When you see a bartender having a drink at an establishment where they don’t work, you know you picked a good spot.
Likewise, customer service professionals have a keen sense of what makes for a truly great customer experience. When a support pro pays your service a compliment, you can really take it to heart.
These feel-good stories from customer champions demonstrate how a little extra effort and care really do make a difference.
Daniel Siemaszkiewicz, Buffer
Recently I’ve been working remotely in San Diego and had the chance to work out of a cafe in the La Jolla area. There’s no parking aside from 15-minute zones in front of the cafe, so I asked the barista if there was better parking in the area. Immediately, he pointed me to a spot up the street in residential parking, down a small alley where I could leave my car. It was a spot I would never have thought to check, and it relieved a huge worry I have when I work remotely from a cafe.
The reason I chose to work in the La Jolla area was that a really nice surf swell was coming in, which I was hoping to experience as soon as I jumped offline for the day. While working, I asked the barista which of the three main spots would be the best, and he shared his thoughts despite what the main surf reports were saying. That’s no small ask as a lot of locals are territorial about their favorite surf spots, and it made me feel like I was in my own home and amongst friends.
At the end of the day, the barista was closing down right as I was logging off. He was so thoughtful and, already knowing my plans for the evening, shared a HUGE bag of muffins with me for free to refuel after the surf session.
Working from this cafe turned out to be an extremely pleasant four hours of my day, in which I was looked after and made to feel as though I wasn’t far from home. The helpful tips the barista shared were way outside of his primary responsibilities, and that’s what made this special. It goes so far to have someone go out of their way to make you feel taken care of, and it would’ve totally been normal for him to point me towards the 15-minute parking spot, share the major spots that were just fine for surfing that evening, and send me on my way with no muffins. He chose differently, and now I know exactly where to go whenever in the area for more than just a great place to work from and great coffee.
Sarah Betts, Olark
Last year I sold my house, but my new house had some paperwork delays, leaving me homeless for three weeks. I went to set up a P.O. Box so I could still get mail. Technically, you can’t do that unless you can give a physical address. The clerk was so sweet and asked “Are you officially out of your house?”
“Today, yes,” I replied.
“Today ends at midnight, so you’re still in possession of that house for another eight hours!”
She urged that I come back and update the address as soon as I had one and wished me all the luck. I walked out with an address to forward paperwork to and one less worry. When I came back to finish up the paperwork three weeks later, she remembered me and gave me a huge hug. I know they get a bad rap, but this USPS clerk found a way to use strict regulations to help me out of a tight spot.
Chase Clemons, Basecamp
On a flight back into Nashville, the flight attendant, Judy, went above and beyond the standard “here’s your drink now shut up and sit back” drill we see with most airlines.
The very first thing she did was memorize the names of everyone in her section. Then she used our names every time she asked if we needed something. It was such a small thing but a huge win for us as customers.
In every part of the flight, Judy was funny and engaging. She pepped up the safety instructions. She threw in jokes and told a few stories. She was attentive to my every need, making sure my drink was full and that I had some snacks. She even snuck me the last pack of Oreos after I asked if she had any by chance.
You could tell Judy loved her job and it meant we had an outstanding experience on what’s typically a boring flight.
Florens Roell, Aircall
A couple of years ago I took a flight from Dallas to Boston with Southwest Airlines. Midway through the flight, I decided to purchase the in-flight internet to catch up on some work. Although the internet worked for some of my neighbors, it was not connecting for me.
After explaining my issue to the flight attendant, she spent the next 15 minutes investigating. When she returned she explained that the internet would not be working due to some technical issues. To compensate, she offered free drink vouchers.
A few days later I found out that I was charged for the in-flight internet. Although the charge was only $8 dollars, I planned to write an email to customer support. Surprisingly, before I even had the chance to contact support, I received an email from Southwest stating that I had been refunded. The fact that they reached out proactively is something I really appreciated.
Carmel Granahan, OnePageCRM
A few years ago I walked out to my car to find I had a flat tire. Not having much experience with tire changing, I asked my sister’s husband for help. After approximately 30 minutes, I realized things were not going well; he had broken not one, not two, not three, but all four bolts in the wheel (turns out he had been tightening them and not loosening them).
Thankfully, my insurance company provided breakdown assistance as part of my package. Within 20 minutes, the repairman arrived, breakdown truck in tow. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw all four bolts broken in the wheel. He’d never witnessed this before in his 30 years of service.
After 10 minutes trying to get the bolts released with his regular tools, none of them would budge, so he called his colleague for tips but still nothing. He did a Google search from his phone with no results.
Just as I resigned myself to the fact that my car needed to be towed away, the repairman tried one last ditch attempt: His wife had bought him a “survival” truck kit for Christmas and in it there was a tweezer-like tool with a very longer narrow edge. He said he’d “give it a go.”
