If there’s one thing that the internet loves, it’s a rant about bad customer service.
I see these pop up on my Facebook newsfeed from time to time, usually in the form of a sarcastic open letter that’s been shared a few dozen times.
It’s a topic that gets tongues wagging, mostly because it’s something with which we can all identify – after all, who hasn’t had a terrible customer service experience of their own?
The unfortunate side effect of all of these ‘customer service horror stories’ being shared with gusto on social media is that it’s easy to assume that the bad stories outweigh the good. And realistically, that’s just not the case.
To prove it, here are three of my absolute favourite customer service stories, proving that going above and beyond for a customer really does happen.
The way to a customer’s heart is through their stomach
One of the best customer service stories comes from Rackspace, a managed cloud computing company based in Texas.
While on an extremely lengthy support call with a customer, a Rackspace employee overheard the customer tell someone in the background that they were getting hungry.
According to the Rackspace employee, “So I put them on hold, and I ordered them a pizza. About 30 minutes later we were still on the phone, and there was a knock on their door. I told them to go answer it because it was pizza! They were so excited.”
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Bali, Indonesia prides itself on providing exemplary customer service. Considering rooms start at around $500 a night, that’s not all that surprising. What is surprising is the lengths that staff at this hotel went to for one family in 2007.
The family had brought special eggs and milk for their son, who suffered from allergies; however, upon their arrival, they realised that the eggs had broken, and the milk had spoiled.
The staff at the Ritz-Carlton searched high and low for replacement products on the island, to no avail. Finally, the executive chef recalled that a there was a store in Singapore that sold these items.
(It’s important, at this stage, to remember that Singapore is around 2300 kilometres from Bali.)
The executive chef rang his mother-in-law, and asked her to buy the products in Singapore, and fly to Bali to deliver them. She agreed – and a customer service legend was born.
The steaks are high
When author Peter Shankman tweeted Morton’s Steakhouse, asking them to meet him at Newark Airport with a porterhouse in two hours, the most he expected was some retweets, and perhaps a witty tweet back from the restaurant.
What he didn’t expect was a waiter from Morton’s to be waiting for him when his flight landed, dressed in a tuxedo and carrying a Morton’s bag filled with the requested porterhouse steak, as well as an order of shrimp, a side of potatoes, bread, silverware and napkins.
When you consider the lengths that Morton’s had to go to in order to pull this off (including tracking down Shankman’s flight details and driving the 24 miles to the airport to meet him), you have to give them credit.
The cynical amongst us might think that Morton’s did this for the publicity (and they did receive a lot of good press), especially given the fact that, at the time, Shankman had in excess of 100,000 Twitter followers. But let’s face it – Shankman got his porterhouse, Morton’s got their PR, and the Internet got a great story. All in all, I call that a win for everyone.
While all three of these examples are pretty extreme, anyone who’s in customer service can learn something from them.
There’s a lot to love about these stories, but what really makes them all stand out is that, in each case, an employee took the initiative to go above and beyond for his or her customer.
Of course, buying a customer a pizza or organising an international flight every time you need to smooth something over is, unfortunately, not very realistic. However, these stories are a great reminder that sometimes, when you want to provide amazing customer service, you need to think outside of the box.