When companies go above and beyond the call of duty for their customers, customers are keen to show outsized appreciation—often publicly, which can be great for the brand. With just a few snaps and swipes, positive customer experiences can be shared with friends, family, and whoever else takes interest—sending new customers and brand advocates your way.
Given one of the greatest drivers of W-O-M is unexpected, incredible customer service, we put together these 9 stories of customer service triumphs. None of these examples may be replicable for your business, but perhaps they'll spark inspiration in your own customer happiness efforts. Enjoy!
1. Capital One helps a customer in a sticky situation.
Giving members of your team the leeway to do random acts of kindness for customers can make someone's day and create a buzzworthy customer experience.
Last year, as told by this story from Reddit, a Capital One customer discovered that Apple Magic Keyboards and orange juice do not mix. After the unfortunate spill, the keyboard was fine—mostly. The “2” key didn't work. And the numeral 2 was part of his account number with Capital One, which made logging into his online banking account impossible.
The customer figured he could just copy and paste a 2 from somewhere else, but Capital One, like many other financial institutions, restricts what you can copy and paste into secure fields.
Come to find out, a member of the Capital One support team saw the post on Reddit and decided to send “MaskedKoala” a brand new Magic Keyboard.
In a handwritten note, Janeth and Adam from Capital One explain how the bank thought about sending just the “2” key—but decided to go all out with a brand new keyboard.
Showing customer love like this won't emerge from any formula of customer happiness. It's also difficult to mandate their execution in any way. These moments only happen if you give people the leeway to make them happen. Many of these companies, for example, have budgets set aside just for random acts of customer kindness. If a rep sees an opportunity to make things right for a customer, no matter how insignificant that one case may seem, they can use (up to a certain amount of) petty cash to get it done.
2. Delta Hotels brightens a bad view.
Social media gives companies a channel that's great for proactively delighting customers. While most customers who connect via social media may assume a company is too busy to engage over social media, for the company, being able to learn about customer issues instantly on social media can be an opportunity to create a great customer experience.
In this story from LinkedIn, a man named Mike McCready tweeted a picture of his room view at Delta Hotels' Vancouver Suites. He included the caption, “The inside of my room at the Delta is really nice, but the view, not so much.”
Mike wasn't expecting to hear anything, especially since he didn't include the Delta Twitter handle in his tweet. But within less than an hour, he received a tweet.
Delta wanted to put Mike in a new room. But since he was leaving the next day, Mike told them that switching rooms wouldn't make much sense.
The hotel staff wasn't satisfied with leaving it alone. When Mike returned to his room later that day, he found a handwritten note and pastries.
Mike would probably still have a positive opinion about Delta Hotels without their tweeting or pastries. But he wouldn't have raved about the company.
Thus, for the cost of a few pastries, Delta Hotels left a strong impression on a customer with a huge return shared on social media a high return.
3. Spotify hits the right notes with customer playlist
Personalized service makes customers feel special. When you include a customer's name in an email or send them a hand-written birthday card, they feel recognized and appreciated. Those positive feelings become associated with your company and voilà—you have a happy, loyal customer.
Spotify user Jelena Woehr received that individualized touch after sending the music service some positive feedback in an email. To thank her, a member of the Spotify team created a custom playlist for her. Take a look:
Notice anything about the titles? They spell out a message: "Jelena/You Are Awesome/Thanks a Lot/For These Words/It Helps Me/Impress/The Management." Clever!
Woehr was wowed and posted the playlist to Facebook. "Oh my god," she wrote, "Spotify customer care is ADORABLE."
As Woehr's reaction shows, gestures mean more to customers when they are personal.
4. Whitney Peak Hotel accommodates guest with Nicholas Cage decor.
Customer service doesn't always have to be serious. Adding in a dash of humor gives your business a human touch.
As a joke, Redditor “hlfempty69” requested in his Whitney Peak Hotel reservation that his room have a Nicholas Cage picture on the pillow. The hotel shared the request on Instagram with the message, “To be continued...”
To the Redditor's surprise, the hotel actually followed through on his request. Totally amused, he shared the pics of his hotel experience—on Reddit.
The images and story ended up being covered on several major sites, like BuzzFeed and People.
The hotel could've easily ignored the reservation note. Instead, they took it as an opportunity to show the customer they cared about making him happy.
Keep humor in your customer service culture, and you'll find chances like this to make your customers laugh.
5. Domino's saves a regular's life.
For your really loyal customers (perhaps your power users), sometimes all it takes to go above the call of duty is to pay attention.
