You probably know that keeping current customers happy is more affordable than finding new ones. But a recent study by HBR found acquiring a new customer is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Great customer service is a cornerstone of customer retention.
Though tales of bad customer service are more often shared, we scoured Reddit to find 10 stories of customer service reps going above and beyond for customers.
The result? Warm and fuzzy accounts that will definitely make you smile.
1. ‘A salesperson helped me save $700 at the cost of his commission’
“I was in an appliance store shopping for a new stove, and was looking at a stove that was priced at $1300. While talking to the salesperson, he took me to the back of the store and showed me a stove that looked almost exactly the same but was $600. He explained that it was last year’s model and on clearance. While we were talking about the particulars of delivery and such, I asked if he gets commissions on sales and learned that they only get paid a commission on sales that total $1000 or more.
This means that the kid basically saved me $700 while simultaneously f*cking himself out of a commission.
That was when I decided I needed a new television, entertainment center, and tablet.”
2. ‘Longhorn Steakhouse gave me a free steak on my anniversary’
“My boyfriend and I went to Longhorn Steakhouse for our three-year anniversary and I ordered my steak medium. When I got it, it was very well done. I’m not the type of person to say something, but one of the bus boys noticed and asked if something was wrong. I mentioned that my steak was overcooked but it was fine.
A minute later the manager came out and asked if everything was okay. I said yes, but he insisted that there must be something because I wasn’t eating my steak. I explained what happened, and he had a new steak cooked for me which came out amazing. He even replaced my side even though I had already eaten some.
To top it off, we got my meal for free, 20% off the entire bill, and the appetizer for free. He said we could get a dessert but we decided not to since they were about to close and we were full.
Overall they were extremely nice and I thanked them a ton of times and told them how much I appreciated it. After I said this the manager told me the reason he gave us so many discounts was because I was nice about it and not rude like so many people have been.”
3. ‘Amazon shipped my girlfriend’s books to South America’
“For me, the best customer service experience I ever witnessed happened to my girlfriend.
She had ordered a number of books from Amazon to take with her on a trip volunteering down in South America. The books were shipped out via Canada Post who (in a very classic Canada Post fashion) lost the shipment almost instantly. The books never arrived before she departed.
Her parents contacted Amazon support to see if there was a way they could look up the list of books she ordered and simply ‘re-order’ them so they could ship them to her (as Amazon did not directly ship these products to her destination).
The Amazon rep told them that despite it being Canada Post’s fault, Amazon would pay for the books. They also made arrangements to work with a local shipper to get the books sent to her directly!
Needless to say, an experience like that changed the way I perceive Amazon entirely.”
4. ‘Trader Joe’s brought my grandfather free food in a winter storm’
“My mom is very worried about my 89-year-old grandfather. He lives on his own in an apartment and hardly keeps enough food for himself. The problem is that he got snowed in today. He told my mom that one day without food couldn’t hurt, but my mom would not accept that.
She ended up calling a bunch of places, trying to find one that would deliver. She eventually ended up asking if Trader Joe’s did delivery, and they told her they could in this instance. She read out a big order and then proceeded to ask how she should pay. They told her there was no need and said, “Merry Christmas!” Trader Joe’s doesn’t do delivery, or give food out free normally.
They delivered the food within 30 minutes, and while my mom was ordering, they kept suggesting other items for him (he’s on a low-sodium diet). He ended up getting a few day’s worth of food from them. The funniest part is now my grandpa is trying to leave his apartment in the snow to thank them, but I think we’ve stopped him.”
5. ‘A government agent helped my friend get sick benefits’
“I had to call one of the government departments for sick benefits. My friend had an appointment to discuss her illness, but couldn’t go.
The woman who answered the phone sounded like Miss Trunchball from Matilda. Her tone was short and rude. I kept in mind she is likely to get a lot of verbal abuse and excuses, though.
As soon as I explained the reason my friend couldn’t go – currently sectioned in a mental hospital indefinitely – the woman was lovely. She said she’ll get the relevant person to stamp the application, without the need for an appointment. She just needed the hospital details to confirm. Then she said she’d call the hospital when she’s off the phone with me and hand it over.
