7 Insiprational Customer Service Stories | Rock Climber

7 Inspirational Customer Service Stories

Great customer service stories fascinate us. Perhaps because they represent the customer service we rarely experience. Perhaps because they restore our faith in our fellow human beings.

The stories that resonate the most tend to be the ones that touch the heart or make us feel inspired. Most of these stories tell a tale of connection — of one person going out of their way to make another feel good.

To examine the place customer service stories have in our lives and to collect some of our favorite stories, we have created a dedicated page of Inspirational Customer Service Stories.

Here is a preview of the stories you will find examined there:7 Insiprational Customer Service Stories | Rock Climber

  1. A Target Employee Becomes a Career Counselor — This Target employee went above and beyond the call of duty when a teenage boy came in to buy a tie.
  2. A Lost Giraffe Gets a Day at The Ritz — When his son lost Joshie the Giraffe at a Ritz Carlton resort, his father asked the staff for a favor and had his expectations blown away.
  3. A Waitress Serves Heroes Who Become Her Heroes — This waitress decided to buy a couple of firefighters a free meal, and she could never have imagined what would happen next.
  4. A McDonald’s Worker Abandons His Register — When an elderly disabled man approached the register at a busy McDonald’s, the cashier left his register, but he didn’t leave his customer.
  5. A Lost Lego Gets Ninja Treatment – When this young child wrote to Lego about the toy he lost, this Lego rep made two fans for life — the boy and his father.
  6. A Hotel Takes Birthday Surprise to the Next Level — A brief comment a few month’s earlier about my wife’s birthday turns into a Hero-Class® WOW start to a birthday weekend.
  7. A Trader Joe’s Employee Brightens a Customer’s Day — When this mother of adopted children hit the breaking point, a Trader Joe’s employee delivered the right gesture at the right time.

Want to read the stories?

CLICK HERE for our Inspirational Customer Service Stories page!


Be Your Customer's Hero

Understanding the Other Side of a Bad Customer Experience | Noodles being spooned into takeout box

Understanding the Other Side of a Bad Customer Experience

Creating great customer experiences and delivering great customer service almost always boils down to one thing: being able to understand the experience of customers — to walk a mile in their shoes and to build a better shoe or create a better walking path with that knowledge.

It begins by understanding what your customers are going through, especially when the experience is not a positive one.

A Tale of Takeout

My wife and I were both exhausted. On most nights, my wife cooks dinner, as my culinary repertoire is limited to frozen pizzas and eggs. However, on Tuesday, she just didn’t feel like it, and she decided to grab takeout from a place nearby — but not that nearby.

She usually only gets takeout from this restaurant coming home from the office. It’s on the way and really only adds 15-20 minutes to the commute home; to leave the house and get it is another matter entirely. It’s about 45-60 minutes total, 15-20 minutes of car time each way and about 15-20 minutes parking and going into the restaurant. There is virtually no parking in front of this Japanese/Sushi/Hibachi restaurant in a busy shopping center; you almost always end up parking in a separate lot, sometimes pretty far away. Read more

Documentation and a Tale of Four Phone Calls

The following is a post from Tricia Keels, Social Media Manager here at CTS.

What I like most about Tricia’s story is that it demonstrates how great systems and training can make a high effort experience as effortless as possible. While the product design could be more customer friendly (wait until the screwdriver part), the call center handled the situation like champs from beginning to end.

And now, Tricia…


large_6005186410Electronics and I don’t mix. Electronics and our 11-year-old son, Atticus, do. So you can imagine how upset he was to find his little sister had shoved the SD card into his Nintendo 3DS backwards. The thing never worked the same after that. It was time to call customer support.

My expectation was that I was going to waste my entire afternoon on hold, not understand what the techie was saying to me, and endure lots of noise, not only from my three kids running around, but from a noisy call center as well. You can see why I didn’t want to pick up the phone.

But, I love our son, and he bought this Nintendo 3DS with his own money, and it wasn’t even a year old.

What actually happened was the exact opposite of my expectations.

As customer service professionals, we are always thinking of ways to respect our customers’ time. Nintendo’s documentation, their expert call center reps, and their patience with us flipped this on its head. In the end, they had me, the customer, respecting their time as we navigated the steps to get this device fixed. Read More

How Do You Make Your Customers Feel?

