My 3 Favourite Customer Service Stories (and What Your Business Can Learn From Them)

Companies, across many different industries and sizes, all have marketing budgets. Most of these businesses allocate a considerable amount of their budget to traditional marketing efforts and, as of recently, have been investing in digital strategies.

But what about investing in customer service stories? Or, as some may refer to it as, storytelling marketing. You may have heard the saying,

“Customer service is the new marketing.”

In many respects, it is. After all, word-of-mouth marketing has the word “marketing” in it. But let’s take a moment to think about why people passionately refer or market your service or product.

Is it because your company has been in business since 1945? No.

Is it because your website has a perfect hue of blue? No.

Is it because you have the lowest price? Maybe. For me, though, playing the “cheapest price in town” card isn’t a sustainable strategy.

The primary reason that people will refer your service or product, and why the media will cover your company, is because you have a story to tell. Memorable customer service stories are much more attractive to readers of publications like Forbes, Inc, Fast Company and The Huffington Post compared to paid media.

These three stories from Warby Parker, Lego and Ritz Carlton are my favourite customer service stories. I encourage you to read the stories and consider the key takeaways, as there are lessons that you can apply within your business, regardless of your industry, budget or company size.



The Customer Service Story: Luka’s dad cautioned him against bringing his Christmas present with him while shopping. Sure enough, the toy falls out of his pocket and is lost.

Luka decides to write Lego a letter explaining the situation:


Pretty great story, right?

I have long said that customer experience can be a reliable source of organic revenue and branding through word-of-mouth marketing, customer loyalty and free PR. This Lego story is a perfect example.

The Takeaway For Your Business: Build a company culture that recruits, hires and motivates team members to manage opportunities (like this customer retention opportunity), similar to what Richard has done for Lego.

Too often, companies would simply think,

“Tough luck, kid.”

It’s clear that Lego has built a customer-centric company culture that is committed to making stories like these a reality.


The Customer Service Story: In one of their retail locations, a Warby Parker customer named Tess arrived to pick up her newly-ordered frames. An alert team member, recognizing that Tess wasn’t having a good day, chatted with her and learned that her car had been stolen earlier. The team member also learned about Tess’ favourite local bar during their conversation.

This is what Tess received in the mail shortly after leaving the store.

warby car

Again, similar to the Lego customer service story, this all came together because of an alert employee, but also consider something else…

The Takeaway For Your Business: For nearly a decade, I’ve said that building a world-class customer experience requires you to first design your employee engagement strategy. I don’t know for sure, but I’d imagine that Warby Parker has an operating budget that allows situations like this to happen. Furthermore, their employees most likely don’t have to build a ROI case to be able to have a small budget approved to make these organic customer interactions happen.

Can your company afford to allocate a budget for these types of gestures? Of course you can. After all, consider the ROI of this gesture. This story was picked up by Business Insider, Huffington Post, Consumerist and Reddit, websites that all receive millions and millions of page views.

This is why customer experience can be considered the new marketing and PR.

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The Customer Service Story: A waiter at a restaurant at the Ritz Carlton in Dubai overheard a guest admiring the beach with his wife, who was in a wheelchair. Recognizing that the couple wasn’t able to enjoy the beach, he connected with the hotel’s maintenance team, and by the next day a wooden ramp was built so the couple could have dinner together on the beach.

The Takeaway For Your Business: In this particular story, the General Manager wasn’t made aware of the above-and-beyond customer experience until after the ramp was complete. Often, most business owners and professionals will want to approve such gestures. However, at Ritz Carlton, all employees have the green light to do so.


If your greatest concern is that you’re worried what your employees will do… well, then you have a much greater problem: you don’t trust your team.

