REAL Customer service…

In this day and age, pretty much a lost art… or service…

Some stories from the past and some from high end stores/retailers


-A guy jokingly tweeted Morton’s Steakhouse to deliver a porterhouse when he landed at the airport. They delivered. The guy was really shocked, as he noted that in order for the delivery to happen his Tweet had to be noticed, someone had to get approval for the idea, a cook had to make his food, the food had to be driven 23.5 miles away from the nearest Morton’s, and someone had to track down his flight information and figure out where he was landing to meet him at the right location.

-A Zappos customer’s mother had recently had some medical treatment that left her feet numb and sensitive to pressure – and also rendering most of her shoes totally useless. She ordered her mother six pairs of shoes from Zappos, hoping that at least one of them would work. After receiving the shoes, her mother called Zappos to get instructions on how to return the shoes that didn’t work, explaining why she was returning so many shoes. Two days later, she received a large bouquet of flowers from Zappos, wishing her well and hoping that she recovered from her treatments soon. Two days later, the customer, her mother and her sister were all upgraded to Zappos VIP Members which gives them all free expedited shipping on all orders.

-One more Zappos story. CEO Tony Hsieh took some clients out for a night on the town. After the bar closed, they all went back to their hotel. One of his clients had a yearning for a pizza, but it was 2am and the hotel kitchen was closed. So Hsieh suggested she call Zappos and see if they could find her a pizza. In other words, he told his client to call his company, a fashion retailer -at two in the morning- and ask for a pizza. So the client called Zappos and asked for a pizza. There was a short pause on the other end of the line, then the Zappos operator found three pizza stores near the hotel that were still open, and ordered the pizza.

-A UK grocery store must have been pretty amused when they received a letter from a three-year-old girl named Lily. “Why is tiger bread called tiger bread?” she asked, referring to one of their bakery items. “It should be called giraffe bread”. Lily was just being observant – the pattern on the bread does resemble a giraffe more than a tiger. To everyone’s surprise, a customer service manager at the chain, responded. “I think renaming tiger bread to giraffe bread is a brilliant idea – it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it? It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a long time ago thought it looked stripy like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly”. He enclosed a gift card, and the bread was renamed later that year.

-There is a famous story about Macy’s Department store back in the 1950s. One day, a customer walked in to return an item she had purchased. Macy’s took it back with a smile, refunded the full purchase price, and the lady left happy. This may not sound overly remarkable but it is because Macy’s didn’t even sell the product the lady returned. They simply wanted to do everything in their power to have that lady leave the store happy, because a happy customer is a repeat customer. They gave her a refund, even though she had bought the item at another store.

-An 89-year-old grandfather got snowed in a couple years ago and found himself with barely any food in the house. His daughter called several markets in the area to see if any of them had grocery delivery services, but the only one that said they did was Trader Joe’s. They actually don’t but were willing to help out this old guy. As the man’s daughter placed an order, the Trader Joe’s representative on the phone recommended other items that would be good for her dad’s low-sodium diet. An up-sell? Nope. Delivery and of course groceries were free of charge.

-A man was en route from a business trip in LA to his daughter’s home in Denver to say goodbye to his dying grandson. Since this was quite sudden, the man’s wife called Southwest to arrange the last-minute flight and explained the emergency situation. Unfortunately, the man was held up by L.A. traffic and long lines at LAX – and didn’t make it to the gate on time. When he finally did make it 12 minutes after the plane was scheduled to leave, he was shocked to find the pilot waiting for him.

-Because of their son’s food allergies, a family vacationing at the Ritz-Carlton, Bali, was always careful to bring their own supply of specialised eggs and milk. In this particular instance, however, the food was ruined en route. The Ritz-Carlton manager couldn’t find any of the special items in town, but his executive chef recalled that a store in Singapore sold them. The chef contacted his mother-in-law, who lived there, and had her purchase the items, then fly to Bali [about 2.5 hours away] to deliver them. Only at the Ritz-Carlton.