In the days that followed Maya Angelou’s recent passing, people from across the world took time to remember the woman and her body of work. One of  Maya Angelou’s most popular quotes that made the rounds online delivers a message that should be emblazoned on the front of every customer experience training binder:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Maya Angelou

To better understand how this idea has played out in the real world, I set off to find stories of exemplary customer service that left people remembering a great feeling as a result. What I found was a little different.

  • “I felt unwelcome.”
  • “I felt taken advantage of.”
  • “I was so annoyed.”
  • “I was flat out angry.”

origin_3078856253I found the truth of Maya Angelou’s statement, but not in the way I hoped. It seems that when an organization gives a customer a negative feeling, that one stands out much more than a positive one.

Fortunately, it is possible for this to work in a positive way as well. Read More

Empowered To Solve The Problem

Recently my family became urban chicken farmers. After six weeks living in an indoor “coop” under a heat lamp, our new pets were ready to move outside. Our next step: get a coop.

We turned to the Internet to do our shopping. After a week of searching, we picked one out, clicked and ordered.

It arrived right on time, yea! But it was broken, boo! Four major parts had significant breaks. The thought of putting all the pieces back into the photo 2-4large box and shipping it across the country so they could send us a new one seemed crazy, costly and time consuming. So we called customer service in hopes of discovering a better solution.

I could tell you about the 20 minutes I sat on hold to talk to a customer service rep. Or the multiple emails that went unanswered. But that’s another blog post on wait time.

The part of this customer service encounter I really want to emphasize is problem solving. This company’s return policy is for the customer to repackage the broken product, drive it to the nearest Fedex, wait for the return to show up on their card, and then finally go back online and order another one. That’s a lot of work for me to continue doing business with them, and it doesn’t solve my problem of needing these chickens moved out of my house.

I decided to politely help them solve my problem by suggesting two solutions that would leave me relatively satisfied.  I went so far as to inform them we were ready to purchase some additional products as soon as this was resolved. Read More

How Eggciting is Great Customer Service?

Guest Poster: CTS’ Own Content Master, Tricia Keels


Tricia Keels works with Don’t Panic Management and helps keep the content train on the tracks here at Customers That Stick!

As you are about to learn, she is now the proud owner of chickens. 


I personally relish customer service that is helpful — the kind that strives to solve problems and answer questions I didn’t even know I had. My family and I just experienced that in our recent adventure into acquiring city chickens.

We’ve talked before about industries without major competition and whether or not they are subject to the same customer service standards as those who are. Well, hatcheries in our urban neighborhood aren’t on every street corner, but Meyer Hatchery conducts business like it has competition everywhere.

The hatchery succeeded in creating a great customer experience across numerous touch points.

Their website was educational and easy to navigate

When we learned of this Hatchery, we immediately went to their website and found an online catalog that walked us through the many different breeds. We could quickly see each breed’s disposition, the type of egg it laid, and its hardiness to weather. Read More

Soutwest Airlines Customer Experience | WiFi Refund Email

Southwest Airlines: A Service Recovery Surprise

Back in March, we took a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to San Diego. It was a fairly lengthy flight, so I had planned on catching up on work using the airline’s WiFi. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.

The signup process went well. I entered my credit card number for the $8.00 WiFi charge; however once the transaction went through, nothing else worked.

I looked at the guy across the aisle from me, and he was having trouble too. I then looked back at my buddy Jeannie Walters of 360 Connext, who was on the flight with me, and she was having no luck either.

We hailed a flight attendant, and told her the WiFi was not working. She was pleasant but began explaining basic connection concepts, as she was obviously used to dealing with operator error. After a minute or so, we convinced her that the three of us knew what we were doing and that the WiFi simply wasn’t working.

She went to investigate, and after another 5-10 minutes, she returned to tell us that the WiFi could not be repaired in flight and that we would have no WiFi service on this trip. Since we did not have WiFi to receive email, I was not even sure if the $8.00 charge had gone through, so I didn’t sweat it much.

The flight attendant was very customer-focused and made sure to offer free drinks to make up for the inconvenience. However, I had a ton of work to do, so I declined. Read More

Put the Customer Ahead of Customer Service Checklist

Putting the Customer Ahead of the Customer Service Checklist

As managers and owners, we have to take care that the systems we put in place to manage and ensure great customer experiences do not create robotic procedures that can be counter to the very experiences we are trying to create.

