Back when I was overseeing consumer affairs for Thrifty Rent-A-Car System we received a complaint from a very unhappy customer. In a hurry to catch a flight after a full week at Disneyland, the customer accidently left her son’s 3-foot Mickey Mouse plush toy in the rental car. When the customer contacted the Thrifty location the next day, Mickey Mouse was nowhere to be found.
Frustrated, the customer called our corporate Customer Care toll-free line. Jim took the call and instead of explaining (policy) that the company wasn’t responsible for items left in vehicles, he got creative. He told the customer he’d do everything he could to locate Mr. Mouse. Sadly, however, Mickey Mouse was missing in action.
What did Jim do? He asked me if I’d authorize the purchase of a Mickey Mouse plush toy for the customer. I was ecstatic at this out-of-the-box idea and immediately gave my blessings. Jim left work that day and went to the Disney Store and bought a 3-foot Mickey Mouse and had the store Fed-Ex it to our customer. Talk about creative and memorable! Do you think the customer wanted to come back to Thrifty? Do you think she told everyone she knew about the service recovery? You bet she did. Jim’s creativity resulted in a customer for life and priceless word-of-mouth advertising… and cost us less than 50 bucks.
The point: Every once in awhile go for the WOW. Think out of the box and find a way to surprise and delight your customers. You’ll generate priceless word-of-mouth advertising, create customers for life and your employees will have a ball.
For dozens of ideas on WOWing customers, take a look at my Delivering Service Through WOW eLearning course.