What is great customer service? It is when you are able to build a good relationship with your customers. When you can make the customer feel like they’re having a person-to-person transaction with a company, that’s great customer service. When a customer is made aware that a company is listening closely to their needs and are responding timely to their specific concerns, that’s great customer service. Even by simply thanking the customer, you’re building the kind of positive customer service that they would love to return to.
But how do we illustrate this? We can turn our attention to companies that have specifically done something right in the spirit of good customer service. Let the examples of the companies below be a guiding light.
1. Dawsons.co.uk responds nicely to a troll customer
Music shop, Dawsons, once sold a guitar amplifier to a man. The man wasn’t pleased with how his amp sounded and wrote a letter to Dawsons describing the item as a “direct mouthpiece for the Lord Satan himself.” The man was being sort of a troll. But instead of ignoring the customer, Dawsons decided to play along and wrote this very, very patient letter below.
Thank you for your letter, dated December 25 and for raising the grievance with your new guitar amplifier. We are sorry to hear of the issues you have encountered, however would refute your claim that the amplifier was a “direct mouthpiece for the foul lord Satan himself.”
What was likely happening was that the amplifier was simply picking up radio waves. It is not uncommon for this to take place, particularly when playing at high volumes.
Radio interference can happen for a number of reasons, and can be managed so as to not impact on the enjoyment or performance of your amplifier. We will also graciously turn down your kind offer of a full company exorcism as we feel confident our organisation is not, as you claim, a proxy vessel to the dark world below.
Director, Dawsons Music Ltd
Oftentimes, playing along to a customer’s quirks make the company feel more like a real person that people can joke with.
2. Argos Helpers gives a playful reply
Speaking of playing along, that’s also what UK retailer Argos did when a person tweeted to them about the availability of them “PS4 tings.” The playful reply triggered a human connection, and is essentially what customer service is all about. Check out their conversation below:
This story is a classic, but we can’t talk about customer service and not tell the story of three year old Lily and her giraffe bread. Lily was peacefully eating her “tiger bread,” when she noticed that the bread looked more like a giraffe than a tiger. So she sent a letter to the grocery that makes the bread, saying, “Why is tiger bread called tiger bread? It should be giraffe bread.” Not the usual question that customer service gets, but she had a point: the bread did look like a giraffe.
Instead of throwing away the letter, the grocery’s customer service manager, Chris King, acknowledged the fact and told her that they’d be renaming the bread “giraffe bread.” He also sent her a nifty gift card!
4. Amazon UK cares for cats
Amazon UK typically delivers items in containers that are only as big as necessary. So they sent a couple of small items to a woman named Beth in an envelope. What Amazon UK didn’t know was that the items were for a cat named Molly. Cats don’t like envelopes; they like boxes they can snuggle in.
Beth shot Amazon UK a message through Twitter saying that they ruined Molly’s birthday because they didn’t send the items in a box. Amazon responded, and actually sent them a box big enough for a cat to fit in, with an extra birthday gift for Molly. Molly had the birthday of her life!
5. Shep Hyken sent ME a book
Over the past years we use the transcosmos blog as a way to provide customer service and IT support resources to our readers and employees. We find that this blog is an effective avenue for us to empower our team, and it made sense to provide the same material to inspire clients and random viewers as well. As we built up our blog and researched for customer service insights, we were introduced to a number of customer service experts, one of which is Shep Hyken.
His blog is top-class, one of the best and most consistent customer service blogs in our time, and so naturally we started blogging about Shep and the things we learn and pick up from his posts and twits. While this is not your ordinary customer service incident, as someone who benefits and learns from a product that Shep builds, I reckon I may be considered as one of his “customers” and an avid follower.
That’s why it was a wonderful surprise when, one August afternoon in 2014, I received a book in the mail with a personalized letter from Shep Hyken himself.
Not only did we love Shep’s book, his genuine and unexpected act of kindness was, to us, a classic example of the very thing he preaches—providing exemplary customer experience, above and beyond the extra mile.
Two years later, we still remember the kind gesture, and Shep will forever have our sincere appreciation and respect. Thanks, Shep!
Essentially, that’s what great customer service means. Customers are people who have specific—sometimes odd and quirky—needs. But how do great companies differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack? By attending to these quirky needs. It shows people that the company can respond in a manner that people won’t forget. If people can’t forget you for these deeds, that means you’ve built up great customer service.