What’s Your Best Customer Service Story?

by Sherryl Perry

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The holiday season is upon us and last minute shoppers are hurriedly rushing through the stores and driving erratically through parking lots. Rather than relaxing and taking a deep breath and spending time with our friends and loved ones, many of us are making lists and stressing out over all of the things that we have left to do.

I’ve been stressing out over writing this post. Why? Would it be the end of the world if I went a week without a post? (Ok…. I know a lot of you have posts written ahead of time and have no problems just brushing one off and posting it but I confess that I don’t. Having a stash of posts is still on my “to-do” list.)

Granted, I have a long list of topics with ideas and notes but the point of most of them is to inform, educate or motivate. Well, personally, I’m feeling like a student in school waiting for the bell to ring signaling school vacation. I don’t feel like learning (or teaching) anything today.

So, I bring to you a story that I shared on another blogger’s post. Many of you may have read this already. The article I’m talking about is “Do You Have Marketing Lagniappe?” and it’s on Rob Berman’s blog. (If you want to know what the Creole word Lagniappe means, you can read it on Rob’s blog. I’m feeling especially lazy today.)

The comment that I left on Bob’s post was about exceeding customer expectations and it goes like this:

“I do my grocery shopping at Trucchi’s Supermarkets, a family owned grocery store chain that excels in customer service. I often find myself bagging my own groceries or being expected to “self-checkout” at most of the big chain stores but at Trucchi’s, I feel special. They even have associates that will load your groceries into your car.

I was shopping there during a torrential downpour and one of the associates was standing there dripping wet. Turns out, that an elderly couple had “lost” their car. (They were adamant that it had been stolen.) While they remained dry, he had searched for their vehicle, located it and then drove it to the door to pick them up. When they both began getting into the back seat, he had to tell them that he wasn’t able to drive them home.”

My motivation today for writing this post was partly to not have to think too hard and partly to share an example of a great customer service experience. On the other hand, Rob was inspired to write his post because of “The Purple Goldfish Project: How to Retain Customers and Influence Word of Mouth”. Stan Phelps is searching for 1,001 examples of Marketing Lagniappe for a book. I gave him permission to include my example.

So, in the holiday spirit, who else can share a great customer experience? Or, if anyone is feeling in a particularly Grinch-like state of mind, feel free to share a really dreadful experience. Your choice and Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays or Bah! Humbug! or whatever you’d like to celebrate). :)

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

James May 30, 2012 at 8:42 am

This is an awesome customer service done by the grocery staff. This will motivate more customers to visit their store. I believe products and service goes hand in hand for a popular and successful business.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Trucchi’s is continuing to do well. They just opened a new story (where a larger supermarket had closed). They know their niche well. Older customers especially appreciate shopping in a small store with quality meats and produce. Where the larger grocery stores in this area offer motor oil and office supplies, you won’t be able to buy that at a Trucchi’s market. Instead, you will find every cash register open (with a live person) and associates who will load your groceries into your car and return your carriage for you. There prices are relatively competitive too.
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Barney Delaney - Landscape Photography
Twitter:
May 11, 2012 at 8:41 am

Thanks for sharing! you always remember bad service, and almost always spread the word!
Barney

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm

That’s true Barney. People are much more likely to share a bad customer service experience than a good one.
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neil October 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Well i can tell you about the flipside of great customer service experience, I turned up for launch day at comet for the iPad2 and they couldn’t deal with the amount of people there and although Apple would not allow orders when it had to be a first come first serve basis they did take orders through out the day! However, great customer service is down to the company and what they do to train there employees.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Thanks for the feedback! I think the best stories are those that shared personal experiences. :)
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 18, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Good customer service does start with the employees. I agree. It is so important that employees are friendly as well as professional and knowledgeable. I’m amazed by companies that have staff that look bored and disinterested. It’s such a poor reflection on the business.
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John Knights June 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I might not very particular at good customer service, maybe because I’m already expecting that it should be that way in the beginning. Bad customer service are the experiences that are hard to forget in my opinion, there’s nothing more frustrating than having that kind of experience.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm

John, You make a good poing about bad customer service experiences being the ones that we don’t forget. People are quicker to share negative feedback than positive feedback. That’s one of the reasons that it’s so important for businesses to monitor the web to be aware of what people are saying about them. I have Google Alerts set up for this purpose. Do you use them?
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John Knights June 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Yes, I use Google Alerts to search for new blog posts.. It’s pretty convenient to have Google Alerts on your side to be always updated to whatever your interests are.

