We talk a lot at The Directors’ Centre about great customer service… Rob even wrote a book on the subject, check out Customer is King.
Over the next month we’ll be sharing some of our golden nuggets of how to achieve customer service guru status, but to kick us off we thought you’d like to hear some of our favourite customer service heaven stories.
We love Lily Robinson’s letter to Sainsbury’s, where the three and a half year old (the half is very important) pointed out that tiger bread looks more like a giraffe than a tiger.
Luckily her letter was picked up by a rather cheery service support manager, Chris King, who preceded to write Lily a lovely letter back explaining the history… ending with ‘maybe they were a bit silly.’
But it didn’t end there, Lily’s mum posted the letter on social media, the story went viral and Sainsbury’s were very quick to pounce (or lollop as a giraffe would do) on the PR opportunity and did indeed change the name to giraffe bread.
Another story about a giraffe anyone? This time Joshie the giraffe, who was accidentally left after a family holiday in Ritz-Carlton Amelie Island.
Joshie was not merely shoved into a jiffy bag and sent back home to his owner, oh no, he became a fully-fledged member of staff (Loss Prevention) and before being sent home enjoyed spa treatments, a visit to the pool and various other hotel activities.
He was returned to the little boy with a book detailing his adventures, one very special giraffe.
This one may bring a tear to your eye…
As an elderly man in a wheelchair approached the counter in a busy Chicago MacDonald’s, the cashier and other customers unfortunately couldn’t understand what he wanted. Suddenly the cashier disappeared, to a few scowls from his colleagues and the lady also trying to understand what the gentleman needed.
A few moments later, the cashier returned, leaving his position at the counter to sit with the old man.
The man had been saying ‘help me please’ and when the cashier understood he ran to wash his hands and put on gloves to then help the man eat his meal.
Now I’ll be honest, I can’t remember the exact details of this one, but it goes something like:
Lady with a newborn baby (let’s say that she lives in the middle of nowhere) orders online shopping from Tesco.
Tesco delivery driver arrives with no nappies and no replacement for the out of stock item.
Lady (probably a little forlorn, still in pj’s, with baby sick in her hair) starts to cry.
Tesco delivery driver leaves, returning an hour later when his shift has finished, with nappies he’s bought from another shop (probably Sainsbury’s) with his own money.
Lady writes a letter, everyone is very happy.
The thing that binds these stories together is the humility. Ordinary people going above and beyond their duty to not only help, but empathise with their fellow man. Not really something that you can train into your employees unfortunately.
You can argue that after stories like this go viral, people become more social media savvy and see PR opportunities… and I’m sure customer service departments on the same hand do get people trying it on for a freebee. However you cannot take away from the wonder and beauty in these original stories and they should be shared to help inspire more people to be great!
Soon I’ll be writing about customer service hell – be warned!