup in my car from the day prior. He knew that the brand he represented had such a cult-like following that he could get away with a statement like that, and I would get the joke! I loved it; I was blown away by his ability to think on his feet and make me laugh from a drive-thru. Would he be able to do that if he worked at a McDonald’s? Hardly.
Starbucks guy didn’t need to know that I regularly have Starbucks, and that’s my coffee spot of choice in my hometown. All he knows is that the average Starbucks drinker swings by 18 times per month. He knows his customers are loyal, and he has a bond with them, even if they’re not one of his regulars. He can make jokes like that and not make people feel uncomfortable. He read the situation very well and acted quickly to make me remember this interaction so much that I wrote about it.
Ryan Bartlett is the Founder of SEOdirect.org.
“The most impactful customer experience I’ve ever had was…”
Mastro’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills used to call you the next day and ask how your night went at their restaurant. It was a nice touch even though I knew deep down it was just a hostess running down the list and doing her job. It didn’t matter. It was the thought that mattered and that always stuck with me. I don’t think I’ve ever had a restaurant do that in my entire life. Pure class.
Molly Dye is the President of MDF Designs, LLC and Owner of CareZips, a company specializing in the creation, development, sales, and marketing of apparel to meet the challenges of adult incontinence in the elder population or any person with a temporary or permanent disability caused by injury or disease.
“My favorite example of great customer service is…”
We, a company based in Atlanta, Georgia received word from a customer in Fargo, North Dakota that his family was in an emergency situation with their mother. They needed a pair of CareZips – day-wear that aid in adult incontinence issues. His father had been a successful user of the pants, and they were in dire straits for a pair for his mother who while he didn’t say it, I surmised was dying. He offered to pay the delivery fee; I, of course, feeling for him said do not worry, sprang into action, and immediately indicated he would receive a pair early the next morning by FedEx (the closest delivery store to our business).
I forgot that it was a Friday. Saturday early delivery by FedEx is not inexpensive – at least to a small business such as ours. Sure enough, the charge was twice the cost of the pants and a little more.
I ate it. Several weeks later I called to follow up to ensure that he had received and that his mother’s situation was as to be expected…not knowing what to expect. He reported that his mother was doing great; her imminent death turned around, and she was practically up and walking around. She and her caregivers were loving the pants. He even told a bit of a funny story which I cleaned up and positioned as a testimonial on our site.
Pamela Wagner has worked with multiple companies – from banks to NGOs and startups to Google – on four continents for the last seven years. Her primary goal is to support your business growth through efficient digital marketing strategies across several tools and platforms. You’ll find her doing that for clients worldwide – whether she’s in the hustle and bustle of New York City, the vibrant surroundings of Dubai, or any other of the many beautiful places in the world.
“The absolute best customer service I received so far is from…”
GoPro: timely, friendly, and efficient. I had an issue when ordering the camera online that the system simply won’t accept my payment details which were all correct. A mixture of technical difficulty, country specifics, and order characteristics made the chaos perfect. I called GoPro. And from that moment on, we were in touch for around 48 hours – sometimes even every hour. The team tried different options, I tried different options, and through trial and error, my order finally went through. It has been the best customer service experience I had so far – super devoted and A+ communication.
Murray Grossan, M.D.
Dr. Grossan is known for original thinking, especially for drug-free therapies he has developed for tinnitus, empty nose syndrome, allergy, sinusitis and other conditions. In addition to authoring 31 medical articles, he is the author of several popular sinus books. His latest is The Whole Body Approach to Allergy and Sinus Relief. Thanks to his latest innovation, many patients are able to avoid antibiotics with their side effects. Dr. Grossan originated the biofeedback treatment of tinnitus as well as developed a unique approach to postnasal drip and breath problems. Learn more about Dr. Grossan and his treatments at Grossan Institute.
“One of the best customer experiences I’ve had is…”
We have a SEARS home policy that covers all of our appliances
We have been pleased with this service. Knowing that the repair technicians are regular employees is comforting, rather than having total strangers in your home. Best of all, when you call the operator connects you to the right department instead of doing what Samson does where they give you some 800 number to call.
