Here are the top 10 WOW Customer Service stories from 2018
Every year we keep our eyes open for the top 10 customer service stories that reflect the very best of organizations and their employees. As with other years, 2018 produced some truly great examples of customer service and are excited about sharing them.
As a customer experience consulting and customer service training company, we find these examples invaluable in examining and illustrating the skills and attitudes that create wow experiences and real customer loyalty. We hope that you find these top 10 WOW customer service stories from 2018 as useful, enlightening and inspiring as we do! Here are our winners, presented in order from number 10 to number one.
10. So, A Bear Walks Into A Liquor Store…
There likely aren’t a lot of customer service manuals out there with instructions on what to do when a bear wanders into a store. Fortunately, a quick-thinking employee at Crazy Bruce’s Discount Liquor was able to avert a potential disaster. When the automatic outside doors opened and a bear walked it, the employee swiftly moved to lock the inside door to prevent the bear from entering. It was a good thing that he stayed alert, because moments later, a customer walked into the vestibule where the bear was. Fortunately, the employee was able unlock the door and let the customer into the store before things went horribly wrong. It is a great (and unique) reminder of the role that awareness plays in customer service.
9. Trader Joe’s Employee Says it With Flowers
Sometimes we forget how much of an impact a small gesture can make. A cashier at Trader Joe’s was chatting with a customer at the checkout, and heard her mention, “it’s just me and the kids.” After the customer left, the cashier ran after her with a bouquet of purple roses. She asked “you are a single mom right?” When the customer said yes, the cashier handed them to her, saying, “Here, these are for you.” The customer had been going through a tough time, and was deeply touched by the gesture. She posted her experience on Reddit, saying “If you’re on reddit, thank you. You are an amazing kind woman and your kindness is an even greater gift than the beautiful roses.”
For the record, there are a number of similar stories about Trader Joe’s out there. Kudo’s to a company that empowers their employees to make a difference in the lives of their customers.
8. Burger King Employee’s Side Order of Caring
Providing outstanding customer service is a lot of work, particularly in a high-traffic environment. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of just processing customers instead of caring about them. Well, this certainly isn’t the case for Amarillo, Texas Burger King drive-thru cashier Tina Hardy.
When Rebecca Boening, a diabetic, realized that her blood sugar had dropped to dangerously low levels she pulled into the Burger King, and mentioned her situation to the voice on the other end of the speaker. When she pulled up to the window, she was surprised to see Tina rushing toward her with a small cup of ice cream. After Ms. Boening received her order, Tina pointed at a nearby place to park so that she could keep an eye on her until she felt better. Her quick action and compassion are a lesson for all of us.
7. All I want for Christmas is… a Chihuahua…
The foundation of outstanding customer service is caring. And there is no better illustration of this than this beautiful story out of Cubby’s Convenience Store in Mitchell, South Dakota. Brad Roop was a long-time customer whose 14-year-old chihuahua, Sweetie, had passed away earlier this year.
Cubby’s employees Larissa Donaldson and Faith Lentz knew how much the dog meant to Mr. Roop, and that it was the most recent heartbreak in a series of sad events for him. They enlisted the help of a local breeder, found a new puppy, and presented it to him in a gift basket. Needless to say, Roop was overwhelmed at the wonderful gesture. Ms. Lentz said that it was just the right thing to do: “They (customers) are not another dollar to us. We treat them like family.” What a concept!
6. Southwest Employee… Just, well… Wow…
Southwest Airlines has a long history of creating wow customer experiences, so it should not come as a surprise that they are on this list. This story is of Vicky Chasse, hoping to fulfill her 86-year-old mother’s dream to see singer Chayanne live in Las Vegas. She had booked the flight, but they ended up missing it. The last-minute prices on the only other flight available was a prohibitive $1,000 extra. Ms. Chasse was in tears at the thought of letting her down. But Christy, at the ticket counter of Southwest, wasn’t about to let that happen.
