How often do you hear phrases from companies who tout ‘exemplary customer service’, ‘we value our customers’, ‘we take care of you’, ‘unmatched customer service’?

Does your experience with these companies coincide with the company’s taglines?  The true measure of customer service generally occurs when you have a problem or issue with the product or service.  This is the moment the company either shines or misses the mark on their marketing slogans.

I recently discovered a charge in my bank record for an online airline ticket discount alert service with Pomelo Travel.  Annoyed with the charge for a service I canceled more than a year ago, I thought to myself, ‘Here we go.  Another online charge I will never get back and will have to email 6 times—if I can find an email address, call and sit on hold for days—if I can find a phone number, only to be told that I didn’t read the fine print on their cancellation policy and will be a subscriber for time and eternity.’  Can you relate?

Much to my delight, the opposite held true.

I logged into Pomelo’s website, found an email address, forwarded my concern along with the bank charge and really never expected a reply from the generic ‘info@’ email address.  To my surprise, not only did I receive a reply in less than 12 hours, from the CEO no less! He apologized for charging my credit card for the past 3 billing cycles and refunded the prior charges which I did not catch.

Frankly, I was shocked and delighted.  It reminded me of how important customer service is, especially when a customer is unhappy.  As the owner of a furniture store, one of my biggest frustrations was my inability to control product delivery from my vendors.  Storms, truck delays, strikes, product discontinuation were common and out of my control when it came to receiving customer product.  As a customer accommodation, I kept a few sofas on hand in the event a customer had a delay in delivery and a ‘furniture emergency’ as we liked to call them.

We offered and often delivered a loaner sofa in the event a client absolutely needed product if their purchased item was delayed.

As a business owner, what sort of creative concession might you make to surprise your customer, that elevates your service, that may be the difference in saving a relationship, at little or no cost to you?  This could be a game-changer in customer retention and goodwill and truly change your customer service level to exemplary.