4 Remarkable Customer Service Stories You Don’t Want to Miss

As a marketer, it’s my job to spread the word about a company’s products or services and find ways to bring more money in the door.

Oftentimes, that means focusing on how to retain the customers that you already have. After all, in many industries, it is far more expensive to go out and get new business than to keep the customers they have.

That’s why customer service is so darn important.

Creating remarkable experiences for customers not only helps reinforce the messages from the marketing team, but it also ensures that your customers will come back time and time again.

What is remarkable customer service?

I talk a lot about the importance of delighting and surprising customers, but what does that mean? How can businesses create memorable experiences for their customers?

Outstanding customer service means something a little different to everyone. So, to help illustrate what this looks like, I’m sharing four stories of how remarkable customer service made the difference between a good buying experience and a great one.

1. Fix problems.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I visited Jeni’s Ice Creams, which is seriously the most heavenly ice cream on the planet!

As I was checking out, the cashier gave me my total, which was WAY less than it should have been. I asked if they had some kind of special or discount running that day. He said “no” and again told me the price.

It just still didn’t seem right. I was about to pay him, but I asked again about the total price. He finally realized that he had only charged me for one bowl of ice cream, not two.

I joked that if I just kept my mouth shut, I would have gotten one heck of a deal!

Jeni's free ice cream cardThe cashier apologized and thanked me for being so honest. As he was giving me my receipt, he pulled out a card from the register and handed it to me – it entitled me to a free bowl of ice cream on my next visit.

The lesson?

Although this wasn’t a huge blunder, it’s clear that Jeni’s gives their employees the power to make things right. He didn’t have to ask for a manager or get permission to fix a problem. He just did it.

This was a very small misstep, but by going out of his way to correct it, the cashier ensured that I didn’t leave with a bad taste in my mouth. In fact, it made me an even bigger fan and guaranteed that I’ll be back.

2. Be Responsive.

The Brydge iPad keyboard holderWhen attending Social Slam a couple of weeks ago, my friend, Jon Moss, showed me this awesome iPad keyboard he was using.

Called The Brydge, it looked like the perfect solution for me and I was eager to get my hands on one before traveling on a cross-country flight the following week.

When I got into the office on last Monday, I noticed that three-day shipping was their fastest option. I was hoping to get the product before my Thursday morning flight and that shipping option wasn’t going to work.

They didn’t have a phone number, so I sent them an email. When I didn’t hear anything right away, I took my chances on sending a message via Twitter.

Within minutes, the folks from The Brydge responded via Twitter and told me they would work to find a shipping solution to get me the product in time.

Over a series of quick emails, we had the product ordered for guaranteed delivery on Wednesday. And, they even threw in a 10 percent discount for “being awesome”.

I was amazed.

Had their team not been so responsive, I probably would have found another solution and would have never purchased their product. As a relatively new company, they understood the power of responsiveness – especially when someone is making a buying decision.

3. Reward Loyal Customers.

Dunn Brothers Rewards Loyal Customers

One of my favorite customer service experiences was with Dunn Brothers Coffee. Longtime readers of my blog have heard this story before.

If you haven’t heard about this story, you can watch me talk about it today in a video on Adam Toporek’s blog.

I won’t give away the whole story, but let’s just say it involves receiving an impromptu kit to make my on vanilla iced nirvana (my favorite drink from their shop).

They went out of their way to reward and thank me, a regular customer of their store. And, their small gesture has paid off because I have told the story countless times, wrote about it on my blog and continue to recommend this fine coffee shop.

4. Get to know the regulars.

8th & Roast

8th & Roast is quickly becoming my go-to coffee shop in Nashville. Yes, it is a mere two blocks from my house and I can easily walk there. But the real reason I love it is that the coffee is superb and the service is even better.

What impresses me most about 8th & Roast is that they go out of their way to remember your name and get to know you.

It feels good when Brent the Barista high-fives you when you walk in and asks how things are going in your world. The owners, Lesa and Brad, have shown me around the place and excitedly talk about their new offerings and what they have planned down the road.

Their whole team makes me feel part like part of the family, which makes me want to come back again and again.  (And, I do.)

What’s your favorite customer service story?

Certainly, there are a lot of other characteristics that make good customer service. These are just four examples of what I’ve experienced.

So, I want to hear from you!

What’s your favorite customer service story? What do you think makes remarkable customer service? Let me know in the comment section.

Image credit: Waqas Mustafeez

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  • food for thought

    Hmmm… based on #4, it doesn’t look like the customer service for #3 was effective if you have a new go to coffee place, and therefore the expense was unjustified. Customer Service is important, but over serving can be as bad on the books as bad customer service. Plus, then the customer expect above and beyond (and expensive!) service to be retained.

    • http://www.flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      That’s a good point, but the reason I go to #4 isn’t that they’re necessarily better…it’s that they’re closer (and yet, quite good). #3 happened a couple of years ago and was mere blocks away from my office, so I was a very loyal patron to them for several years. I would still go there, but it’s just much farther away from where I work now.

      Make sense?

      • food for thought

        Ah, that certainly makes sense. Although it does bring up an interesting question of how opportunity cost should you sacrifice, when convenience (and price many times) might tilt the seesaw in another competitor’s direction.

