My 3 Most Memorable Customer Service Experiences

Customer Service

Over the years, I’ve had my share of bad customer service.  I’ve also had my share of good customer service.

But the difference between good customer service and memorable customer service is all about businesses going the extra mile.

Earlier this week, we had one such memorable experience (see below) and it got me thinking about other similar experiences I’ve had that really stood out as exceptional.  Hence, this post about the three most memorable customer service experiences I’ve ever had:

1) Southwest Airlines (2 Examples)

As a frequent traveler, there are several things that bring a smile to face while on the road:  Free First Class upgrades, light traffic on the way to the airport, short lines at the TSA checkpoint, and … in-flight WiFi. Check that: Good inflight WiFi.

I’ve had really good inflight WiFi (usually on American Airlines) and I’ve really poor inflight WiFi (usually on Southwest Airlines). To be sure, I love flying on Southwest.  Their customer service has always been top-notch, I love their boarding/seating policy, prefer their cheerful flight crews, and I’m hooked on their Rapid Rewards program.  But the WiFi?  Not so much. Well, on a flight from Chicago to Charleston, SC earlier this week, WiFi Fail turned into a Customer Service Win for Southwest Airlines.  The WiFi was weak (that’s an understatement) and so I tweeted about it after my flight.  Sure enough, Southwest tweeted back to me, asked for my confirmation number, and credited me back the fee I had paid for WiFi.

They turned a bad experience into a customer service win. They have a history of doing this (at least with me).

A few years ago, while my wife and I were traveling to New Orleans, a flight delay left us stuck on our plane on the tarmac for almost three hours. Sure enough, a few days later I received this email from Southwest:

Thank you for your patience while you waited for your May 21 flight from Chicago Midway to be “cleared” for departure.  Though we may not be able to control springtime weather or the rate in which Air Traffic Control releases flights, we do have some say in the way we show our appreciation of your valued patronage.  In this regard, I am sending a LUV Voucher that we invite you to apply toward your next Southwest reservation—I hope this gesture will be accepted as our acknowledgement of the overall frustrations created by this situation.

Wow. They didn’t pass the buck.  They turned a challenge into an opportunity.  That’s how it’s supposed to be done.

Southwest Airlines, FTW.

2) Hall’s Chophouse

My wife and I love Hall’s Chophouse in Charleston, SC.  In fact, we’ve dined there for our past two wedding anniversaries.  Both times, during conversation with our hostess, it was discovered that we were celebrating our anniversary.  Boom — champagne (free) was waiting for us at our dinner table.

That’s just a small example of the great way they treat their customers.

This past May, a few days after dining at Hall’s for our anniversary, we received a card in the mail. The card was a “thank you” card from our waitress at Hall’s, wishing us a Happy Anniversary and thanking us for choosing to dine at Hall’s on our special day.

Needless to say, I’ve never gotten a follow-up card like that from a restaurant before. It really made us feel special and certainly strengthened our loyalty and love of Hall’s.

3) Our Local Animal Hospital

This past week was a sad one, as our precious pug of 12 years, Reagan, passed away. He was a special, lovable part of our family, and we miss him so much. It’s a jarring experience, and one that left us with sadness for the rest of the week.

But one of the bright spots of the week was getting a sympathy card from the Animal Hospital — signed by all the veterinarians, technicians, and other staff who had cared for Reagan for the past seven years. In the middle of the sympathy card was a paw print — taken of Reagan after he had passed away.

Of course, the first sight of the card was a bit shocking and brought us to tears. But it was also special, and we’re so grateful for the great staff for caring so much and doing what they can to provide comfort during a difficult time.

I’ll certainly never forget it.

Do you have some memorable customer service experience that you’d like to share?  Please let us know in the comments!

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