The system is known to be slow. I’d done the application for my friend 7 months before.
I’d been feeding her fish and, with permission, opening her mail while she was in hospital. Lo and behold, the approval arrived a week later. The relief made a huge difference to my friend’s mental state. She’s been home for a couple of months now, and her mental health is a bit better.”
6. ‘The Ritz-Carlton gave us a $1,000 upgrade’
“My wife and I spent one night on our honeymoon at a Ritz-Carlton (Amelia Island). We used our Marriott points to get a free night in one of their standard rooms. When we arrived, they moved us into a suite. It had a 250 sq ft. bathroom, a 30-40 foot long patio overlooking the ocean, chocolate-covered strawberries, complimentary robes, and flip-flops, plus they paid for our dinner that night.
It was truly an amazing experience, and it’s one that we will probably never be able to recreate. It would’ve cost us over $1,000 for that night, and that’s just an absurd amount of money to pay for a one-night stay.
We arrived in our Fiat 500 (rental) and it was the worst car in the lot. It was full of Mercedes, BMWs, etc. The valet took our car just like anyone else, they were as polite as could be, and truly made us feel welcomed.
I honestly have some tears in my eyes right now because I’m thinking back to how special that day was for us. We have told everyone that we know about the hospitality we received that day, and I hope that it got them some more business.
If we ever do make more money, we will for sure go back and visit. Hearing that this might have been done by a single employee makes it that much more special.”
7. ‘Disney gave my grandpa a free shirt after his got ruined’
“This happened while I was at Walt Disney World many years ago (before 2000). I was riding Splash Mountain with my family when a bird decided that my grandfather’s shirt was the perfect place to poop.
When we got off the ride, we went into the gift shop because he wanted to get a towel to try and clean off. A cast member asked what happened and he explained the situation. The cast member offered my grandfather a free shirt for him to wear for the rest of the day. The cast member also had his shirt dry cleaned and delivered right to his room (again, free of charge).”
8. ‘Apple fixed my 5-year-old MacBook for free’
“My old MacBook that had lasted for 5 years started getting a bit screwy. I know nothing about computers, probably why I have a MacBook in the first place. Apple support suggested taking into store. I set up the appointment easily and wandered into town. The guy worked out the problem and said they could send it away to be fixed.
Went back a couple of days later and, well out of warranty and with no Apple care plan, they had replaced the faulty 80GB hard drive with a 160GB one and fixed the case that had started to discolour and come apart. Handed it back to me free of charge.
I’m sure they did this because they knew those things were faulty anyway (especially the case, which was a known issue) but that’s a testament to a faulty product lasting for 5 years. It’s still functional now and is on it’s 7th year.
I thought that was pretty impressive.”
9. ‘Chick-fil-A went above and beyond to clean up my mess’
“Chick-fil-A will bend over backward to make sure you are happy. A couple of weeks ago, they were handing me a drink at the drive-through and I fumbled it on the steering wheel and spilt a few DROPS. They gave me a new drink without me asking.
Even better was the time I fumbled a milkshake (seems to be a pattern here) into my lap and it didn’t fare as well. They asked me to pull around. Three employees descended on my car, wiped my seat out, made sure my pants were in acceptable condition, and brought me a new milkshake. A+ service.”
10. ‘A Costco worker saved my Mom’s birthday’
“My mom wanted a cake from Costco, so we ordered one. The day my brother and I went to pick it up, I forgot my card with my mom, who was at home. My brother drove me to Costco, and he didn’t have a membership or money for the cake.
When I asked a worker if they could please hold the cake so I could go home and drive back (about 45 minutes, we live in a rural area), the miracle worker overheard and said “No, you aren’t leaving here without her cake.”
I almost cried, I was not expecting such kindness at a store.”
Being in a customer service role can feel overly negative, with customer expectations rising and teams having to do more with less. But these stories are a reminder that a great customer experience doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.
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