In the post Customer Service Training: Principles Trump Procedures, I told the story of a fast casual employee whose stubborn insistence on taking my food to the table for me took a great customer service process and turned it into something more negative than positive. Why? Because it seemed like the employee had to perform the task, whether it added value or not.

I recently had an experience with AAA, the roadside assistance company, where I experienced a similar interaction regarding what seemed like the rote following of a customer service procedure.

Now, I mention AAA by name only because the total customer experience I had with the company was amazing! A 99 out of 100. And though this post might be dedicated to the “point they missed,” my experience with AAA was superlative from start to finish.

First, here’s a quick rundown of some of the excellent touchpoints in my experience with AAA: Read More

Monthly Mash | Dirty Air Conditioner

Monthly Mash and A Customer Service Exception

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

Volume 27: January 2014

Thoughts on the Customer: A Customer Service Exception

For the first time, I am passing the baton for our Thoughts on the Customer section. This month’s “thoughts” are from Donna Gurnic, our Market Development Coordinator here at CTS Service Solutions. Enjoy!

A customer’s experience is not always determined by the customer service they receive.

At its core, customer experience is simple: provide an effortless, enjoyable and consistent experience, and the majority of your customers will want to return. However, there are instances where service and experience diverge, and a business can thrive despite relatively poor service.

Such is the case for a diner where my Mom and I recently ate brunch. Neither of us knew much about the place, but we had both heard good things about it.

When we arrived, the greeter told us there was a brunch show at noon. However, this was no ordinary brunch show; it was a drag show. Since it was only about 11:15, we figured we’d stay for at least one act.

Where Experience and Service Diverge

Monthly Mash | Dirty Air ConditionerWe were seated in a corner, right next to an extremely dusty air conditioning unit. I’m not sure when the last time the unit had been cleaned. I was grossed out and kept imagining clumps of greasy dust floating onto my hash browns.

Then, my coffee arrived in a mug that seemingly hadn’t been cleaned in some time. I wiped the mouth clean, but after being grossed out by the dust, I eventually asked for different mug.

Shortly after, our food arrived. I ordered a standard plate of eggs, hash browns and bacon — a classic breakfast that most restaurants easily master. Not this restaurant. Everything on the plate was either undercooked, overcooked or hardly seasoned.

Our server seemed distracted and made several extra trips to the table to bring items that had been forgotten the first time around. It became clear that the focus of the Sunday brunch was not serving customers.

Why The Service Didn’t Matter

Once the show started, we couldn’t have been pried from our seats. The music, the costumes, and the energy were incredibly entertaining. Everyone was having a blast — including a particularly engaged bachelorette party. I even spotted a pair of older patrons (with no prior knowledge of the show) bobbing their heads to the music. It was just pure, jaw-dropping fun.

We paid the tab, despite the fact I hardly touched my meal, but neither of us could have cared less that the service, the food, and the sanitation were poor.

While this isn’t common in food establishments, the reason customers come back to this diner is not because they have world-famous food or fantastic service but because of the experience they get from a place that offers something out of the ordinary. For my mom and I, we will only have great memories from our surprise Sunday brunch. Read More

Email Screenshot

What Color Is the Sky in Your Customer’s World?

We speak a lot in customer experience and customer service about dropping the ball. About…

Our failure to provide adequate service.

Our failure to communicate.

Our failure to meet or exceed customer expectations.

However, sometimes it’s not us; it’s them.

Some customers simply live on another planet. Even when they are nice, their rather tenuous relationship with reality proves an impediment to providing them great customer experiences. When these customers are less than pleasant, they are among the most difficult that you will encounter.

A recent exchange I had with a subscriber to my email list provides a great example of the disconnect that can occur.

We held our first webinar, Mastering the 7 Service Triggers, earlier this month. We had been signing up participants for over a month, using a really nice landing page that enrolled people for both the webinar and our email newsletter, The Customer Conversation, with one click.

I received this email shortly after a subscriber (we’ll call her Eve) signed up:

Email Screenshot

Of course, we have an unsubscribe link at the bottom of all of our emails, but not everyone is savvy in that regard. I did what any good steward of an email list would do: I manually unsubscribed her. Read More