Although almost every business strives to deliver excellent customer service, it’s sad to say that many fail to wow their consumers on a daily basis.
Yet, a few special businesses seem to get it; they hire employees who think outside of the box and are sympathetic to their customer’s needs, going above and beyond to satisfy their clients.
The formula will, of course, differ according to every situation – and from company to company – but there’s a number of strategies can implement to make sure your business is providing the best possible customer service.
And these 15 memorable examples might just be the inspiration you need.
1. Ritz-Carlton Takes Care of a Special Guest
As a five-star hotel chain, Ritz-Carlton is expected to provide exceptional customer service – but this story goes above and beyond that expectation.
A mother and her two children had stayed at the hotel chain’s Amelia Island, Florida location and when they returned home realised they accidentally left the son’s beloved teddy giraffe, Joshie, behind. The father, Chris Hurn, who was on a business trip, later told his distraught son that Joshie had stayed back at the hotel to relax for a few more days. That evening he called the hotel and came clean to the loss prevention team, and asked if they would take a photo of Joshie relaxing by the pool on a sunbed to corroborate the story.
The Ritz-Carlton staff happily agreed, and even took it a step further by putting together a binder of photos that of Joshie’s extended stay at the hotel and he had been up to, including enjoying a massage at the spa and catching up with some work with the loss prevention team (they even made him his very own badge).
2. Morton’s Makes a Special Delivery
Peter Shankman, a loyal customer of Morton’s thought he’d test his luck when he jokingly tweeted his favourite restaurant for a special steak delivery to the airport.
To his surprise, when he landed at Newark Airport two hours later, a smartly dressed waiter had driven 23.5 miles with the 24oz porterhouse steak Shankman requested, as well as a side of potatoes, a colossal shrimp, bread, two napkins and silverware.
How’s that for meals on wheels?
3. Zappos Saves the Day
Online retail tycoon Zappos has been widely recognised for its exceptional customer service over the years, with many startups since trying to emulate their company culture. One story truly shines when a customer service representative, Lydia Burrola, saved the day for a groom on his wedding day.
The groom’s best man, Jay, had ordered his wedding shoes from Zappos but UPS accidentally delivered the package to the wrong location. In his distress, Jay called the customer care team to see if they could help by asking UPS to put the delivery on hold so he could pick them up before his flight.
Lydia immediately arranged for an overnight shipment to the wedding location to ensure the shoes arrived at the right place and at the right time. She then proceeded to upgrade his account to a VIP one and refunded the cost of the shoes for the inconvenience.
4. Sainsbury’s Takes Advice from all Customers
Three-and-a-half-year-old Lily Robinson was confused as to why Sainsbury’s tiger bread wasn’t named giraffe bread, as she thought it looked more like a giraffe than a tiger, during a visit to her local Sainsbury’s with her mum.
She wrote to the supermarket chain with her pressing questions and, to everyone’s surprise, customer representative Chris King wrote back telling Lily what a brilliant idea it was and explained how the original baker named it tiger bread a very long time ago as he thought the bread resembled the stripes of a tiger.
After a fun campaign, Sainsbury’s took to officially changing the name in all its stores and even put a small ‘thank you’ note up for the little girl.
5. Warby Parker Surprises a Forgetful Customer
Michael John Mathis was on the Acela train when he forgot his pair of Warby Parker reading glasses. Annoyed at the circumstance, Michael ordered exactly the same pair online the following day.
But little did he know that the General Counsel of Warby Parker, Anjali Kumar, was sat right opposite him on the train. To Michael’s surprise, he received a package a few weeks later with not one but two pairs of the very same glasses, along with a book and a personal note from Kumar.
6. Trader Joe's Performs a Christmas Miracle
During a terrible snow in Pennsylvania, a worried daughter rang around all the local grocery stores to see if any of them would deliver to her 89-year-old father who was snowed in. After all the other stores said ‘no’, she thought her quest would be impossible.
Until Trader Joe's said they’ll do it. They even suggested items that were suitable for the elderly man’s low-sodium diet, and within half an hour had delivered the items free of charge.
7. Starbucks Employee Learns Sign Language
Most of the time, it’s great staff that make a company successful. And with such a large corporation like Starbucks, you wouldn’t expect staff that are on minimum wage to go above and beyond. But a caring employee in Virginia went above normal protocol to make her regular client Ibby Piracha feel special.
Ibby, who is deaf, used to place his order by typing it out on his phone every day and showing it to the staff to begin preparing it for him. That is until one day when one of the baristas responded in American Sign Language and then handed him a note which said: ’I’ve been learning ASL just so you can have the same experience as everyone else’.
