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Monthly Mash: Customer Service Tools and Innovating Pizza

Volume 7: May 2012

Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.

The Month in Customer Service Blogging

A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience I read this past month.

A great story of service recovery.

I generally don’t focus on “complaint” stories here at Customers That Stick. Only, when there is a lesson to be learned, and perhaps a positive ending to be realized. An bad customer experience led this blogger to shed light on what can happen with subcontractors who provide goods and services below the company’s standards. In this case, she refers to an online marketplace for fine foods. The story exposed the poor execution of an order she placed for some gourmet chocolate that was delivered to her door in a nearly-empty box with open and broken candy inside.

A week after she posted the grievance, she came home to find a box from the same retailer who had messed up the original order. In a neatly packaged box, she found her original order (completely intact), information for contacting their customer service department and a few extras to say “we’re sorry.” Her second post was much more complimentary of the company, especially because they gave her experience (and perception) a completely positive 180 degree turn. Great customer service is not always about getting it right the first time, but going out of your way for the customer when you mess up.

Someone Was Listening

Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.

How to Improve Your Customer Experience: John DiJulius Interview, Part 3 – Of my four interviews with customer service expert John DiJulius, I thought this one was packed from start to finish with incredible insights. If you missed this the first time around, you should definitely check it out now.

Thoughts on The Customer: Innovating and Anticipating

Henry Ford is somewhat dubiously attributed with saying, “if I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse.”  Steve Jobs was known for developing devices like  the iPod and iPad that people did not even know they wanted. We spend so much time in customer service focused on listening to the customers that it is easy to forget to innovate for them.

A great example of innovation that leads customers and does not follow them is found in the video below from Red Tomato Pizza in Dubai. They came up with a seemingly great invention — a refrigerator magnet that has a button on it. You press it, and it automatically sends a signal to the company with a preset pizza order.

Are you innovating for your customer? Is your team empowered to present (or, in some cases, even try) innovative ideas? Sometimes the idea that will make our customers stick is not something they have even heard of before; it’s something that does not exist at this moment.

The admonition to “think outside of the box” is a cliche, but the reason for that is the advice is often a great idea!


By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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5 replies
  1. Shakirah Dawud
    Shakirah Dawud says:

    I confess I came for the pizza, and now I see there’s chocolate, too! A bit early, but don’t mind if I do.

    Seriously, though, I appreciated Ginger’s thought aloud: “My question: Is this a case of the squeaky wheel gets oiled, or is surprise and delight an approach igourmet takes with all its customers?”

    Responding positively to a public complaint is certainly commendable. But what about the QC process as insurance against the dangerously silent customer who will just quietly chuck the first box in the trash and never give the company another thought (like me)?

    • Adam Toporek
      Adam Toporek says:

      Ha ha. I like to make sure everyone is well fed here. 🙂

      I agree; it’s a legitimate question about the squeaky wheel. Of course, they do “get oiled” — it’s just the nature of business, but what is being done to prevent them from squeaking in the first place? That is the challenge, as you point out, and the goal for companies such as the one mentioned.

      Great seeing you Shakirah!

  2. Bill Dorman
    Bill Dorman says:

    Did someone say food?

    I finally was able to listen to Part 3 of your series w/ John; it’s always good stuff. Your roundup is good too; we’ve struggled with the live voice and people not picking up phones. Improper use sure can create a bad experience.

    Hope you have been well; busy few days for me.

    • Adam Toporek
      Adam Toporek says:

      I don’t know why pizza keeps getting highlighted! I must be hungry when I write.

      Glad you got to check out the 3rd video. John really has amazing things to share.

      Great to see you Bill!


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