This is a fun story! It’s also a clear reminder that many of the most fondly remembered service stories are the ones that come out spontaneously. This story certainly fits the bill, and it is bound to inspire you to take some extra time to surprise a valued customer every once in a while.
Peter Shankman knows a thing or two about customer service. As an author, consultant and speaker on the topic, it’s safe to say his standards are high. While at an airport, Shankman realized that if he didn’t grab a bite to eat he’d be stuck riding the plane back on an empty stomach. Not one for fast food, Shankman took a shot in the dark and jokingly tweeted to one of his favorite restaurants, Morton’s, asking them if they would deliver him a steak!
Peter Shankman ✔ @petershankman: Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. 🙂 Even though he’s a longtime customer of the steakhouse, Shankman admits that he had no expectations when he sent out the tweet. After all, who ever heard of steak on wheels?!
To Shankman’s utter disbelief, one of Morton’s staff drove 23 miles to the airport to greet him with a full meal: Peter Shankman ✔ @petershankman Oh My God. I don’t believe it. @mortons showed up at EWR WITH A PORTERHOUSE! “He proceeds to tell me that he’d heard I was hungry, and inside is a 24 oz. Porterhouse steak, an order of Colossal Shrimp, a side of potatoes, one of Morton’s famous round things of bread, two napkins, and silverware.” –Peter Shankman
One of the most interesting things about Shankman’s story is that he admits that this “stunt” was meant to be out of the ordinary … and that’s completely okay.“Customer service isn’t about telling people how awesome you are, it’s about creating stories that do the talking for you.”
This is a stellar example of doing exactly that, and Morton’s deserves all of the attention they received (and more) for making it happen.
What is it that sets a company apart from the fact that its products are of great quality? Read on to see how Traders Joe’s differentiated itself by placing customer needs above all else.
An elderly man, 89 years of age, was snowed in at his Pennsylvanian home around the holidays, and his daughter was worried that he wasn’t going to have access to enough food due to the impending storm and bad weather in the area.
After calling multiple stores in a desperate attempt to find anyone who would deliver to her father’s home, she finally got a hold of someone at Trader Joe’s, who told her that they also do not deliver … normally.
Given the extreme circumstance, they told her that they would gladly deliver directly to his home, and even suggested additional delivery items that would fit perfectly with his special low-sodium diet.After the daughter placed the order for the food, the employee on the phone told her that she didn’t need to worry about the price; the food would be delivered free of charge. The employee then wished her a Merry Christmas.
Less than 30 minutes later the food was at the man’s doorstep—for free!
In refusing to let red tape get in the way of a customer in need, Trader Joe’s shows that customer service doesn’t need to be about the fanfare, it can simply be about doing the right thing.
Sometimes when faced with unusual requests from customers, the response of a company goes a long way to create both ‘customer delight and loyalty’. Read on about a story where the request of a small boy was treated very seriously by the company in question.
Losing a favorite toy feels devastating to a young child. Longtime Lego fan Luka Apps spent all of his Christmas money on a Ninjago (Lego ninja) named Jay XZ. Against his dad’s advisement, he brought his Ninjago on a shopping trip … and lost it. Luka wrote a letter to Lego explaining his loss and assuring the Lego staff that he would take extra-special care of his action figure if they sent him another one.
“Hello,My name is Luka Apps and I am seven years old. With all my money I got for Christmas I bought the Ninjago kit of the Ultrasonic Raider. The number is 9449. It is really good. My Daddy just took me to Sainsbury’s and told me to leave the people at home but I took them and I lost Jay ZX at the shop as it fell out of my coat. I am really upset I have lost him. Daddy said to send you a email to see if you will send me another one.I promise I won’t take him to the shop again if you can. – Luka”
The response he received from Lego customer support representative Richard was nothing short of amazing. Richard told Luke that he had talked to Sensei Wu (a Ninjago character), and he told him to tell Luka, “Your father seems like a very wise man. You must always protect your Ninjago minifigures like the dragons protect the Weapons of Spinjitzu!” Sensei Wu also told me it was okay if I sent you a new Jay and told me it would be okay if I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan. So, I hope you enjoy your Jay minifigure with all his weapons. You will actually have the only Jay minifigure that combines 3 different Jays into one! I am also going to send you a bad guy for him to fight! Just remember, what Sensei Wu said: keep your minifigures protected like the Weapons of Spinjitzu! And of course, always listen to your dad.”
It’s so rare to see such a thoughtful, creative response to a distraught customer – what better way to make a customer for life.
Many of the memorable stories that we’ve covered so far focus on a company’s stellar response to an usual situation … but what about those day-to-day service stories? Superb service is not limited to out of the ordinary circumstances. It can be incorporated into the very fabric of your business, showing up in even the most common of instances. That’s why we love this next story shared by a customer in Streetsboro, Ohio.
