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Archive for September, 2010

Going the extra mile

Article link here: http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/great-customer-service-starts-at-the-top-richard-branson

It’s good being reminded what it means to go the extra mile J

Great Customer Service Starts at the Top

Jul 27, 2010

I have always liked Sam Cooke’s old hit song, “Chain Gang.” It really comes in handy when I’m talking about customer service.

That’s because delivering good customer service requires that a frontline worker receives supportive assistance from an entire network of co-workers — in effect, a chain reaction of teamwork, one that is consistent from beginning to end. And when it comes to helping a customer, the chain of assistance is only as strong as its weakest link.

I love hearing reports of good care, especially when they’re shared by a Virgin customer. But no matter what the source, there’s usually a lesson to be learned.

Just to prove that I’m not always bashing our competitor, British Airways, I’ll tell a consummate customer story that involves that other British airline:

An Executive Club passenger sitting aboard a jumbo jet about to leave London for New York suddenly realized he’d left his beloved leather coat in the airport lounge. He rushed to the front of the plane and asked if he had time to get it. “Sorry, sir, too late,” replied a member of the cabin crew. “But don’t worry. I’ll tell the ground crew and they’ll have it sent to you.” He returned to his seat, convinced he’d never see his favorite coat again.

Seven and a half hours later, when the flight arrived at JFK International Airport, the passenger was amazed when an agent met him at the door of the aircraft and handed him his coat. They’d put it on a Concorde flight that had beaten his slower 747 across the Atlantic!

(Of course, I am obliged to point out that British Airways can no longer pull off that particular trick, since the speedy Concorde is no longer in service.)

It’s true that the airline could have put the coat on a later flight and the customer would have been just as grateful when it arrived. But going the extra mile builds massive customer loyalty and brand-enhancing benefits. You can be sure that passenger talked up the airline for years, and now even the founder of a rival company is telling the tale. How great is that?

Let’s look at another story that clearly demonstrates the importance of every link in the service chain — this time involving Virgin Atlantic. An Upper Class customer’s free limo failed to connect with him at his New York City hotel. (It turned out the customer had been waiting at the wrong door.) He jumped in a cab to Newark Liberty International Airport, a fair distance from the city. Rush-hour traffic was bad; by the time he got to the airport he was very angry, running late, and panicking that he’d miss his flight.

The first Virgin agent he located immediately seized control of the situation. She calmed the fuming customer, apologizing profusely and assuring him that he would not miss his flight. From her own pocket, she refunded the taxi fare he had paid, and then rushed him through a staff lane and got him to the gate with 10 minutes to spare.

A job well done. Like the leather jacket incident, it demonstrates how great customer service can convert a negative into a positive.

Now we come to the part of the story where the chain breaks. During the post-flight debriefing, the agent told her supervisor what had happened and asked to be repaid for the $70 cab fare. Rather than congratulating the agent on saving the day, the supervisor asked whether she’d gotten a receipt for the fare. When her answer was, “There was no time for that,” he actually chastised her. He said, “No receipt, no reimbursement. You’d better take more care next time.”

Clearly, the supervisor was more concerned about rigid adherence to accounting practices than about employee initiative. While fiscal accountability is important, especially when an outlay of cash is involved, there will always be occasions when an asterisk needs to be marked on the balance sheet.

One thing was certain: Any Virgin employees witnessing their supervisor’s scornful reaction to their colleague’s exemplary deed would be unlikely to display the same resourcefulness. Which means that the customer loses — and so does the entire company.

Happily, the story came to the airport manager’s attention and he quickly took steps to redress the imbalance between company procedures and customer service. He advised the finance team that he’d approved the cash shortfall, while the supervisor got a quick refresher on how important we at Virgin think it is to “catch people doing something right.”

Eventually I heard this story, and it truly impressed me. The next time I flew through Newark, I made a point of seeking out the agent who had made us proud. I remarked, “I don’t have a taxi receipt, so you probably can’t help me.” Her astonished smile said it all.