8. Fast Park Offers a Luxury Service
Who else dreads park-and-rides as much as I do? Not only do you have to drive further and further from the airport to find a decent space, but you also then have to drag your luggage to the nearest bus stop and wait for at least 10 minutes before the next shuttle arrives to take you to the airport.
At a number of airports across the US, things are done a little differently, thanks to Fast Park. In fact, you’re greeted by a happy (yes – I said ‘happy’) employee on your arrival who tells you where to park and gives you a newspaper. The shuttle then meets you at your car and the driver helps with your luggage. And get this: if it’s raining, they even carry an umbrella so you don’t get wet!
If you thought that was more than enough, there’s more! On the return journey, you’re greeted with a complimentary bottle of water and helped to place your luggage in your car. You even get to earn points which can be redeemed for free days or weeks!
9. Spotify Hits the Right Notes
After Jelena, a Spotify user, sent the company some positive feedback, a customer service representative decided to leave her a special message on her playlist, bringing music to her ears.
It was named ‘A Hidden Message’ and featured songs whose titles cleverly spelled out the message: ‘Jelena / You Are Awesome / Thanks a Lot / For These Words / It Helps Me / Impress / The Management’.
10. Capital One Connects with a Keyboard
A Capital One customer found themselves in a sticky situation when they accidentally spilt some orange juice on their keyboard, causing the key number 2 to stop working. Sadly, when he tried paying his bill, he couldn’t copy a ‘2’ into his account number, so he complained to Capital One about his situation.
Janeth and Adam from Capital One sent him a handwritten note saying that his comment made their day, along with a brand-new Mac keyboard so he could log in to his account again!
11. Domino’s Workers Save a Customer’s Life
Two Domino’s workers in Oregon, manager Sarah Fuller and assistant manager Jenny Seiber, noticed one day that one of their regular customers, Alexander, hadn’t placed his almost daily pizza order in over two weeks. Concerned, they decided to send delivery driver Tracey Hamblen to Alexander's home, who then reported that the lights and TV were on, but no one came to the door when he knocked.
Growing even more worried, the ladies took it upon themselves to call 911 and report their concerns. When police arrived at Alexander’s home, they could hear him calling out for help; they broke the door down and found him in a critical condition and in need of immediate medical attention.
The loyal Domino’s customer recovered in hospital and is back to ordering his normal pizzas, but if it wasn’t for the caring women checking up on him, he wouldn’t have lasted much longer.
12. Delta Air Lines Sends Personal Apologies
Airlines have no control over the weather and occasionally have to cancel flights, fly to alternatives location or delay planes on the runway.
Although this is at no fault to the carrier, Delta Air Lines handled a similar tricky situation with ease. When a Delta flight was diverted to an alternative destination due to heavy snowfall, the company responded by sending a personalised apology email to passengers and gifted them with 10,000 miles bonus points to use on alternative flights.
13. Gaylord Opryland Impresses a Return Customer
Christina McMenemy, a repeat Gaylord Opryland hotel customer, spent three years trying to find the alarm clock that plays ‘spa type’ music that is featured in the hotel rooms. She claimed that she had the best night’s sleep in her life because of it.
After searching high and low, she decided to bite the bullet and ask the hotel on Twitter where she can get one from. They responded by advising that it’s a unique model but offered alternative clock suggestions. After letting them know that it wasn’t the same, she dropped the idea of ever getting her very own ‘spa clock’.
To Christina’s surprise, when she returned to her room later in the day, she found an extra spa clock with a handwritten note. It’s safe to say that she was over the moon!
14. Bungie Studios Creates a Magical Christmas
A little boy had to receive a liver transplant surgery around the holidays and was distraught that he couldn’t play the newest release of his favourite video game series Halo. Heartbroken for his little boy, his dad decided to reach out to Bungie Studies to see if they could help.
The game developers went above and beyond, creating a unique, tailor-made helmet of his favourite character and sent this along with additional gifts and a ‘get well’ card to the little boy, making it a Christmas he will never forget.
15. Lego Saves the Day for a 7-Year-Old
A seven-year-old boy, Luka Apps, decided to write to Lego when he lost one of his minifigures at his local Sainsbury’s supermarket. He was very sorry after his dad had advised him to leave his beloved character at home, promising to take extra special care if they sent him another one.
In his letter he wrote:
Lego had the perfect response:
These great and unique examples show that a few random acts of kindness can go a long way for the customer and your brand, building trust, loyalty and a great business in the process.
Have you ever received exceptional customer service? Share your personal stories with us in the comments section below…