Last year, a Domino's in Salem, Oregon noticed when a regular customer, Kirk Alexander, stopped ordering for two weeks. According to the restaurant manager Sarah Fuller, Alexander had been ordering at least every other day since 2009.
After Alexander hadn't ordered for 11 days, Fuller asked a delivery driver to visit Alexander at his home to make sure he was okay. When he arrived, the driver noticed something was off—the lights and TV were on, but Alexander wasn't answering. The driver called 911, and the police found Alexander in his home in need of immediate medical attention. He recovered at the hospital, but it's unlikely that he would have survived without that Domino's branch having checked up on him.
By taking care and paying attention, they were able to save their customer's life.
6. Frontier pilot treats stranded passengers to pizza.
Speaking of pizza, another exceptional customer service experience occurred when a Frontier plane departed DC for Denver an hour behind schedule. When it got in the air, bad weather in the Denver area forced the plane to divert and land in Wyoming. At this point, it was 10 PM. Knowing that the 160 passengers were tired and hungry, the pilot decided to order pizza for the entire plane on his own dime.
It wasn't the pilot's fault that the flight was delayed, and he certainly didn't need to go out of his way to make these passengers happy and comfortable—delays and diverted landings are part and parcel of flying. Yet by choosing to take responsibility for his customers, what would have been a terrible customer experience became a story of customer care.
7. Starbucks Barista learns ASL for deaf customer.
Great customer service requires you make sure all of your customers feel welcome at your business. And when it comes to accessibility, if you're not paying attention you will always leave someone out.
Ibby Piracha is a regular at his local Starbucks in Leesburg, Virginia. Because he is deaf, Piracha usually makes his order by typing it on his phone and showing the barista. He was surprised one day to see his barista use sign language to ask for his order. She handed him a note that said, “I’ve been learning [American Sign Language] just so you can have the same experience as everyone else.”
Piracha was so shocked that he posted about the experience on Facebook. Since then, the post has received roughly 27,000 likes and almost 6,000 shares.
While you can't fake that kind of care for your customers, you can hire people who are invested in creating customer serivce experiences. Hire well and eventually, magical moments like this will simply happen.
8. Zappos saves the groomsman.
Giving customer service team members the leeway to make customers happy can sometimes be costly. Giving away gifts adds up, no matter the size of the company. However, allowing support employees to give out perks can bring a significant return—lots of customer satisfaction. And when customers see companies go above and beyond, they tend to remember and reward the company with their loyalty.
Jay was the best man in a wedding and ordered the shoes the groom picked from Zappos. He ordered 3-day shipping to make sure the shoes arrived on time. Unfortunately, his planning was thwarted when his package was sent to the wrong location. It was the day before Jay had to fly to the wedding, and UPS refused to hold the package for him at the shipment center. Desperate, Jay called Zappos to see if they could do something to help.
Zappos rose to the occasion and overnighted Jay a new pair of shoes, upgraded his account to “VIP” to get free overnight shipping, and gave him a full refund for the shoes.
Jay wrote about his shoe experience saying, “Zappos has earned a customer for life.”
So even though it was expensive for Zappos, Jay's loyalty was likely worth it.
9. Warby Parker exec solves case of missing glasses.
When he lost his Warby Parker glasses on an Acela train heading home to Boston, Michael Parker Mathis learned that great customer service doesn't stop when you leave the office.
Having lost his glasses, Mathis ordered a new pair almnost immediately. A few weeks later, Mathis was surprised when received a package that contained two pairs of glasses and a handwritten note:
Hi Michael, This might be odd ... but you sat across from me on the train ride from NYC to Boston a few weeks ago and left your glasses on the train! As luck would have it, I happen to be the GC of Warby Parker, and there is nothing I like more than a good mystery... I hope these find you in good health! (also, we noticed your lenses were scratched so we made you a fresh pair!)
Mathis was so impressed that he posted about the experience on Facebook, “They have a customer for life!”
Stories like Mathis' lost Warby Parker glasses are uncommon, but so are the outsized reactions, which is what makes going above and beyond worthwhile.
Great service brings great returns.
When companies go above and beyond for their customers, people notice—and are eager to share their experiences with friends and family.
With a simple tweet or a Facebook post, the world can immediately see how a company is making their customers happy. At FullStory, we love to go above and beyond and relish our customer's appreciation.
Meanwhile, FullStory search and session replay opens a window through which you can understand the customer experience in such a way that surprise and delight come naturally. Keep tabs on your power users, reach out proactively to customers, or find the customers located where you happen to be traveling and see if you can drop off some swag.
Do you have any favorite customer service experiences? We'd love to hear them, whether it's something you witnessed or something that happened to you.
Tell us your story, or what you think about the stories here, in the comments below.