No company can train its front-end people to handle every situation, but you can strive to create an environment in which they feel at ease “doing as they would be done by.”

Good customer service on the shop floor begins at the very top. If your senior people don’t get it, even the strongest links further down the line can become compromised, as the story shows.

Finally, poor customer service can also be relished… if you experience it at the hands of a competitor! At such moments you might catch me humming another old favorite, Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.”

Questions from readers will be answered in future columns. Please send them to BransonQuestions @ Entrepreneur.com. Please include your name and country in your question.

Tags: british airways, sam cooke, virgin, customer service, richard branson, aretha franklin

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http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/the-world/article/how-to-lead-without-a-title-matthew-e-may

How to Lead Without a Title

May 28, 2010

One of my favorite leadership fables is The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, a bestseller now over a decade old, by business coach Robin Sharma, so I was glad that he sent me his new book, another fable, The Leader Who Had No Title.

“This is a result of over 15 years of working with a number of Fortune-level CEOs and successful entrepreneurs,” says Robin. “They have certain patterns of thinking and behaving, supported by specific strategies that they use in both good and turbulent times, that most people don’t use. These can all be distilled into teachable actions.”

The story centers on Blake Davis, a veteran of the Iraq War, stuck in a dead-end job, who receives wisdom from a number of somewhat unlikely sources, ultimately learning some valuable lessons in personal leadership that enable him to turn things around.

According to Robin, “We live in a time of intense disruption… once-iconic companies have fallen apart, and once revered leaders have fallen from grace. I happen to think we have a leadership crisis, made more urgent by dramatic change that can easily overwhelm anyone in business. The old model of leadership is dead. It’s no longer about a title on your business card, but rather a way of thinking and being. Call it leadership 2.0. It requires leadership at every level.”

That’s not a new concept. But what is new is the story itself, and the toolkit of tactics included to accompany the narrative, many of which are focused on the kinds of things that help build leadership capability most in troubled times.

I asked Robin which of the many strategies and tactics are most helpful to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Here’s how he responded:

  1. Focus on five. “Over the past number of years I have studied the traits of people most consider geniuses. One of the things geniuses do is to develop an obsessive focus around a few things. Most businesspeople try to be all things to all people and as a result end up as members of the cult of mediocrity. The essence of mastery is being obsessively great around about five things.

“So, articulate the five things that need to happen between now and the last day of your career to feel you led a world-class career. Then every day, focus first on those five things. Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results.”

  1. Make it better. “What do the best businesses do to create things that leave people breathless? They focus on leaving everything better than they found it. It’s part of their hardwiring always be pushing the envelope and making their products and services better. Nothing fails like success and so the best never fall in to the trap of complacency.”
  2. Make business personal. “The business of business is relationships. It’s a cliche and near-platitude, but so easy to forget in this world of technology, which seems at the moment focused on creating personal fame. At the end of the day, people do business with people they like and trust. Put your relationships first and the money will follow close behind.”
  3. Do good. “To be a great leader, first become a good person. That’s what people will remember most.”
  4. Keep thinking. “Work on the way you think about things, your mental outlook, your mindset. Exercise your mind like you do your body. Every outer result is a reflection of the way you are thinking and perceiving a situation.”

That’s a simple list of good advice for anyone. Which, of course, is precisely Robin’s point. These things aren’t new ideas, but they are good ones, and ones I know I can either easily forget, or take for granted, or both. And every once in a while, a simple story like the one in The Leader Who Had No Title, helps me to get back to some basics. Sometimes a fictional story facilitates understanding, because you see yourself in one or more of the characters. For me, the valuable messages I took away from the story is that real greatness requires goodness.

