Last month, we wrote about what to do when your computer decides to take the plunge into the deep dark tea-time of the soul. What I found most interesting about the whole procedure of getting my own computer repaired was the amazing customer service provided by Apple. I spoke to a very friendly and knowledgeable human (without having to deal with an endless array of numbers to press) and was sent a box to ship my laptop back. The time between when my computer went out and came back? TWO DAYS. What holiday? I received my repaired computer on a Saturday morning of a holiday weekend. I couldn’t believe it! And I made certain I told everyone, what a great experience I’d had with that company.
There are many articles that list the 10 things you should do for great customer service. I thought instead I’d ask my co-workers for their favorite customer service stories—the ones where someone went that extra mile and made you love that company.
The Morning Guy
One of my fave customer service stories is when Strongtree Coffee opened in Hudson, NY. The morning guy, Matt also managed Mexican Radio restaurant at night, so he knew how to deal with customers. One Friday morning I came ambling in—but Matt saw me coming and already had my coffee in a bag; dark roast, black, ready to go. I lingered at the counter for a moment, and ogled The Croissant, specially prepared for the shop every Friday. A beautiful Croissant. A wonderful Croissant. I shook my head and left. But I turned around about 30 seconds later and came back in to the shop—and guess what. He already had it waiting a bag for me.”
Good Ol’ Sears
Sometimes the best customer service is not when everything goes right, but when it goes wrong. How does the company handle it when you have a legitimate complaint? We took our generator (yes, a big gasoline-fueled thing that powers stuff) in to Sears to have it repaired and were told it would take a week or so to get it back. After three or four weeks we called and it turned out it was still sitting in their shed and had never been sent out for the repairs! So, even though the generator was at least a year old, they gave us a brand new one rather than have us wait to get the other one back. That’s great customer service. We all make mistakes, it’s how you handle them that count.
Two Very Pleasant Women
I own a Hamilton Beach hand mixer, used for baking and cooking. I received it as a gift, but I doubt it cost more than $50. It was less than a year old when it suddenly stopped working. I took it out to make cookies one day and it just wouldn’t turn on. I dug out the owner’s manual, which I had thankfully saved, and called the company’s 800 number. I was expecting a recorded message, or possibly someone reading from a script telling me I was out of luck. Instead, I was shocked to speak with a most helpful and pleasant woman with a lovely southern accent. She asked me a few troubleshooting questions and figured the motor had stopped. At no charge, she shipped me a brand new mixer, which arrived in a few days. The only thing they asked was that I clip off the power plug and mail it back to them, to prove the old mixer was defective. She politely reminded me to UNPLUG the mixer before taking scissors to the cord. Because they were so prompt, helpful, and courteous, it always stands out in my mind as a positive experience. It’s also made me MUCH more likely to stay loyal to the brand in the future.
And also kitchen related . . . when I got married we registered with Crate and Barrel and received a beautiful, and pricy, sugar and creamer set. One day I knocked the top of my sugar bowl down from a high shelf. It hit the granite countertop and exploded into a thousand pieces. My husband immediately called C&B and asked if he could purchase just the cover, not the whole bowl itself. The customer service rep asked if we had registered there, looked up our old info in their system, and offered to send it to us for free, since we’d purchased so much stuff from them. They didn’t even charge us for the shipping. Awesome.
The common thread between all of these stories is the personal touch—that above-and-beyond special something that changed the face of a company into a friendly entity that makes you want to interact with them again and again.
Do you have a favorite customer service story that increased your customer satisfaction? Tell us in the comments!