No matter what issue the SEARS repair technicians come to your home for, they are gracious in answering questions if they can. The refrigerator expert will suggest a better setting for the TV color, for example.
Over the past four years, I have received superior service from SEARS home repair policy coverage.
As President and Founder of Anvil Media, Inc., Kent Lewis is responsible for ensuring the company is living its mission and vision by managing overall corporate strategy including operations, business development, sales, and marketing. Specializing in analytics, search engine, and social media marketing services, Anvil is an integrated marketing consultancy which provides measurable marketing that moves clients’ businesses forward.
“I’ve spent my entire marketing career coaching clients to create memorable experiences. I’ve been so moved by my own remarkable that I’ve written about them. Here are two great examples of incredible customer experiences…”
Pan Pacific Hotel’s world-class pillow-top service. A few years ago I was teaching a two-day workshop in Singapore. Pan Pacific Hotel sent me a mid-stay email survey, which I completed, adding a passing comment about the firm mattress, as I had a sore neck (likely from a travel bug). Less than four hours later, I returned to my room to take a nap, only to realize Pan Pacific had read my survey and added a pillow-top to my mattress. They then called when I arrived in my room to ask if the mattress met my needs (yes it did!). That level of responsiveness and action was so remarkable; I still share the story seven years later. Had they read the survey after I left, they may have sent me a note to let me know they would make sure I have a softer mattress for my next visit. How important is that to me once I’m home and have no plans to return? The impact is exponential when acted upon quickly.
Les Schwab Tire Centers $.79 loyalty program. Those not familiar with Les Schwab’s legendary customer service are not fortunate enough to live in the Pacific Northwest. One of their signature policies was to repair flat tires, even if you weren’t a customer. Due to their reputation, I visited to have them repair a flat, and when they recommended I buy new tires due to wear, I trusted them. I didn’t plan to spend a thousand dollars that day, so I jokingly asked if the tires came with anything like a bag of M&Ms. The well-trained sales rep smiled and handed me my receipt. At pickup, I was surprised and touched to see a bag of M&Ms on my dashboard. They never said a word about it; it’s just the Les Schwab way (note: they do not sell M&Ms at their location, so the rep had to go to a nearby store to purchase them). In this case, a purely analog experience was so timely; the cost of the gift was immaterial to my delight.
Lisa Chu owns a children’s clothing company called Black N Bianco. The company is dedicated to providing affordable and adorable little clothing for kids of all ages.
My favorite example of great customer service is from Zappos. Zappos was founded on the basis of providing excellent customer service. The WOW factor is their company motto. In 2011 Zappos personally sent a woman flowers who had her feet damaged by harsh medical treatments. Zappos learned about her struggle when the customer wanted to return her shoes. In response to her hardship, the customer service agent sent her an enormous bouquet of lilies and roses hoping to get well soon. This is an example of providing a personalized customer experience she will remember for the rest of her life. A great foundation to building loyal customers. I have implemented a similar customer service experience and threw away the professional script so wildly used by large companies. Engaging in a friendly conversation while trying to solve the issue is now the priority when it comes to our customer service.
Tom Smith is a Research Analyst with DZone, one of the web’s largest communities and publishers of technical content for software professionals.
“My favorite example of excellent customer service is…”
Zappos all the way. Ordered shoes at 9:00 on a Sunday night and got them before 9:00 am on Monday. Also, people call their CSRs to search the internet for them for pizza restaurant open at 10:30 pm in South Dakota.
I’m a “raving fan” even though I have nothing to do with the company. I appreciate the fact they reward their CSRs based on customer happiness rather than call times.
BikiniLuxe is the pride and joy of owner Candice Galek. She’s the ultimate bikini geek, which is probably why people call her that on a daily basis. There couldn’t be a more fitting nickname for a girl who grew up on the sunny beaches of South Florida. She believes the only thing better than a good cup of coffee is a great bikini.