“Ultimately,” Robin concludes, “Life is pretty short. And the CEO gets buried next to the street sweeper. All that matters in the end comes down to two things: did we realize our leadership best? And how many people did we influence? Think about it: what would your company look like if everyone shows leadership in everything that they do? What if every day everyone comes in looking to innovate, to wow customers, and leave everyone they meet better than they found them?”

Answer: probably much different. And much better. But as with most things, it’s a lot easier to explain, but much harder to actually do. Fortunately, The Leader Who Had No Title has a good story with some useful tools to make it all a bit easier.

Matthew E. May is a design and innovation strategist, and the author of In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing. He blogs here. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Tags: behavior patterns, entrepreneurs, in pursuit of elegance, leadership, matthew e. may, robin sharma, the leader who had no title, the monk who sold his ferrari

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Think Inside the Box

http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/think-inside-the-box-chris-brogan

Think Inside the Box

May 05, 2010

When I need to think about my business, I draw boxes. Sometimes, the boxes represent products that my company offers. Other times, the boxes represent my overarching business themes, with little boxes below them representing the kinds of offerings that might fit into those themes. Most recently, I’ve started drawing boxes with two compartments, for doing things like listing assets on one side and liabilities on another. Boxes (and drawing) help me think.

If I haven’t lost you, then you’re probably a little bit right-brained in your thinking like me. If I lost you, then you’re not reading this (paradox at its best). Let’s talk about boxes a bit more.

Boxes Help You Plan

Sometimes, I draw boxes to think about revenue. For instance, I drew a box the other day to think about an ebook I wanted to release. I’m thinking about price points, and my first inclination is to get 1,000 people to buy it at $9.97 (so, roughly a $10,000 payday). But then again, if I price it at $19.97, I only need 500 people to buy it. Carry this logic out further, and if I get it to $97, then I only need 100 people to buy it. (Quick side note: I’m not sure what in the ebook is worth $100, so that’s probably not going to be the price.) Where do the boxes come in?

I put down each scenario into a little box, and then above all those boxes, I drew a few arrows to other boxes, showing how I thought I could feed the sales process. What I realized was that if I went for inexpensive, and got 1000 people to buy for $10, it would take me more time, and I’d have to touch a lot more of my potential buying network to be successful. If I put it for closer to $20, then I can do half as much heavy marketing, and maybe eliminate a few channels to generate those leads.

In this case, I used the boxes to try and visualize the impact of my marketing on my community.

Boxes Help You Weigh Things

I copied Robert Kiyosaki’s boxes for explaining assets and liabilities, income and expenses to do some thinking the other day. He wrote RICH DAD, POOR DAD, a book that people have mixed feelings about, but that I can say really helped me think things through. When I got those boxes assembled appropriately, I came to the conclusion that I had to focus a bit more of my attention on developing assets than I did figuring out streams of income, as I have suddenly become pretty good at finding ways to earn income, provided that I’m standing around doing the work.

In business, the goal is to find new streams of income by developing assets that do something while you’re not around. Real estate is Kiyosaki’s big recommendation. I tend to develop more intellectual property-based assets like books and ebooks and online courses. My media property (also known as my blog) is an asset that earns some income, too. But my point (stick to the boxes, friends) is that I wouldn’t have seen this clearly without drawing those boxes and paying attention to what I got from my analysis.

Boxes Let You Check

Are you a list maker? How about this? What if you filled in your list inside a four-quadrant box? Fans of Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE know where I’m going. Make box 1 “important and urgent.” Make box 2 “important, but not urgent.” Make box 3 “not important, but urgent.” Box 4 is “not important and not urgent.” Now, put your to-do items in the right part of the box.

Boxes are a way to see where we’re focusing our time. If you do the above-mentioned exercise and find a lot of your stuff in Box 1, then you’re not doing as much preparatory work as you can, or you have a staffing/resource issue. If you’re spending too much time in box 3 or 4, you’re not considering your priorities. When it’s visual, it’s much easier to perceive.

