Tales of Great Customer Service

79I see stories of bad customer service on Facebook significantly more than those of good customer service, so I thought I’d use today’s blog entry to celebrate two great customer service experiences I had recently.

The first involves a t-shirt printing company called CustomInk. I had ordered a few Stonemaier Games t-shirts from them a while back, and I recently revisited the site to place a much larger order for the ambassador program I started.

An hour or so after I placed the order, I got an e-mail from customer service. They were happy that I ordered more shirts, and they noticed that I was paying for a design they already had on file (because of my previous order). As a result, they reduced the charge for the new order by $20.

The remarkable thing to me about this experience is that they didn’t have to credit the $20 to me. I never would have known the difference, and I would have been perfectly happy with the order anyway. But that wasn’t good enough for them. They went the extra mile, losing $20 in the short term, but gaining a long-term customer in the process.

Office MaxThe second story I have involves Office Max. I hardly ever shop for anything in person these days–I do everything online. But I was in the area of an Office Max, and I needed a few things, so I stopped in.

My excellent customer service experience started the moment I walked in the door and didn’t stop until I left. Within three steps of entering the building, an employee approached me and asked if I was looking for anything in particular. I told him yes, and I described the shelves I was looking for.

He didn’t point me in the direction of the shelf section of the store–that’s standard practice, and I wouldn’t have had a problem with it. But it was really nice that he walked me over to the shelves, talked me through the merits of a few of them, and let me make a decision. Nothing pushy.

He said that he would go get the box from the warehouse, and he asked if I was looking for anything else. I told him I needed some bubble mailers, and again, he walked me over to the bubble mailer aisle. He left me there while he went to get the shelves. When he got back, he must have noticed that some fancy desk chairs had caught my eye, because he left the shelf box near the bubble mailer aisle.

When I wisely decided not to buy a fancy leather chair that Walter would immediately ruin with his front claws, I walked towards the bubble mailer section (adding a few plastic compartments to my armload while I walked) and was casually intercepted by the employee. He carried the shelf box with me over to check out and loaded all of my items onto a shopping card while I paid the bill. When I hastily crumpled up the receipt, he pointed out the discount I could receive if I registered at the website.

I can’t speak highly enough about the overall experience. The level of attentiveness (without pushiness) was off the charts. I don’t know if it was just that employee or if Office Max is known for that level of service, but either way, it was amazing. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back if they every got a cat-proof desk chair.

What’s an example of great customer service you experienced recently?

6 thoughts on “Tales of Great Customer Service”

  1. Wow. That’s funny you should mention that. I just placed an order through CustomInk (my 2nd time using them) as well in the last 2 weeks and the woman on the phone was SO overly enthusiastic about helping me with everything that for a moment I thought she was a phony. But as the conversation continued on, I quickly realized she truly was being THAT helpful, and THAT friendly. She started asking about my family and our new business (which is why I was ordering the shirts) and all sorts of things.

    We talked for over 20 minutes, mostly about my order, but also just about life. It was one of the best customer service experiences I’ve had. She did everything in her power to make my experience with them a memorable one, and she succeeded very much so. 🙂

    • That’s awesome to hear about CustomInk! It must be part of their company culture. Given the number of custom t-shirt companies out there, it’s differentiating factors like this that help to make CustomInk stand out from the rest.

  2. Love this entry idea. Recently when I mentioned CentUp to you, the founder (whom I had done an email interview with for a blog article) saw that I was tweeting bloggers to help promote their concept, and not only praised and thanked me on Twitter, but asked for my account # so he could credit my account with some cash, so that I could continue to give money to bloggers and charity on their platform. It was totally unnecessary but delightful.

    I have also had multiple excellent experiences with my bank, PNC (took over National City). One time upon calling with an odd question, the woman directly told me, “I will not transfer you, don’t worry. I’ll figure out how to take care of this with you right now.” Again, unnecessary, I completely anticipated being transferred to the right department and explaining my question all over again, but it was nice that they recognized that most people hate that. Also the North Grand location is outstanding – my teller hugged me, as she had hugged the person in front of me. Like came around from behind the counter to give me a hug (if I was receptive, which I was).

    • Emma–That is really neat to hear about CentUp. I love how Twitter can connect businesses with people in such a personal way.

      I think you (and others) have talked about PNC in the past, and these stories continue to impress me. I want hugs from tellers!

  3. A month or two ago, I was out and about with Charlotte on a Saturday, and it was getting close to dinnertime. We were near an Italian restaurant that we had been to before, but it had been a while since our last visit. I remembered it had been a nice, family-friendly place where we could get a decent meal, so I headed in that direction. When we pulled in, I noticed that the name was now different, but I didn’t think much of it. Once we walked inside, I could see that the entire place had been remodeled into an upscale, fancy-schmancy place, complete with candlelit tables, white tablecloths and more forks at each place setting than I knew what to do with. I froze and thought about bolting out, but the maître d’ had already set eyes on me and was asking me how many we had in our party. I looked down at Charlotte and said, “I think we’ll be having a romantic dinner for two this evening!” We sat down, and I discreetly threatened that she’d better behave while we were there. She’s always been incredible at restaurants, but I really wanted to make sure we wouldn’t have any incidents.

    I was worried that our older, distinguished-looking waiter would be kind of rude or snooty to us, but he was absolutely fantastic. He suggested a “Shirley Temple for the little Miss” right off the bat and pointed out a few kid-friendly suggestions from the menu. I always encourage her to talk to the wait staff and order her own food so that she gets used to doing it, and he was great about interacting with her. He checked up on us several times, and was the right level of attentive without being intrusive. He was friendly and awesome, and easily the best server I’ve ever had. It sounds weird, but he also had the best eye contact in the world. It was like he was staring into my soul and knew that I wanted the lobster ravioli before I did. So yeah, I pretty much want to be his best friend. We felt so comfortable that we lingered and ordered dessert. We got crème de menthe ice cream with chocolate ganache on top, which Charlotte was thrilled about because “it has that Magic Shell stuff on it!” He got a big fat tip at the end, and I’ll definitely be going back (sans kiddo) anytime I feel like having a nice dinner.

    • “It was like he was staring into my soul and knew that I wanted the lobster ravioli before I did.”

      That made me laugh out loud. Very well written. And I’m glad you had such a great experience at that restaurant! Would you care to share the name?


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