Sure enough, he managed to remove all four bolts and successfully change the tire. I was so overwhelmed with this patience, perseverance, and overall can-do attitude, that I tweeted his company to say thanks. The easy option was to tow it away, the customer-first option was to get the bolts out and get me back on the road.
Will Stephens, BeerMenus
I’ve always loved sharing my homebrew with the BeerMenus team. In the beginning, ingredients were easy to grab — I was only brewing for a few folks. But as the BeerMenus team has grown, so has the amount of ingredients I’ve had to purchase to keep my output up with team members’ consumption. (We enjoy a beer or two every now and then.)
We’re IPA lovers, so a lot of the purchases I now make are hops. I recently placed a particularly large hop order with Farmhouse Brewing Supply. Nothing out of the ordinary there.
But when my order arrived, it was entirely wrong. I emailed the support@ email address and explained what I had received versus what I ordered. Within five minutes I got a response from John, the owner: “I was expecting your message. We shipped you the wrong order.”
John is a very experienced homebrewer and is actually in the process of starting his own brewery. In fact, he started Farmhouse Brewing Supplies so that he could have better access to hops himself. While John and I went back and forth to get my order ironed out, he also shared several tips, recommended a recipe to use to improve my beers, and also shipped me a new product—hop extract—that’s a part of the recipe he recommended. All the tips and the hop extract were on the house.
John is in a position to see how all the country’s best homebrewers are tweaking and improving recipes, and his recommendations meant a lot to me. I particularly enjoy interacting with support teams at small businesses. These businesses are often started by people who wanted their own product to exist, use their own product every day, and are extreme experts in the domain. This personal and expert touch more than makes up for any mistakes in orders and makes me a loyal customer.
Nick Simard, Zapier
My wife and I stayed up past midnight to reserve two new iPhone 7 Pluses so we could pick them up right before we left for vacation in Maui (yes, we’re ridiculous tech nerds who needed the new phones for our trip).
The day we were scheduled to pick up our phones, we waited about 20 minutes after our scheduled time, but otherwise everything went smoothly with my wife’s phone and we even threw in a new iPod for our son.
When my turn came, the man who had been helping us came out from the back room and said, “I’m sorry but we don’t have your phone here.” I thought he was joking. Somehow the phone that I ordered just a few minutes past midnight on pre-order day — and had a confirmation number for — just wasn’t there.
The manager came out to apologize, and I told him we were leaving mainland USA the next day, and I’d appreciate it if they could somehow track down a phone for me. I didn’t make a huge fuss about it, but I was quite disappointed.
A few minutes later, the manager returned from the magical Apple Store back room with a box. “I found a black iPhone 7 Plus, but it’s only 128GB,” he said. That was perfect, since I’d only chosen 256GB because 128GB wasn’t available at that store.
Then, they had to jump through some hoops in order to actually sell me the phone, since they had to add it to the stock in their system so my rep could use it. They had to time the move just right to make sure someone else didn’t take it during that split second that it was available. It was quite a process. There were two reps with phones at the ready, one releasing it and the other re-claiming it for me. And it worked!
This was a super busy launch day, and they could have said there was a mix-up and my phone was gone — too bad, so sad. Instead, we left the store feeling like the Apple Store manager and reps cared about making sure we were treated right and that we were happy. That’s how you provide killer customer service, by going the extra mile and doing more than the bare minimum that we’ve grown increasingly accustomed to receiving.
Abigail Phillips, Help Scout
When I was around 18 years old, I got a jacket from Patagonia in Freeport, Maine. It was only around $40, but I loved it and wore it for six years. After years of being my go-to jacket, it started to tear on one of the shoulders. While six years is more than satisfactory for the lifespan of a jacket, I was so bummed that I wanted to see if they could save it. I sent it to Patagonia and asked if they could repair it (it’s part of their lifetime warranty). I wasn’t expecting more than that; just a repair, so I could wear my favorite jacket again. After all, I’d definitely gotten my full use out of it over six years.
The reply I got surprised me: Patagonia emailed me saying that they couldn’t repair the jacket, so they gave me a $140 gift certificate for the full-price current version of the jacket instead. No questions asked!
It was easy, and they didn’t make me work for it. I didn’t have to explain. I asked for repair, they couldn’t do it, so they went above and beyond to make me happy by giving me the credit. Honestly, the way they handled this made me want to only buy Patagonia from now on, because I feel like they have my back, and I trust them. They’re good people.
Heather Noonan Hargroves, Campaign Monitor
I’d ordered a collection of travel makeup from Benefit to take with me on a trip out of town. It was delivered to the wrong address, and it wasn’t going to get to me before I left. I messaged them on Facebook, and they sent out the same products that day (delivered the next day). When I got the delivery, they’d also included a bunch of free stuff and a note saying they hoped I enjoyed my trip and to keep the original delivery when I got back.
On a different occasion, my favourite perfume was discontinued. When I made a sad tweet lamenting the loss, the department store contacted me and sent me a free bottle from the last of their warehouse stock. It was worth £100!
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