Drawing Does Something Different To Us

Our hand on a pen or pencil, our eyes tracking that effort, our writing implement gliding over paper – it’s a whole different experience than tapping into your laptop. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience that. It opens your mind in different ways.

Have you had experiences like this? What do you do with boxes? How else can we open our business minds up to right-brained but useful visual thinking? Your ideas are welcome here.

Chris Brogan is the New York Times bestselling author of the NEW book, Social Media 101. He is president of New Marketing Labs, LLC, and blogs at chrisbrogan.com.

Tags: chris brogan, inside the box, multi-tasking, new marketing labs

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http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/4-ways-to-bounce-back-from-a-failure-tony-bacigalupo

4 Ways to Bounce Back from a Failure

Apr 06, 2010

While it’s common to envision “success” as a sort of plateau that we reach, and then coast along, any real career is filled with innumerable peaks and valleys. Successes and failures.

Taking risks – and sometimes failing – is the most effective way to learn and grow. Of course, that doesn’t mean we necessarily enjoy it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re faced with failure:

1. Learn from it.

Don’t try to ignore or forget the failure – by doing so, you sacrifice a valuable opportunity to learn from your mistakes and avoid a similar fate again in the future. Think about the root causes of what went wrong, and examine objectively how you could have approached things differently to avoid this outcome.

2. Document it.

When things go wrong, make sure you write down what you learned from the experience, including any specific points relating to the failure that will help you avoid it in future. The experience may be fresh in your mind now, but down the road you may forget the small, incremental steps that led you in the wrong direction in the first place.

3. Share it.

This may be the hardest part, but it’s also the most effective way to turn a failure into something positive. By owning up to your shortcomings and sharing them publicly, you demonstrate a maturity and openness that people will respect. You invite people to constructively help you learn and improve, and you defuse the possibility that people will be left to interpret what actually happened via secondhand information.

4. Bounce back from it.

Failure is part of the life cycle of every business and every individual. If you believe in what you’re pursuing, you should consider a failure to be an interim step toward a greater success. Many even consider it a healthy and necessary component of an experienced and successful individual – someone who’s never failed before has never reaped the benefits of the learning experience, and might be ripe to get knocked down a notch or two.

As my friend Walt Ribeiro says,  “It’s only failure if you don’t get up again.” When you’re back on your feet, you’ll find yourself stronger than before, ready to fight another day.

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Link here: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/05/use_your_leadership_presence_t.html

Use Your Leadership Presence to Inspire

2:59 PM Wednesday May 5, 2010
by John Baldoni  | Comments (2)

In times of crisis people always look for inspirational leaders. What makes for inspiration is subjective, but there is one common element when speaking about leaders who inspire: they have a strong leadership presence.

By presence we mean “earned authority.” That is, people follow your leadership because you are a proven quantity, whose credibility rests on your having gotten things done. Every leader must aspire to demonstrate presence in order to inspire; this is a theme I explore in my new book, 12 Steps to Power Presence: How Leaders Assert their Authority to Lead. Let me outline a few key points:

Know the score. Executives who talk a good game may appear to have presence but what they really have is a silver tongue. If you seek to inspire, you need a deep knowledge of the situation. Communication that directs people to strive for big goals must be reinforced with a process and with information that support achieving those goals, otherwise it is just empty rhetoric. Leaders with presence know their business.

Radiate command. A leader with presence wears authority like a well-tailored suit. Others notice the good fit and feel comfortable in her presence. A leader who cannot radiate authority is one that will struggle to create followership. Authority stems from strong self-awareness; leaders with command presence are confident because they know what they are capable of achieving by themselves and through others.

Be humble. Exuding authority doesn’t mean overlooking personal limitations. Good leaders are those who know their flaws. A sense of humility affects inspiration in one very direct way: the leader acknowledges that he will succeed only with the help of others. A humble leader draws people to him not because he has all the answers, but because he recognizes that others have good answers, too.