-It’s 1am and freezing in New York City. A father and his kids are camped out in front of the Radio City Music Hall, hoping to get wristbands for the NFL Draft but the ticket window won’t open for another five hours. Suddenly, a taxi pulls up, doorman jumps out, drapes the family in blankets, hands them all cups of hot chocolate then speeds off. It wasn’t an act of random kindness, it was incredible customer service. The family had checked into the Ritz-Carlton before heading out to Radio City and the night manager there wanted to make sure they were comfortable as they waited in the cold – even though they were on a sidewalk four miles from the hotel.

-At a Nordstrom’s department store a member of the security staff noticed a woman crawling around on her hands and knees on the sales floor. When he discovered that she was looking for a diamond that had fallen out of her wedding ring while she was trying on clothes, he got down and searched with her. He also recruited a small team of people to help comb the floors. Eventually, the crew painstakingly picked through the dirt and debris in the store vacuum cleaners before coming up with the woman’s diamond.

-Apparently a man bought an iPad online before returning it to Apple almost immediately, affixing a Post-It to the front of the device that simply read “Wife said no”. Returns processors must have gotten a kick out of it because the story eventually made its way to a couple of Apple VPs, who refunded the customer and returned the iPad with an attached Post-It that said “Apple said yes”.


REAL Customer service… — 16 Comments

  1. In today’s world, where one is as likely to get flipped-off as any service, these stories are remarkable!
    Thanks for giving me hope.


  2. The usual viewpoint on customer service and satisfaction is a happy customer will tell four to five people about their good experience. An unhappy customer will tell over twenty people, and will do so for years. Now comes along Old NFO who blows apart that equation by telling thousands.

  3. Those are awesome stories.. I have one, for christmas one year we bought our boxer “ruger” a “tough tire” it was suppose to be indestructible…well, it was destructible.. I paid over 15.00 for it, and Called the company who made it. I told them my story. She kindly sent a tire that was more for his tough chewing at no extra charge. and did not ask for me to return one he chewed up…

    Another time, we lost a “might mite” anchor while out on our boat. It was marketed that it would not get snagged or etc… well, we managed to do it, Senior had to cut the line and forever lost the anchor. I called the company, told them what happend and they replaced it questions asked..

  4. On the flip side, I often ask for the manager when I dine out and the service is great.
    I love the look on their face (and the look of relief on the server) when I compliment them and the server on the service.

  5. Guffaw- Yep, good point!

    Suz- Good! 🙂

    Rev- Agreed dammit…

    WSF- LOL, breaking the mold as usual here…

    JUGM- Yep, they ‘do’ exist!!! I need to get one of those tires for Vito, he ATE a damn motorcycle tire!

    Chief- Yep, good one, and I can’t help but laugh at the sequence where the ‘pilot’ is walking along and it’s following him…

    Keads- It’s close, but still on life support!

    Ed- That’s a good way to handle it!

    Rick- Hope, however slim…

  6. One from my own personal experience:
    A couple years ago, I bought a mid-range headset for my PC from Turtle Beach, a company that specializes in mid-range audio products for gamers. While hauling them to a convention as part of my PC gear, the headset broke. Fortunately Turtle Beach had a booth there, and not only replaced them for me at the end of the show, they gave me an upgrade to the surround sound set!

    It didn’t end there, however, as the pair they gave me turned out to have a bad speaker. I explained my odd method of acquisition to customer service, who then replaced them for no charge. A year later, the replacement set had a connection wire in the control box go bad, reducing me to mono sound. Turtle Beach once again replaced the set, still at no charge.

    I’m pretty much a customer for life there at this point.

  7. Thanks for this, dearie. I needed a reminder why I want my service at work to be a cut above the others. I’m about to head in to the sausage factory for a 12 or so hour day. Ugh.

  8. Phlegmmy- Hang in there! And it’s a great goal (and I know how hard you work to MAKE it better)!!!