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Catarina Alexon
Twitter:
January 2, 2011 at 10:27 am

Agree with everyone, my brain is still on vacation. Let’s face it, there is no point in making an effort with blogs during Christmas & New Year since no matter what you do the readership goes down enourmously.

One thing that comes to mind is when I was running a press agency for The Observer in London. Had teams all over the world interviewing leaders in government and business. Don’t know how many times I got calls from angry secretaries about something that I had no idea about that the team, according to them, had done. Even once got a confirmation about an interview sent two weeks after it should have taken place(!). How can you send a team two weeks back in time. Anyway, the only thing to do was to apologize profoundly since there is nothing else you can do. Wasn’t our fault but an apology made a huge positive difference. Would they have given more interviews to us if I hadn’t apologized for something we hadn’t done?

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 2, 2011 at 11:01 am

That’s a great example of customer service from the viewpoint of the service provider. Thanks Catrina. It’s true. All you could do at that point was acknowledge what had happened, apologize and hope that your efforts to rebuild any damage that may have been done to your business relationship would be repaired. Sounds like it worked.

(As I read your blog, I often wonder what your background was . Thanks for the insight.)
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keyuri joshi
Twitter:
January 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Sherryl, I so appreciate your post. How I wish I had a stash of “ready to go” blogs! It seems that when I ask my brain to “think on demand”, it says “heck no!” It’s happening right now as I attempt to think of a customer service story!! Ugh! I know I’ve got plenty of them, but they’re not rising to the surface. I will say that Amazon was my “go to” resource for Holiday shopping. They just rock. They offer excellent prices, free or low cost shipping (on most items), a superb return policy that gives customers the benefit of the doubt, efficiency, courtesy, and an over all hassle free experience. They make life easy and that makes me happy. They are a good model that I hope to duplicate when I offer services to my own clients. Does that count as a customer service story?

May your new year be rich with blessings.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
January 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Sounds like a good customer service story to me! Having a superb return policy is great motivation for customers especially if they’re the slightest bit reluctant to buy online.

Thanks for the new year wishes Keyuri. I wish the same back to you!
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Vernessa Taylor
Twitter:
December 31, 2010 at 6:03 am

Hi Sherryl,

The days of front-door service seem like a by-gone era. That’s a lovely customer service story you’ve shared. As business owners, the premium we place upon customer service pays us back in untold riches!

I’d like to share a positive customer service experience I benefited from yesterday. What’s extra special about it is two-fold. First, I read your post yesterday and said I’d have to come back to it once I “remembered” something positive to share. Second, yesterday morning, when I opened my email, I had the perfect story!

To our valued customers:

As 2010 draws to a close, I would like to take a moment to thank each of you for your patience, understanding, and support during Skype’s recent outage.

We know how important your Skype conversations are to you and we take any disruption to our service very seriously. We are pleased to confirm that Skype is back to normal allowing you to connect with friends, co-workers, family and loved ones.

As a valued customer of Skype, we would like to offer you a sincere apology and offer you our gratitude with a credit voucher worth a call of more than 30 minutes to a landline in some of our most popular countries, such as USA, UK, Germany, China, Japan. Or spend it however you like on Skype.

To redeem your voucher . . .

Perfect, because I use Skype regularly, almost daily, and I didn’t even know Skype had even had an outage! :D

Get some rest and Happy New Year!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 31, 2010 at 10:08 am

What a wonderful story Vernessa! Thanks for sharing it. What makes this especially wonderful is that you didn’t know that Skype had an outage. What a great example of a company being proactive rather than reactive!

