Customer Hall of Fame

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Customer Hall of Fame

Posted: 12/13/2009

Before I start a new post, I’d like to thank all of you who responded to the Q&A that ran in the Boston Globe Magazine last Sunday featuring my blog. Your emails, voicemails, texts and comments on my blog reinforce why we need to carry forward the message  and mission of this blog and book. I am grateful for your feedback and participation.

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‘Tis the season… It’s time to hear about the good. While gathering research and stories for my book, I realized that in order to provide a good balance, I had to shine the spotlight on the good customers and people, as well as the bad. If we’re going to expose all of the impossible people, we also need to acknowledge and celebrate the people who just ’act right’, as well as those who go above and beyond and restore your faith in humanity.

I was amazed that the domain names ‘customer hall of shame’ and ‘customer hall of fame’ were still available when I purchased them a few years ago. I was equally surprised that ‘server hall of fame’ and ‘server hall of shame’ were available when I bought them last week. All of these domains will be used to gather your stories, and to highlight the good and bad on both sides of the service equation.

Question #14 on the questionnaire for the book reads as follows: Please share your stories from the best customers you have ever had. Nominees for the “Customer Hall of Fame.” (Please email me if you would like a copy of the questionnaire that I am using to gather research.) Here are a few samples:

Submitted by Aaron Adler, owner of Appraisals Unlimited, the largest residential appraisal company in New England, located  in Needham, MA. (I’ve enjoyed a great professional relationship with Aaron and his team the last 12 years that I have been in the residential mortgage business.);

The owner of a local mortgage company that I do business with hosted a charity golf event several years ago at a country club on the south shore of Boston. After several hours of playing 18 holes of golf, many of the people were feeling loose from drinking while golfing. As we all know after imbibing alcohol, some people get nasty, some people get sloppy, and some people remain true to themselves. While the host was speaking to the raucous group and thanking them for their charitable contributions, a busboy walking right in front of him dropped a tray full of dirty dishes and glasses that made a mess and a lot of noise as they crashed to the floor. Rather than make fun of the busboy and get a laugh from the inebriated crowd, the speaker stopped and spent at least five minutes helping the busboy clean things up. He then went back to the podium and continued on without a mention of what just happened. I was very impressed to say the least that a CEO took the time to help the busboy and make no big deal about it.

Submitted by Ginger D., 24-years of service industry experience:

I was an account manager at an electronics company when my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I did my best to not allow it to affect my “work face” but one day, one of my  favorite clients gently inquired. I told her in very brief terms what was going on, but assured her that it wouldn’t affect the quality of service they would receive. She assured me that they weren’t concerned about my performance, just my well-being. About a week later, I received a small box from her. In it was a card for my mom, and a rental card for 20 movies from our local movie store. I had mentioned that I was renting armloads of movies for my mom to watch during her bedrest.

Please share your stories and nominees for the Customer Hall of Fame.


2 Responses to “Customer Hall of Fame”

  1. CD Berkeley says:

    It’s always great when a customer shows you his/her appreciation in some way – particularly when they track you down to send you a thank you card or a little gift. I had a Italian lady who was so thankful for my talking Italian to her, explaining the differences in clothing sizes and helping her pick out just the right gifts (and not “taking her for a ride”) that she sent me a little care package when she got back to Italy. (We continued to exchange Christmas cards for several years thereafter.) Completely unnecessary but greatly appreciated nonetheless. Those stories are always endearing, and should be celebrated for sure. But, for me, the “best” customer stories are often the less sexy stories -like the mom with the two kids that has to stand in line for an hour, looking anxious but not complaining. Or the customer that doesn’t fight with you when you have to call to get a credit check because she spent $5,000 that day before coming to your store. Or the customer that allows you to find the answers to the questions (can you make this? does it come in another color? is it available in another store?), rather than yelling at you for not knowing. As the “64 Suggestions…” post and its comments mention, it’s some sign of appreciation for what is being asked of each party and the mutual respect being afforded to each other accordingly. Those experiences are the ones that stick with me the most.

  2. Michelle says:

    There’s the bad, but also the good. Being a food server, I just have to say, It’s always a wonderful feeling when your guests request to see a manager to dote on me about the great service they’ve received! Sometimes, it makes my day! Or even when guests tell you that, you’ve done a wonderful or great job and we really appreciate it. I always tell them, “Thank you so much for telling me that, that really makes my job more enjoyable hearing that!”. I had to work Christmas Eve, no choice, and I’d say, at least 1/2 of my guests were very thoughtful and tipped me beyond a normal night. My gosh, I have a little one I wanted to tuck in for Santa to come, but had to work. There was some Christmas spirit out there that night. I felt some guests appreciated us being open for business and tipped us a little more! And of course if we reversed shoes, I would too!!

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