Provide hope. When people seek inspiration, they are often really seeking hope. Leaders need to deliver it to them. With hope there’s a sense of possibility — that if we do what the leader asks, we will succeed. At the same time, hope must be reinforced with a sense of reality: having the right resources used by the right people at the right time. It is a leader’s job to deliver on both sides of that equation by providing what employees need when they need it.

Let me draw a distinction between presence and charisma. Charisma is the aura leader projects; very often it succeeds people see reflections of themselves in that sheen and therefore are more disposed follow the charismatic person. They are following their own intentions, if you will. Charisma enhances one’s presence but it is not essential.

Presence, as noted, is earned authority, or “street cred.” For leaders to inspire, they need such presence; it transcends looks and words and reflects not simply intention, but action. Leaders with effective presence are men and women who use their authority to effect good things for the organization.

John Baldoni is a leadership consultant, coach, and speaker. He is the author of eight books, including Lead Your Boss, The Subtle Art of Managing Up. See his archived blog for hbr.org here.

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好男人和衛生棉

那日我完全沒有感到任何預兆,照常打卡上班。 正在忙碌之際,感覺身體似乎有些不舒服,我起身至洗手間,才赫然驚覺 在我不經意間已經血染一片,就連我那件純白的洋裝也遭殃。

我慌亂的不知如何是好,只得先暫時以衛生紙替代,想到公司裡只有三朵 花,偏偏今天一朵花休假,另一朵花已跟隨經理腳步外出。

現在在辦公室的都是男人,叫我如何是好,此時我真的感到叫天天不應, 叫地地不靈,以迅雷不及掩耳的速度,快速閃入較沒人去的第三會議室。

我決定趕快求救兵,想我在公司可也稱的上辦公室之花,怎可因為這事而 讓我身價大跌呢?

正在思考該找誰時,在偌大的會議室內我看見一雙晶亮的眼睛正盯著我 瞧。

我下意識的遮掩我的裙子,人不由自主的往後退,他到底知道了多少,剛 剛我閃身進門時,躲在門縫邊觀察是否有被人看見,他不知有沒有看見。

可我在瞧見他臉上那一抹不懷好意的笑時,我確認他一定看的一清二楚, 我窘的惱羞成怒,這人是誰,怎麼會在公司的會議室內呢?

正想先聲奪人逼問,沒想到男人站起身,沒頭沒腦的問:「你都用什麼牌 子呢?」 「嗄!」我一時反應遲鈍納納的問。 「衛生棉」他毫不忸怩說的理所當然。

「都可以」我臉上一陣潮紅,尷尬的想鑽洞隱居,可是我內心裡著時感 動。

一個陌生人而且還是個男人,願意為我伸出援手去買衛生棉,想我初戀男 友陪我逛街,每次逛到女性用品他就渾身不對勁,逛的時間一久,就站的 遠遠的像個保鑣的保持距離,所以他這樣的勇氣是謝謝都不足以表達,想 想便利商店就在公司樓下的幾步之遙。

可是這男人卻一去十多分鐘,該不會是騙我的吧! 我急的如熱鍋上的螞蟻,總不會要我躲在這等下班吧! 萬一我那些閒著沒事做,愛找我聊天打屁,纏在我身邊的蒼蠅,一發現我 這麼久都沒看到人,不曉得會不想發揮英雄救美的老把戲而衝進女化妝 室。