After hearing the story, she gave them two of her personal employee “buddy passes” so could make it to Vegas at no extra charge. What could be a better outcome than making a customer’s dream come true?
“One of the best business books of the year!”
The Journey to WOW: the path to outstanding customer experience and loyalty
5. H-E-B Employee – Would You Like This Gift Rapped?
When an employee goes out of his or her way to make an experience special, everyone appreciates it. In a San Antonio H-E-B, one employee went the extra mile in unique fashion. Competing to win prizes for selling items at the cash, Dabi Arreola opted to entertain his customers with some freestyle rap at the end of each transaction. It’s not the first time he’s done it, and has become well-known to customers for the fun he injects into each interaction. It’s a great reminder how much of a difference someone we can make when we make an effort to stand out.
4. This Is Where Customer Service Starts
Caring about colleagues is just as important as caring about customers, and it lies at the heart of outstanding customer service. Sadly, though, internal customer service is too often overlooked in too many organizations. It’s alive and well, however, with the staff at Ruffino’s Restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana.
When Kea, a long-term restaurant employee, had his car stolen from the parking lot, the rest of the team didn’t just sit idly by. They chose to do something wonderful instead. One week after the theft, the restaurant manager asked Kea to walk out to the parking lot with him. Waiting for him was all the staff – and a new car they had all pitched in to purchase for him. Wow.
3. Ikea Demonstrates How To Build Real Loyalty
A massive accident occurred on the M25 in Thurrock, England, stranding hundreds of motorists, and forcing people to sleep in their cars overnight. The local Ikea had close to 200 customers in the store at the time, with no way to get home.Recognizing that their customers were trapped, To help out, the store offered them beds to relax and sleep. Ikea clearly understands the principle that if you want customers to care about you, you have to care about them.
“The Belding Group Helped Transform How We Interact With Customers”
2. Doctor Uses Twitter To Jumpstart Unresponsive Drug Company
This is actually a story which will appear in both our top 10 WOW customer service stories list, and the list of Top 10 worst customer service stories. The good story surrounds a doctor who went all out to fight for a patient.
Dr. Julie Kanter, a sickle cell disease specialist in South Carolina, was struggling to help a patient who had unexpectedly been denied an important drug which she had been prescribing for over two years. Dr. Kanter wanted to call the company, OptumRx, to sort things out, but all they had available was a fax number. So she sent a fax imploring that someone call her only to have them completely ignored. Finally, in frustration, she turned to Twitter. Her initial tweets to OptumRx were ignored, but she didn’t give up. It took well over two days of resolve and steady persistence to finally managed to get everything sorted out. This is a great example of someone demonstrating tremendous commitment to a customer (patient), and genuinely caring about creating a positive outcome.
1. The 225-Mile Pizza Delivery
In October, 2018, Steve’s Pizza in Battle Creek, Michigan delivered more than just a pizza. They delivered a customer experience that topped our list of WOW customer service stories for 2018.
Steve’s Pizza had been Rich and Julie Morgan’s go-to meal on Friday nights for two years. 20 years and a move to Indianapolis later, they still talked about it being the best pizza they’d ever had. In fact, they had planned to make the drive to Battle Creek in September to celebrate Ms. Morgan’s 56th birthday. That plan vanished with the devastating news that Steve Morgan had a severe and fatal form of cancer.
Ms. Morgan’s father knew how much the restaurant had meant to the couple. He called, in hopes of getting perhaps a note from them. But the person who answered,18-year-old Dalton Shaffer, wasn’t about to give them a note. Instead, he jumped in his car and drove 2 sixteen-inch pizzas 225 miles to the Morgans’ door. When asked about it he said, “I just wanted to do that for them. I just wanted to make them happy.”
He did indeed. and he stands out as a role model for everyone in customer service.
Stay tuned for next week, when we announce the 10 Worst Customer Service Experiences of 2018!