6 Great Customer Service Stories From 2012

Customer experience continues to be one of the core drivers of organizational success. It drives sales, customer loyalty, customer retention and employee retention. It reduces the cost of issues becoming escalated and negative word of mouth.

While there is a misconception that customer service should create a “wow” experience every time (see our upcoming Customer Service Trends For 2013), outstanding experiences do teach us something about what it takes to really make a difference in today’s hyper-competitive environment.

The following are six examples of excellent experiences from 2012. The common theme? People who genuinely care about the people they serve. Imagine your organization consistently delivered these kinds of experiences. (For details and links to the stories, visit the link at the end of the article)

#6 JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur. Just… Wow!

It’s less about a single experience with this outstanding hotel, and more about the amazing consistency of great experiences in every single department. From the front desk to the housekeeper to the pool staff, they just do a lot of little things very right. Wow. Just… wow.

#5 Dymon Self-Storage – No coffee spills

This is a great example of how customer service rules in even the most non-traditional of service environments. It’s also proof that ‘wow’ experiences don’t have to be costly or over-the-top.

#4 Zappos’ 10-hour call!

Most call-centres still use the profoundly misguided KPI of “call time”. Customer service agents are, basically, measured on how short a time they can be on the phone with a customer. Spend too much time with a single customer, and you can find yourself in the supervisor’s office.

As one might expect, however, Zappos -the online shoe retailer with near mythical levels of customer service – celebrates the exact opposite behaviour. Imagine a customer service representative being willing to spend over 10 hours with you!

#3 Ritz-Carleton’s Giraffe Vacation

The Ritz-Carleton has always had a reputation for pampering its guests. This story of how they looked after a little boy’s stuffed giraffe, however, is epic.

#2 Krispy Kreme’s Olympic Doughnut!

A guy with way too much time on his hands starts travelling around looking for 100 rejections. His goal is to make audacious requests, then record his rejections on his blog. On just day 3, however, a terrific lady at Krispy Kreme thwarts his efforts with an amazing guest experience.

And the #1 Customer Service Story of 2012:

The Compassion of a Southwest Airline Pilot

Imagine finding out that your two-year-old grandson is dying. Now imagine a slow-moving line at airport security keeping you from making your flight to see him – with security personnel who couldn’t care less.

But now imagine running to the gate in your socks, after the scheduled departure time, to find the airplane pilot standing outside waiting for you. “No problem,” he says. “They can’t leave without me.” Unbelievable.

Shaun Belding is a leading global expert on customer service, service recovery and building positive workplaces. He has appeared internationally on television and radio, and quoted in The New York Times, The London Times, CNN, Forbes Magazine and Reader’s Digest. custom dress socks