        • http://www.flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

          Except I don’t really consider the two competitors. And, #4 didn’t exist when I had the experience with #3.

  • http://twitter.com/NVanReece Nancy VanReece

    The bridge may make my iPad useful again! Thanks for the tip. It’s on my wish list now!

    • http://www.flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      My thoughts exactly! I hadn’t used mine as much as I had thought I would. The keyboard was perfect for use on the plane. I think this will be great for conferences, travel, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/ltcassociates Stephen D. Forman

    Hi Laura, not sure what it is about coffee shops, but we all seem to have stories about them! Please allow me to share mine, starting with the “flip” side of #1 above.

    As a former Starbucks customer, my drink order was rather lengthy (isn’t everyone’s?) and for some reason, the baristas had a rough time making it correctly. Whenever I’d lift it up and ask, “Is this mine?” with a quizzical look, they’d sheepishly realize they’d made a mistake, and upon re-creating my drink, offer me a free latter coupon. Oh my gosh, how I collected those!

    Here’s the stunner: rather than correct what was obviously a systemic problem, one day Starbucks simply discontinued that practice. This is an important lesson for any business (and one I could’ve taught them): once people have an expectation of receiving something, it’s *extremely* hard to take it away w/o damaging the relationship. Heck, look at the JC Penney fiasco.

    • http://twitter.com/ltcassociates Stephen D. Forman

      …which brings me to my 2nd coffee story. We’ve got a deli right here in our office building, which I’ve been frequenting for years. It’s “mom and pop” style, and “Renee” who makes my coffee every morning is a fixture. We chat about our lives, our families, our going’s-on… you know how it is… and she knows how I like my coffee. I just order “my regular”. Great huh?

      Until a new owner came in.

      Although Renee managed the deli like a field general, the new owner changed *everything*, and learned all of Renee’s skills until her position became dispensable. One day I was about to leave our suite to head over for my morning coffee when one of my co-workers stopped me at the door: “Haven’t you heard? We’re boycotting.”

      “What do you mean? What’s going on?”

      It turns out the new owner wrote a termination letter, snapped a picture of it on her cellphone, and texted it to Renee! Cold. That was Renee’s final day, and our final day. We’ve still got a couple hundred dollars on our account over there, but what are you gonna do? We don’t think that’s a good way of running your business, so we make our own coffee now.

      • http://www.flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

        Yikes. That’s terrible! I would argue that Renee was NOT dispensable. She was a big reason why you and your co-workers went there. When you get rid of the people that make a place special, it’s just as easy to go somewhere else.

        As for Starbucks, you can still customize your orders, can’t you? I know I do. I don’t go very often, but when I do, I have my own laundry list I ask for and I still get it. Could it just be that one shop? Just wondering.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aswanzz Adam Swanson

    Lesa, a former nurse and roaster at Roast, took stitches out of my face. Now THAT’S customer service.

    • http://www.facebook.com/aswanzz Adam Swanson

      Like, while she was at work took stitches… out. of. my. face.

      • http://www.flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

        WOW! That IS remarkable customer service! Holy cow! More proof that Lesa is amazing! Dare I ask the story behind how that happened?!

  • http://www.ltc-associates.com/ LTCA INC

    Ya know, this post has been lingering with me for some time in that I felt bad for the examples I provided below.

    You’d asked for examples of STELLAR customer service, and I WHINGED about poor customer service. Who does that?

    So, I’ve been ruminating. Here are 2 companies who stepped up for me:

    The first is the Alderbrook Resort (www.alderbrookresort.com), one of my favorite romantic getaways for my wife and I. Well, during one long weekend there, for some reason housekeeping must’ve missed something cause I ended up stepping in some broken glass in the room (there when we arrived). It was a pretty minor incident but I alerted the company post-stay during a customer feedback survey.

    You wouldn’t believe how FAST they called! (I guess they call anytime something’s less than a “5″.) I spoke with one of the Managers, who ended up offering me a free night to come back. Not only did I tweet about how great the Alderbrook took care of me, but I recently came back from our “free night” trip 1-yr later. When we arrived, that Manager met us at the door, all handshakes and smiles, and again when we left. He made sure we had the exact room we wanted. Really first class.

    (Plus, they have 2 cats that live on the property, one of whom “Brook” visited our room every afternoon just to be scratched. How cool is that?)

    I can share my other feel-good story later. The company may surprise you…

  • Sara

    Just read this, and I was struck by your Twitter support story. Recently, I have been realizing how much better customer service can be on social media than by traditional means of contact. Specifically, I had an issue where a loyalty coupon for Birchbox.com expired just hours before I tried to use it. I emailed to ask if there was any way it could be honored, and the reply back was basically “We send coupons throughout the year. You’ll have to wait for the next one.” I tweeted about how disappointed I was with this response, and they tweeted back within minutes offering to refund me 25% on my order! Now, I bypass email and phone and always tweet to companies first.

    • http://www.flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      You’re right, Sara. It seems that many companies offer support through social media much quicker than they do through traditional channels. I suspect this happens because the feedback is happening wide out in the open for the public to see. It’s just too bad that they can’t offer the same service across the board. Wouldn’t that be far more effective and efficient?

      Thanks for weighing in, Sara!

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