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Customer service stories are full of bloodcurdling events and malicious characters.
All of us can recall at least one example of really bad customer service where everything went wrong, a person we were talking to was incompetent or a customer that we were dealing with, was a true monster in human skin.
Sometimes I have an impression that we hear about bad customer service so often, that we subconsciously start to expect it every time we deal with a support team.
That’s why in today’s post I’d like to give you an example of great customer service I experienced, as it was the most awesome thing I can recall.
When customer happiness matters the most
My story starts in April 2015, when I won in a Bergson contest a weekly stay in Austrian Alps. As you can imagine, I was euphoric that finally, I'd be able to see these magnificent mountains and spend some great time skiing.
Things got complicated in October when I broke my knee ligament. It ended up with a surgery and over six months of rehabilitation, so I was not able to use the voucher during the winter time.
In this situation I decided to visit Kaprun in the summertime and one day in June, I decided to book the holidays finally.
To my horror, I’ve noticed that the voucher was valid until 23rd of June. It meant to me that I wouldn't be able to use it on time.
As I’ve checked, I was supposed to stay at the Barbarahof Hotel, so I’ve immediately sent them an email explaining the situation and asking if they could extend its validity. I didn’t have high hopes that it would work, but I had to try, right?
Finally, after a couple of days, I received a reply.
I was happy as a clam!
I quickly booked my stay and one day I’ve packed my stuff and set off to Austria. As I had over 900 km to Kaprun and I was going by car, I’ve sent an email explaining that I will probably arrive around midnight.
I have arrived at 2 a.m.
The hotel was dark and quiet. I was sure that there would be someone at the reception desk, so I felt a cold shiver running down my spine. I knocked, I called, but no one has shown up.
It started to be clear that no one is working during night hours and I will spend this night in my car!
Then, suddenly, I saw that at the window’s frame that there’s an envelope stuck to the wall.
I took a closer look and I saw "MRS. POLACZYK" written on it. I opened it with disbelief and I found keys and a letter from the reception desk! They informed me what’s the number of my room and asked to check-in on the next morning.
With great relief, I opened the door and settled in my room.
It turned out that the reception was working from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Since they knew that I would be arriving, they decided to leave keys to the room in an envelope, hoping that I would find it!
I heard about many examples of exceptional customer service and going an extra mile for a customer, but this story is the best one that ever happened to me.
What does great customer service mean
A couple of weeks ago I spoke with Adam Toporek, a customer service expert, about what extraordinary customer service mean. Adam pointed that providing excellent customer service means both meeting and exceeding customers expectations and doing that consistently.
An example of company that constantly meets their client's expectations is Ritz-Carlton, widely known from their customer service standards. Every time their customers are using their services, they know that they are going to get an awesome customer experience.
But delivering exceptional service on a daily basis is not enough: you also cannot be afraid of going an extra mile to satisfy your customer.
One of the best examples of this approach is the story of Trader Joe’s grocery store and an 89-year-old customer who was snowed. His daughter called several markets asking for delivery, but no one agreed as per weather conditions. She ended up calling Trader’s Joe who usually do not deliver goods. To her surprise, they agreed to do that.
During the phone call, Traders Joe’s employees helped to choose low-sodium products, completed the order, informed that there would be no charge for it and ended the call by saying “Merry Christmas!” The food was delivered 30 minutes after the call. In the end, the whole story almost immediately turned viral, bringing a lot of attention and words of appreciation to Trader Joe’s.
My story about my stay at Barbarahof Hotel, although not as touching, is also a great example of how business owners can create real relationships with their customers and build customer loyalty.
And what about you?
What’s your best customer service experience you’ve ever had?