“When it comes to great customer experiences, 24/7 customer service is the best…”
Its 11:00 pm on the day before Black Friday (our biggest day of the year) and we realize that our developers have accidentally messed up the coding of the checkout button after some recent changes. There is something bordering on absolute panic at the warehouse, and we jump on to the live chat support with Shopify. Now Shopify gurus are in my experience some of the nicest and best-trained people in the world, but there are things that they are and are not allowed to do when they are helping you with your store. When it comes to the actual coding of the website they are not responsible or required (or even possibly allowed) to change things for you. Especially if you have an outside development team. The Shopify support guru was able to find and fix the cart problem in only 15 minutes, he went out of his way, responsibility, and possibly outside of the rules to help us with a problem that would have crippled us on one of the most important days of the year for us! I will never forget this extreme example of customer service and hope that you publish this because they deserve the recognition!
Connie Lansberg is a singer/songwriter and now author based in Melbourne Australia. She’s had her original songs placed in many of Australia’s popular TV shows. She’s received grants from the Victoria Council of the Arts for the development of mobile phone games. Her book, The Perfect Tear, is out now.
“The most memorable customer service experience that has stood out to me is…”
As a new author and having to travel back and forth from Australia to LA, Virgin Airlines wins hands down. We were headed to LA via Sydney, from Melbourne.
I have an American passport, and my partner is Australian. We didn’t realize his visa had expired and due to this, we missed our connecting flight from Melbourne to Sydney. We finally got through to the relevant department, and they put us on the flight to Sydney but said we will miss the flight to LA and have to stay in Sydney for the night.
I’m not a good traveler at the best of times, and I was distraught. It meant missing an important meeting. There was no other option it seemed. However, as we landed in Sydney, our names were called, and we were escorted to a bus–an empty bus. Virgin had asked the bus to wait for us. Hope swelled, but as we were dropped at the doors of the international side of Sydney airport, we realized we had no idea where to go.
Sydney airport is vast. Then, I saw a Virgin employee waving to us. “Come on,” she said. “We can make it.” She grabbed a bag, and together the three of us hurtled through long corridors until, panting, we arrived at our gate. With time to spare. I have never been so grateful and have never experienced such enthusiastic and effective customer service.
Aron Ezra is CEO of OfferCraft. The company’s software uses behavioral economic ideas to make marketing offers and employee incentives far more effective. He was previously the CEO of MacroView Labs (acquired in by Bally Technologies), and a senior executive at several consulting and PR firms. He’s been named one of the Most Intriguing People in Las Vegas and one of the Top 10 Rising Business Leaders in the city. Aron is a graduate of Princeton University.
“One of my favorite examples of a great customer experience comes from an unexpected place…”
Smart, the car manufacturer. The company wanted to encourage more pedestrians to wait at the crosswalk for the walk signal instead of darting across early. So they created a digital dancing figure that grooves to music while people wait at a street corner for the light to turn. The video of The Dancing Traffic Light has been viewed millions of times on YouTube. The result? 81 percent more pedestrians waited for the green light.
You could say this is just an advertising stunt. But I think you’d be missing the more interesting lessons you can glean from it about how to create an amazing customer experience. This campaign took a boring and school-marmish message – Don’t jaywalk! – and turned it into a fun, entertaining, interactive, unforgettable experience.
This innovative customer experience process was inspired in part by gamification, a trend across many industries of borrowing the tricks of the trade from games (badges, contest, friendly competition) and applying them in different contexts. Gamification is revolutionizing how companies interact with and motivate their customers and employees, from HR to healthcare to retail to customer service.
Again and again, games have been shown to dramatically increase the chance that someone will remember an experience and feel positive toward it. That’s a big part of the reason we built our company: To make it easy for companies to use ideas from game psychology to create more enjoyable,
memorable, and ultimately more profitable experiences that customers will genuinely enjoy.
Nicole Royer is a Startup and Entrepreneur Consultant with Start-Up with Nicole. She loves tacos, craft beer, and building successful businesses!
“My favorite example of great customer service happens every time I go to…”
Chick-fil-A. It is embedded in their culture to let their customers know that it’s my pleasure to help, no matter the request. It’s been a consistency that I’ve known since I first ate there in the 1980s, and was something I learned when I worked there as a teenager. Several years later, I still find that level of response refreshing, especially in today’s world where everyone seems rushed and a tad short.