萬一在化妝間又看不到我,鐵定會全面地毯式的搜索,這樣勞師動眾的 話,我真是罪過,就在我沉醉在自己的幻想時,男人緩緩的推門而入,我 驚跳了下,趕緊查探有沒有看見。

「別擔心,沒人跟蹤。」男人說著自以為有趣的話。 我給男人一個衛生眼,伸手拿過他手中的塑膠袋,不情願的說聲謝,接著 又以忍者的最高境界閃入女化妝室。

但是在我打開袋子時,我驚愕的張大嘴,內心澎湃不已,男人不僅為我買 了衛生棉,還幫我買了內褲及一件樣式和我的純白洋裝相似的衣服。

難怪男人去那麼久,而我卻錯怪他,甚至連他姓啥名啥都忘了問。

唉! 我旁敲側擊才得知原來男人是公司的往來廠商的業務課長,那天男人有點 累,借公司第三會議室想小憩一下,卻沒料到我這冒失鬼會在那時闖入。

每個人都想知道我為何打聽那男人的事,尤其那些圍繞在我周圍的蒼蠅, 個個彷彿心急如焚,好似我即將無行情可言。 當然我不會透露一丁點消息給任何人,其實說穿了是我根本不知該如何啟 口,畢竟我的邂逅不夠浪漫,也不夠天雷勾動地火,有的只是無限尷尬。 很多事情總有許多轉機,就在我快遺忘男人的樣貌時,男人出現了,仍是 帶著那有點讓人討厭的不懷好意的笑。

男人遞給我一張小紙條,隨即瀟灑的轉身離去,獨留我費了九牛二虎之 力,才躲過那些好事之徒及打擊受傷的蒼蠅。 我打開小紙條,工整的字體映入我眼簾,紙條上寫著:「我們雖沒有浪漫 的邂逅,可平實的相處才是永恆愛情的基石,我不想只曾經擁有,我想和 你天長地久,希望你能給我機會,我們交往看看,我必會讓你無後顧之 憂。」

這麼文情並茂的情書,該要感動的痛哭流涕才符合劇情,偏偏我雞皮疙瘩 掉滿地,真想撕爛手中的紙條。 我們最後怎麼了呢?

沒錯,你猜對了,我們開始交往,情書我沒撕爛,因為我想看他能否兌 現。 而到目前為止,我很開心,因為他真的讓我無後顧之憂,在他身上三百六 十五天總是會攜帶一片薄薄的衛生棉,那是甜言蜜語無法取代的體貼表 現。

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Excellent customer service has kind of become a thing of the past. We consumers have grown accustomed to outsourced customer service departments and faceless, electronic “help.” (I recently had to call my bank and tax software companies in the same day, and I’ve never heard more muzak in my entire life. Ugh.)

It always gives me a bit of hope when a company actually goes above and beyond the call of duty and provides excellent customer support. Here are a few recent examples of companies that have decided to put consumers first.

1. Trader Joe’s Braves a Winter Storm For an Elderly Customer

An 89-year old Pennsylvanian was snowed in around the holidays, and his daughter was concerned he wasn’t going to have enough food to last the inclement weather. The daughter called multiple stores trying to find someone who would deliver, and finally learned that Trader Joe’s doesn’t normally deliver, but they would in this special instance. They took the order, and also suggested other items that might fit the elderly man’s special low-sodium diet.

After the daughter ordered around $50 worth of food to be delivered, the Trader Joe’s employee told her that she didn’t need to pay for it, and to have a Merry Christmas.

The food was delivered within 30 minutes of the phone call, and the Holidays were saved for one elderly man and his family.

Source: Reddit

2. Free Tickets From the Jet Blue People Officer

If you fly Jet Blue, you might just run into the mystical People Officer. One such passenger reports of the People Officer standing up mid-flight and announced that he had free tickets to give away to anywhere that the airline company flew. The man played trivia games, and handed out tickets to anyone who knew the answers. In all, around a dozen free tickets were handed out during the mid-flight games.

The Jet Blue employee then went on to ask if anyone had any suggestions or concerns with Jet Blue, and answered questions about upcoming possible promotions. Think he made any life-long Jet Blue customers from that one plane ride?