The story was posted on Reddit under the appropriately titled topic of “I have never in my life seen this level of customer service” and included this genuine, thoughtful thank-you note.
But the best part of this tale is that despite the fact that this image was shared on the internet, random commenter’s starting pointing out that they knew exactly which business this was, “I used to live in Streetsboro and I know exactly who that is. He’s a good man, stay with him!”
Now that’s the definition of memorable service! The praise continued with non-customers, too, with one commenter saying, “It’s little things like this that earn business. If I got this card I would never use another mechanic in my life.”
The belief that you should do your best to “make things right” with customers in tough situations is a recurring theme among those companies with legendary customer service. That said, even the greats of the customer service world will have a hard time topping the story below.
In an outstanding example of taking care of customers, Bungie Studios, a popular game developer in the industry, raised the bar for their willingness to take care of their fans.
The story begins with a distraught father whose son had to receive liver transplant surgery around the holidays. Since being in the hospital left his son unable to play the newest release of his favorite video game franchise, Halo, his dad reached out to Bungie.
The response he received from the company went far beyond what anyone expected!First, the entire Bungie team signed and sent a card with get-well wishes. To make up for missing out on playing Halo, the team built him a custom helmet based off of the main character and sent it along with shirts, toys and custom art from the game’s designers.
His father later posted a thank you thread and a collection of images on Christmas day, which was when Bungie visited his son in the hospital and brought the gifts. “He was absolutely shocked when he saw the custom helmet from Halo Reach! Bungie, you have played a huge part in making this smile! My family can’t thank you enough!”
With a clear vision in mind, the leaders know what they want and how they want it. Take Disneyland for example-
The Disneyland theme parks and resorts all over the world all live from the holistic “magical” experience and atmosphere they keep up. A huge part of this magic stems from the perfection of the park’s decoration.This love of detail goes back to the founder of the Disney Company. Walt Disney was inspired to work on the project of building a steady and well managed children’s amusement park, in contrast to the at that time common wandering state fairs, by his wish to offer his own children and the children of his employees a place to enjoy their free time together having an experience totally out of the ordinary.Disney and a small team of employees spent five years working out the plans for Disneyland with much love for detail and special treats, in Disney’s own words: “… I just want it to look like nothing else in the world. And it should be surrounded by a train.”
The founder’s spirit is still part of the company’s culture and a secret for its on-going success:
Creativity is best described as thinking out-of-the-box. A creative leader develops a product that is unique and is a viable solution.
The Strida is an innovative design of folding bicycle intended for short distance use and to link with other modes of transport. Mark Sanders designed the Strida while he was a postgraduate student on the joint Royal College of Art/Imperial College Industrial Design Engineering course. The idea arose from personal need, when he was travelling from Windsor to London.
A creative leader, like Sanders:
• Immerses himself in the problem at each stage, in order to see if ideas from other areas or from nature (biological analogies) might offer a solution.
• Gathers information from any likely source.
• Brainstorms to clarify any vague ideas in the head.
• Drafts its USP, Strida for example, is lightweight and low cost. Sanders also worked on its ease of handling.
Mark Sanders thus gave his community an innovative product that solves their problem while making an organization that has a definite objective.
A good leader is passionate and has a clear vision. He aligns his followers and motivates them to achieve the goal beneficial for the company. Good leaders do not compromise on ethics either, like in this case study-
H. Ross Perot started his career as a salesman for IBM. In the 1960s he started his own company, Electric Data Systems (EDS), one of the first businesses that built and serviced computer systems for other companies. In contrast to IBM, Perot trained his workers to do whatever needed to be done for a customer without waiting for approval. There was a strong bias toward action.
In the beginning, Perot shunned strategic planning. Over the next few years, however, he hired military officers who could take orders and give orders. Perot’s slogan was “Go, do.”
If an employee took credit for someone else’s work, they were out the door. The motto of Perot’s company at one point was “We bring order to chaos.”
Subordinates have a tendency to restrain themselves and be apprehensive when it comes to interacting with their leaders. Most employees think that they work for the person above them. Leadership requires the discretion to treating everyone equally and in doing so respect individual differences and developmental levels or skill set. Efficient leaders practice leadership rather than supervision and assign members important and responsible tasks.
When General Electric’s top management launched a major drive to encourage their high-level executives to embrace information-age technology and use it in their daily work, they found that many of the veteran managers were computer illiterate. Jack Welch, GE’s chairman and CEO liked to get things done quickly. He then asked the top managers to find a mentor, a younger tech savvy employee to help them in advancing their knowledge in technology. Welch himself did the same, as he used to communicate using hand-written notes too. The young employees felt more at ease with the top managers and observed first-hand the abilities needed to be successful at that level. Not only it increased their confidence and facilitated knowledge exchange, it also strengthened the leader-follower bond.
Researches have confirmed that high job performance is directly related to high leader-member exchange. GE, back in 2000 showed us a great example of motivating the employees and learning from each other.