At PeopleMetrics, we are in the storytelling business. So naturally, we talk a lot about customer service stories gone bad. Our inboxes are full of horror stories forwarded from friends and family, and most of our conversations sound like, “Did you hear about that Comcast fiasco with Food Network Star Alton Brown?” Most days, I cannot get the United Breaks Guitars song out of my head.
On the flipside of the coin, there are these shining, positive moments that happen in everyday interactions between people and businesses that we also get to talk about (see some great ones here: 10 Heartwarming Customer Service Stories Will Put a Huge Smile on Your Face). These experiences amaze and astound customers, build trust in a brand, and go viral on the internet.
Recently, one of those experiences happened to me, and solidly cemented my trust in a brand I had never even purchased anything from.
The Worst Friday Ever
When I got the call, I was on my way to enjoy my well-deserved Friday night with my coworkers.
That call went like this: “We’ve been robbed”.
What a punch in the stomach – that was the last thing I expected to hear. The feeling that I had for the remainder of the weekend was indescribable. I felt unsafe, violated, angry.
Getting robbed was bad. What they took was worse.
My only mode of transportation. My nice little single speed road bike. I frantically posted on Facebook hoping that perhaps someone would recognize my black, totally-normal-looking-and-unidentifiable, bicycle.
Needless, to say I was in a pickle.
The Best Thursday Ever
I was out grocery shopping, when I got the second call.
That call went more like this: “We have your bike, can you come by with proof of ownership?”
After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I rushed over to a bike shop called the Bicycle Stable, where an employee was waiting with my bike.
Years ago, I had purchased my bicycle from Trophy Bikes. Unbeknownst to me, Trophy Bikes puts a logo sticker on every bike they sell.
The competitor shop, Bicycle Stable, saw the Trophy Bikes sticker on the stolen bike, and knew where it had originally been purchased from. This simple yet effective process allowed the employees at Bicycle Stable to understand where the stolen bike had come from.
They then proceeded to call Trophy Bikes and track down my information to return my stolen bicycle to me.
The very definition of above and beyond!
I had never shopped at Bicycle Stable and had never had an experience with them. Knowing that the bike was from a competitor shop, the employees still spent many hours tracking down my contact information, filing a police report, and hosting a full-out ‘sting operation’.
On top of returning my bike, they even gave me their employee discount when I went to buy a new lock and lights.
One Small Action, One Big Impact
Trophy Bikes may have recognized that putting their sticker on the bikes they sold would have a twofold advantage: one being, hey, free advertising, and two being, able to identify bikes that come from their shop.
This is a practice that is super helpful to the local bike community. “Recovered” bikes can be identified and returned to their owners by calling the original bike shop and having them look up the purchaser. Bike theft is an ongoing problem, but this small step is making people very happy by reuniting owner to bicycle.
Look across your own organization. When you focus, you can make a smaller change that has a greater emotional impact on your customers, thereby building greater brand trust. Is there something you can think of right now? What is your ‘simple sticker’ idea?
1 for a Great Customer Experience
The employees at the bike shop recognized and empathized with my situation, and took on my problem as their own. This amazing act of employee-customer love stuck with me and I asked them how I could ever repay them for their efforts.
You know what they said?
“We really appreciate and value customer feedback.”
Lessons to Be Learned from this Story
The employee from the Bicycle Stable did not need to track me down since I was not a customer. That’s not part of his job description. But because he went above and beyond, he’s made a proud Promoter of me.
Without both bike shops expending a little bit of extra effort, my bike would not have been recovered, and I would have been riding the bus to work this morning.
Hopefully, this has inspired you to deliver an even better customer experience in your own business. Want to know where to get started? Read our 7 Practices of a Customer Centric Organization for some best practices to implement in your own company.