Happy New Year to you too!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..5 Tips for Incorporating Twitter into Your Social Networking StrategyMy Profile

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John Connor December 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

I thing that’s one of the best customer service story i read. Thanks for sharing…

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John December 28, 2010 at 9:40 am

Sherryl – I wish they had a Trucchi’s Supermarket nearby where I live because that would be great to have someone to load my groceries into my car for me. But if I had to share a great customer experience it would have to be one that happened recently when I went to a Chick-Fil-A.

I messed up when I was ordering and ordered the wrong menu item. When I reached the window at the drive thru I let the young lady know and she gladly changed my order and got my food out to me quickly with a smile on her face.

This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s hard to find a fast food restaurant where the people are so polite and willing to help you even if you goofed up. Happy new year to you and your family Sherryl.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm

That’s a great customer service story John! You’re right, a fast food drive-up window is the last place where I’d expect good service. Chick-Fil-A is fortunate to have such a great associate. I hope they appreciate her!

Happy New Year to you and your family too! :)

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TJ McDowell December 28, 2010 at 8:51 am

Unfortunately, we frequently hear of bad customer service more than good service. A few of the photographers in our area notoriously take on more work than they could handle, and end up not getting deliverables to clients until much later than they should. I understand a couple days, but we’re talking 6 months to a year. I think there’s a lesson there about not biting off more than you can chew so you can maintain your reputation.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm

That is so true TJ. Whenever I read reviews (especially on travel sites), I always take them with a grain of salt. People are so much more likely to write about a bad experience than they are a good one. It can be so damaging to your reputation to not meet expectations. Not delivering photography for 6 months or more is inexcusable.

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Paul Novak December 27, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Unfortunately, the only customer experience I have worth sharing so far is pretty horrible and is still simmering on my brains back burner until it is ripe for venting;)

It did inspire one positive guest post on Rick Lapoints blog though so I suppose it’s had some beneficial side effects.

Happy New Years.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 28, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I just read your customer experience on Rick’s blog. You always make me laugh Paul! :)

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Julie Weishaar
Twitter:
December 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Hi Sherryl,

Hmmm, “Happy holidays” or “bah humbug” – not sure which to choose LOL. How about I take the easy way out and not choose either :). Suffering from what is hopefully a temporary condition of “fried brain”. Have a wonderful holiday!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Julie, My brain is pretty fried too. I’m looking forward to starting afresh with the New Year.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm

You’re welcome Stan! Thanks for dropping by. Have a wonderful Christmas!

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Stan Phelps December 23, 2010 at 9:23 am

Thanks Sherryl. I love the Trucchi’s example. I appreciate you spreading the word for the Purple Goldfish Project. I just submitted Patricia’s @lavenderuses example as #638. One step closer to 1,001.
Enjoy the holidays.

Warmest regards,
Stan

‘The longest and hardest nine inches in marketing . . . is the average distance between the brain and the heart of your customer’

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Patricia@lavenderuses December 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Hi Sherryl

What a lovely idea and what excellent customer service you get at your local grocery store :-)

I had an excellent example this morning. One of my friends offered to set some stuff up for me FREE when I get the mailing service he is affiliate for. Also without even knowing if I would want or need this service he had already gone on Google chat (he seems to know when I am checking my gmail) and asked if I would like him to update my WordPress.

Geeks seem to enjoy doing all the tasks I love avoiding and that I don’t really have a clue about ;-) Of course he did it in record time and enjoyed himself in the process. All this at no cost to me. Guess who will be writing a testimonial on the service he offers on his site?!

Patricia Perth Australia

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm

That’s wonderful that your friend updated your WordPress for you! What a kind gesture and one I’m sure you won’t forget. Writing a testimonial for him in return is a great idea!

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Rob Berman December 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Sherryl:

Thanks so much for referencing and commenting on my post, Do You Have Marketing Lagniappe. Customer Service is so important to keeping customers happy.

Rob

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
December 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Customer service is so important. With the holidays upon us, I thought it would be the perfect time to bring up marketing Lagniappe again.

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