3. United Airlines Saves Your Seat, Books a Flight

New York Times best-selling author Steven Levitt wrote an article about how United Airlines turned him into a customer for life in a couple ways. Steven was running late, and unlike other airlines, they actually saved his seat until the last second. On another occasion, United Airlines called him and informed him that his flight was delayed by a few hours, and they saw that he was in the airport. The call went like this:

“I see that you’re at the airport and your flight is delayed a few hours. A seat opened up on an earlier flight, so I grabbed it for you in case you wanted it. It leaves in forty minutes, so you’ll have to hurry.”

These two events, Levitt explains, turned him into a life-long customer of United Airlines.

4. Starbucks Wants You to Have an Experience “Nothing Short of Fantastic”

Disgruntled Starbucks customer Jason called in to the company’s corporate offices after a mixup with a New Jersey branch’s barista. Instead of simply giving him a refund, the customer service representative told Jason that they needed to “make him whole, and give him an experience nothing short of fantastic.” They promptly filled his rewards card with $50 of store credit.

Source: Consumerist

5. Chik-Fil-A for Seatbelted Drivers

The South Carolina highway patrol started a program with Chik-Fil-A last November that rewarded drivers wearing seatbelts with Chik-Fil-A coupons during traffic violation stops and roadblock checks. While highway patrolmen aren’t known for their “customer service,” this is an interesting and fun way to reward good drivers.

Source: Slashfood

6. CVS “Samaritan Vans”

Did you know that CVS has been patrolling the streets and highways for the past 30 years, looking to help stranded motorists? The Consumerist has a story of a woman stranded on a busy highway with a flat tire, and a CVS Good Samaritan van rolled up five minutes later and helped change her tire. The cost for the service? Only her sending in a comment card to CVS.

7. Airport Fast Park

The Airport Fast Park at the Baltimore Washington International Airport is a little different than other “park-n-ride” airport shuttles. When you enter their lot, an attendant greets you and shows you the best row to park your car so you don’t have to search for an open space. The shuttle meets you at your parked car so there’s no waiting at a shelter. Then the bus driver helps you with your luggage, and if it’s raining meets you with an umbrella.

While on the bus, the friendly driver actually talks to you, and on your way back the shuttle takes you directly to your car, with a complimentary bottle of water.

Who knew bus rides could be enjoyable?

Source: Simple Complexity

8. Ritz-Carlton Goes Above and Beyond

You’d expect a luxury hotel to have excellent customer service, but this Business Week story goes well above the expected.

“One family staying at the Ritz-Carlton, Bali, had carried specialized eggs and milk for their son who suffered from food allergies. Upon arrival, they saw that the eggs had broken and the milk had soured. The Ritz-Carlton manager and dining staff searched the town but could not find the appropriate items. But the executive chef at this particular resort remembered a store in Singapore that sold them. He contacted his mother-in-law, and asked that she buy the products and fly to Bali to deliver them, which she agreed to do.”

9. Pearl, the Pompon-Waving Arby’s Employee

Pearl Weaver is an 89-year old Arby’s employee from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Her job? To make people smile.

When any customer comes to the counter to order food, Pearl greets them with a pleasant “Hi everybody, welcome to Arby’s” and waves her blue and white pompon. She’s mentioned weekly in customer satisfaction surveys, calls to Arby’s corporate offices, and she’s won award after award for her customer service.

In an industry where customer service isn’t always a high priority, Pearl and her pompon are a breath of fresh air.

Source: PennLive.com

10. Schering-Plough Pays for Poison Control Calls

It’s not often that you hear goodwill towards a drug company, but one woman and her puppy had a pleasant surprise when calling the ASPCA poison hotline. Her dog had eaten seven Claritin tablets, and it was uncertain whether or not the puppy was in danger.

After dialing the hotline, the operator informed the distressed owner that the call would cost $65 to speak to a professional. But when the operator learned that a Schering-Plough product was the harmful substance, she informed the concerned dog owner that the drug company pays for the calls on any of their products.

The dog is now doing great, thanks to the generosity of the drug company.

Source: Consumerist

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