Whether you work in the retail business or you’re shopping with retailers this holiday season, you know that it’s all about exceptional customer service. Think about the brands you love the most: What keeps you coming back? Perhaps it’s price and a quality product. But what gets you telling others about the brand? Probably amazing customer service.
Many of our customers use Restaurant.com Gift Cards to turn challenging customer issues into positive experiences for everyone. Take for example Paul Magnotte of Zee’s:
“We use them in a variety of ways, it’s amazing how much goodwill you can buy with $4!!! We use them when we have issues with a client. Rather than having to do a full refund, we have found that resolving the problem, apologizing, then offering them a Restaurant.com Gift Card really takes care of the situation. We have had “problem” clients come back to us the next year because of the extra touch we did with sending them a follow-up letter with a Restaurant.com card included. For as little as $4 dollars, we are able to take a bad situation and turn it around…”
In general, nothing influences customer loyalty more than exceptional customer service does. Therefore, we wanted to share a few outstanding customer service examples to think about as you get through the holiday season. If you’re in a position to deliver great customer service, what little things do YOU do to make others’ days? Are you capitalizing on the “little” opportunities that make a BIG difference?
Check out these 5 real customer service stories and be inspired to deliver a first-rate customer experience your customers can’t help but talk about.
1. Trader Joe’s Treks through the Snow for 89 Year-Old Man
As told by the man’s grandson on a Reddit forum, an 89-year old man was “snowed in” during the holidays when his daughter called several grocery stores trying to find someone who would deliver food to him. When she called her local Trader Joe’s, they told her that they don’t usually deliver but would in this special circumstance. Trader Joe’s not only took the order but also made recommendations to fit with the man’s low-sodium diet. At the end of the phone call the associate said that she didn’t need to pay for the groceries and to have a Merry Christmas. The food was delivered within half hour of the call and the family – along with many others who heard the story – were left feeling utterly impressed with Trader Joe’s exemplary customer service. The Reddit post has several follow up comments from people who received free flower bouquets and other thoughtful treats given out by thoughtful Trader Joe’s associates.
2. United Airlines Saves a Seat and Books Earlier Flight
Sometimes great customer service comes from the simple act of paying attention. In an industry full of more negative customer service stories than positive ones, best-selling author Steven Levitt claimed his experience with United Airlines turned him into a customer for life. Mr. Levitt was in the airport but running late and United saved his seat until the last possible minute. On another trip, Mr. Leavitt’s flight was delayed. He received a phone call from United that said: “I see that you’re at the airport and your flight is delayed a few hours. A seat opened up on an earlier flight, so I grabbed it for you in case you wanted it. It leaves in 40 minutes, so you’ll have to hurry.” They picked a great person to pay attention to that day because as an influencer he just gave United a lot of attention and look now we’re writing about them too!
3. A Joking Tweet Results in Dinner Delivered to Airport Gate in Tux
In 2011, author, business consultant, and frequent traveler Peter Shankman was getting ready to board a plane after a long leg of traveling. Being the social media influencer he is, he jokingly tweeted “Hey, @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks.
Little did he know that Mortons took this tweet seriously and decided to pay attention. After getting off the plane around dinner time, someone in a Tuxedo tapped him on the shoulder and handed him a Morton’s bag. It contained a 24 oz. Morton’s porterhouse, shrimp, potatoes, bread, napkins and silverware. Not only did that tweet have to be noticed, but someone had to get approval for the idea, a cook had to make this food, the food had to be driven 23.5 miles away from the nearest Morton’s, and someone had to track down his flight information and figure out where he was landing to meet him at the right location. Talk about going the extra mile! It also helps that Peter Shankman happens to have 152,000 Twitter followers and an email list of millions – smart customer service move Morton’s!
As reported in the Huffington Post and many other top media outlets, a 3 ½ year old girl wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s asking why they call their bread “Tiger” bread instead of “Giraffe” bread. Customer service associate Chris King (age 27 & 1/3) responded with a sweet letter explaining that the first baker from a “looong time ago” thought the bread looked like tiger stripes. Mr. King enclosed a small gift card with his letter and led Sainsbury’s to a plethora of headlines about superior customer service. Actual letters pictured below! This is a great reminder to spend an extra 5 minutes doing something to make another person’s day.
5. The Ultimate Role Model of Customer Service: Zappos.com
We LOVE Zappos for so many reasons. Where shall we begin? Well, yes free shipping both ways is a motivator – no need to worry about ordering and returning what you don’t like. In addition, Zappos has built a reputation around processing orders and returns extremely quickly. They are great about sending timely email communications at every step of the buying process. Oh, and don’t forget their “bionic” ears when it comes to responding and showing gratitude to individual customers on social media. If there’s one master of customer service in e-commerce, it’s Zappos. I guess that explains why the CEO’s idea of “delivering happiness” has evolved from a culture, to a book, to a movement that has led Zappos to revenues of over $1.6 billion per year. Their strong culture and attention to customer service earned Zappos the #11 spot on 2012’s “Best Places to Work” list.
At Restaurant.com, we have a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Any customer that isn’t satisfied with their dining experience whether they didn’t like their server, the food or even the restaurant ambience, Restaurant.com credits that customer with a $25 Restaurant.com Gift Certificate to use at another restaurant. We want each customer to have a positive dining experience, every time.
Now we want to hear from YOU!
What amazing customer service stories have you experienced?
How has customer service changed where you shop?
What’s the one thing you wish more businesses paid attention to when it comes to customer service?