All of these customer service stories have common themes:

  • All companies have reserved an operating budget to deliver memorable customer service gestures
  • All companies have given their employees autonomy
  • All companies have received free PR because of their efforts. Surely, your business can afford $20 (the amount I estimate that Warby Parker spent) to potentially land a story in Business Insider
  • All companies are admired because of their customer experience
  • All companies are industry leaders
  • All companies are massively successful

I want to hear your favourite customer service stories in the comment section below. What companies have delivered memorable customer service and what have you learned from them?

VIDEO – Customer Service Training 101: How to Build a World-Class Program

After building your customer-centric culture and learning how to properly recruit exceptional customer service employees you must then build your world-class training program.

In this video, I explain how to build a training program that will provide your employees with the education they need to exceed your customer’s expectations.

By watching this 3 minute episode you will learn:

  • How to develop “micro learning” to increase knowledge retention
  • The type of content your training program must have
  • What Learning Management Software (LMS) to use

Be sure to watch until the end of the episode as I ask my “Question of the Episode.” If you like the video, I would greatly appreciate if you did the following (it will only take you a moment):

  • Subscribe to my YouTube channel. There are many more videos coming very soon.
  • Comment on the video. Let me know your thoughts, comments and questions.
  • “Like” the video by clicking the thumbs up icon.


Video: How to Hire Motivated Customer Service Employees


Delivering an amazing customer experience isn’t reserved for only customer service employees, your entire organization must be committed to it.

In this video, I share tactics on how to hire employees who have a customer-centric mentality.

By watching this 3 minute episode you will learn:

  • What an employee muse is
  • How to create a highly targeted recruiting strategy
  • Ways to stop asking predictable questions when hosting interviews

Be sure to watch until the end of the episode as I ask my “Question of the Episode.” If you like the video, I would greatly appreciate if you did the following (it will only take you a moment):

  • Subscribe to my YouTube channel. There are many more videos coming very soon.
  • Comment on the video. Let me know your thoughts, comments and questions.
  • “Like” the video by clicking the thumbs up icon.

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Video: How Any Employee Can Improve their Customer Service Skills


While in my early 20’s I got a job as a customer service agent working within a call centre. I didn’t grow up aspiring to be a call centre agent but I recognized that it would be a springboard to other career opportunities (if I applied myself).

In this video I share how I was able to get promoted four times in just under six years. I also share ways that I continuously improved my customer service skills as an employee which has led to a fulfilling career.

By watching this 3 minute episode you will learn:

  • How you and your team can learn from top performers
  • Ways to do more than just the minimum
  • Why management can’t be responsible for developing everyone

Be sure to watch until the end of the episode as I ask my “Question of the Episode.” If you like the video, I would greatly appreciate if you did the following (it will only take you a moment):

  • Subscribe to my YouTube channel. There are many more videos coming very soon.
  • Comment on the video. Let me know your thoughts, comments and questions.
  • “Like” the video by clicking the thumbs up icon.
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How Machine Learning Can Improve Social Customer Service


I wasn’t planning on writing this post but Twitter sent me a notification that Hunter Walk and many other tech influencers and VC’s started following someone called @TayandYou.

I was intrigued.

Who was @TayandYou?

As described in her Twitter bio, @TayandYou is a property of Microsoft and their AI family.


@TayandYou is powered by machine learning which is technology still in it’s infancy – a couple years away, in my opinion, from becoming mainstream. The way machine learning works, among other ways, is that the more it is used the smarter it gets. Essentially, it analyzes keywords, experiences and transcripts after each interaction.

Whenever I experience something new I always ask myself,

“How can this help customer experience?”

I suppose it’s a habit of my trade. So, naturally, I asked myself this question and started tweeting at @TayandYou. Here’s how our conversation went (I might have a date this weekend).


As you can see, it’s very good. What immediately caught my attention was the response times – it’s instantaneous. We know that response times in social customer service matter a lot so this checked one box.

Instead of asking her if I’m handsome will I one day be asking her when my pizza will arrive or to bring me my laundry?

We have technology like this today that act as early indicators that an ecosystem is developing. Two pieces of technology that is leading the pack, at least from a PR perspective, is Amazon, with Alexa, and Operator which has their artificial intelligence and machine learning working behind the scenes.

