Human service

My buddy Kareem Mayan is starting a new site called RunByHumans.com, dedicated to stories of great, kind and human customer service.

Kareem is now looking for stories about “a customer experience where the customer-facing employee acts like a real, live human being, and isn’t restricted by dehumanizing company rules and regulations.”

As an example he cites this fantastic story from online shoe-seller zappo.com. In it, the store not only lets a customer return shoes bought for his mother after the official return date has passed (his mother passed away), they also send him flowers!

One of my favorite such stories is told by Catherine DeVrye in her book Hot Lemon and Honey. She once arrived at a hotel early in the evening, to give a corporate presentation the next day. As she checks in, the receptionist asks if she wants any in-room dining or a dinner reservation, but Catherine explains that she’s feeling a little ill with a sore throat and that she just wants to relax in her room.

A few minutes after she gets to her room, there’s a knock on the door. When she opens it, there’s a hotel employee with a cup of hot lemon and honey for her sore throat. This wasn’t something she’d ordered or even something the hotel normally served – it was just a gesture of concern and kindness for a fellow human being.

I think it’ll be a fantastic web site, and one that is sorely missing on the net today. I suggested that what Kareem’s really creating is the anti-consumerist.com, where outrageous stories of horrendous customer service abound :o)

Of course, my interest in this project is that people who are happy at work are much more likely to give that kind of service. Also, being able to help your fellow man through your job is likely to make you happy, so it works both ways.

So let’s give Kareem a hand: What’s the best and kindest customer service you have ever experienced or performed for someone else? Do you have a link, video or story that fits Kareem’s quest? Please write a comment here!

5 thoughts on “Human service”

  1. Alex
    I enjoy you website very much and thoroughly enjoyed your book, Happy Hour 9-5. I am a manager/buyer for a 360 room hotel. The owner of our hotel is very much involved in day to day operations and continually offers training to employees towards guest service. Our most recent training has had to do with going above and beyond, and doing the unexpected. Every day we have employees going above and beyond and truely creating enjoyable experiences. One that I will always be fond of is an older couple who visited our hotel with a bus group. The older couple realized after getting settled into their room that their luggage was missing. They assumed it was left on the bus, but soon realized it never made it on the bus from the hotel 2 hours away they had just come from. One of our employees assured the guests that we would see to it that they would get their luggage and to go back to their rooms and enjoy their stay. The employee felt confident that when she call the other hotel and informed them that someone neglected to put the luggage on the bus, they would be willing to help get the luggage to the guests. Unfortunately, the staff at this other hotel was unwilling to assume any responsiblity and they claimed there was nothing they could do and if the guest wanted their luggage they would have to make other arrangements to get it. The owner’s son, a manager here at our hotel, did not hesitate for a moment. He got the keys to the company vehicle and drove two hours to this other hotel and retrieved the couples luggage. It was around midnight before the couple was reunited with their luggage and needless to say could not express enough gratitude. We are proof here at our hotel when you take time to appreciate your employees it makes the world a better place for everyone else you do business with.

  2. Staying at a Premier Inn near Truro, I asked the receptionist if she could book me a taxi to take me to the airport the following morning to catch my flight home.

    When I came back to the hotel that evening, I found a note pushed under my door saying that she had booked a taxi – and, as it was for a long journey, she had specially chosen a firm with lady drivers only, to make sure I’d feel safe about using it. (I’m female.)

    The note also had two cards attached to it so that, if the service was good, I could recommend the taxi with a lady driver to local female friends.

    Customer service and marketing both at once. Not bad.

    M

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