Be A Company That People Tell (Good) Customer Service Stories About

storiesA colleague shared a bad customer service story with me the other day and it really got me thinking.  Before I tell you what I’m thinking, let me share the story.  He was at a local fast food restaurant and asked for a cup for water with his meal.  As a fellow water orderer he immediately drew me in with that.  We agreed that the point of ordering water is as much about being healthy as it is about saving money.

Upon asking for water, the person behind the counter said that the water dispensing part of their soda machine wasn’t working.  They then told him he could either buy bottled water or walk across the way to Subway to get water.  Really?  You can’t think of any other possible options at all?  You don’t have any other water faucets in your entire restaurant?  Ultimately this turned into a bad customer service story because customer service couldn’t think of other, creative options that didn’t cost the customer more money.  Ultimately he opted to eat his lunch without a beverage.

So back to how this story got me thinking.  On this blog we spend a lot of time sharing good and bad customer service stories about other companies which is such a great way to learn and define the service we want to deliver.  It is also undeniable the power stories carry, both good and bad, to make or break a company.  I don’t think I need to go through the litany of examples of viral customer service stories.

I proposed something to my team this week.  I want our customers at Phone.com to tell good stories about us and I want to hear them.  Our plan is to take those stories and celebrate them as victories and use them to propel us to create more AWESOME stories.  On the flip side, never forget to listen to the bad stories about your company as well.

Do you know what stories your customers are telling about you?  I suggest you start listening.  From this day forward I have added “Creator and Collector of AWESOME Customer Service Stories” to my job description.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

3 comments

  • As a water orderer myself, that’s a serious lack of creativity in the water department there…lame!

    Love your new job description, btw! You are the story collector!

  • I love the lesson here, Jeremy… and the new job description. This story is a great example of what happens when we hamstring the frontline with rules that don’t make sense or don’t let them think for themselves or about how to “do right by the customer.” Or it might just be a lack of common sense on the part of the individual. Or both.

    Annette 🙂

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