Then @TayandYou started showing her inexperience in human interaction (moving too fast?).

Okay, I will (I chose this picture to see if the coffee mug would throw her off).



Interesting. How did she know I was younger than 40 years old? Face recognition? Searching my online profiles? She didn’t recognize my customer service question very well but , either way, this is still good. Again, the response times were immediate.

Finally, one last thought provoking interaction with @TayandYou.

tay6Isn’t this what community managers do today (move conversations off timelines)? She started the sentence with “Yo!” This doesn’t bother me but it would bother my mother. I wonder if @TayandYou recognizes that because I’m of a younger demographic communicating with me this way is a personalized experience.

This is how I would like to receive social customer service. The primary reason is because the service level is very fast and that’s what I want when I’m delivered customer service through social channels. I would never want a robot making me a cocktail at a bar because I want the human interaction in that scenario.

I believe we are in the early days of humanotic robotics, machine learning (something I’m talking about in my keynote in Israel next month) and it’s relationship with customer experience.

Machine learning isn’t new. Zendesk announced it’s machine learning and predictive analytics feature last week. Service also has intelligence to help deliver a better customer experience.

For me, this is very exciting times and I’m anxious for machine learning to get smarter.

I have a question for you.

I’m a millennial and study emerging technology a lot. Do you believe that this type of technology will speak to an older demographic? I asked a colleague (someone who is 50+ years old) her thoughts on @TayandYou and she said,

“It’s weird.”

Do you think it’s inevitable or a too futuristic? Let me know in the comments below and share the post with your colleagues.

Update: I released the post and I guess it caught @TayandYou attention. As mentioned, I think it needs a bit of work (and social skills).

Her response *slow clap*.


Update #2:

It’s getting smarter – even got the emoji in there.


Update #3:

After @TayandYou went viral, Microsoft announced it’s artificial intelligence chat bot.

Update #4:

Microsoft has now deleted the account, here’s why. I’m not changing my stance on artificial intelligence helping serve customers in the future. As I mentioned, we are years away from this becoming the norm. The Ai will get better.

4 Simple Ways to Get Your Customers to Fill Out Your Survey (Without Incentives)

Some companies don’t use customer surveys within their business for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is that they don’t believe their customers will respond.

Your customers aren’t responding because you’re not putting enough effort into it. Here are four small tweaks you need to make to immediately increase your customer survey response rates.

  1. More visibility: If you ask for in-store feedback then put the survey box in a high traffic area. Please understand I think all programs should be digital, not via a comment box, but I recognize some companies aren’t there yet. If you ask for feedback through email then change your email subject line. Make it fun and eye catching. Having “Survey: We Value Your Feedback” as your subject line will get you next to nothing.
  2. Advance warning: Leverage your frontline employees to plant the seed with the customer early in the relationship to make them aware that you will be asking for feedback. Let the customer know that you desperately need this feedback to continue delivering an amazing customer experience or to fix what’s broken.
  3. Timing: Make sure you are asking for feedback proactively and at the right time. For companies that operate a face to face business, try and collect as many email address and telephone numbers as possible. Whether you ask for feedback in person, phone or email you should aim to have the survey completed shortly after the customer experience. Doing this will allow you to recognize amazing customer service throughout your company and handle customer complaints immediately.
  4. Mobile: If you’re anything like me, I use my mobile phone for nearly everything including responding to surveys. Ensure that your survey is mobile responsive to make it an easy user experience for your customers.

Tip: For companies that are business to business survey your customers once a quarter or twice a year.

Double tip: In the beginning, don’t give out incentives to customers to fill out your survey. You want feedback from customers who are genuinely trying to help you not ones that are only trying to help themselves.

Triple tip: Use Net Promoter Score for all your customer survey needs.

Question: What one thing could you tweak to your current feedback process to increase response rates?

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