Customer Experience: Underground Edition

Thomas FairbairnOctober 7, 20196min0

At its heart, customer experience is about decency and respect towards others, and we can’t wait to celebrate these qualities on October 10th at the UK Customer Experience Awards.

A lot of this amazing work happens on a small scale: in a shop, restaurant or place of business. And since these CX angels deserve proper recognition, we want to share three stories of outstanding customer service on here.

So if you want to be able to say “I know a really cool CX practitioner but you’ve probably never heard of them”, you’re in the right place! Welcome to the Customer Experience Underground.


The Stove Salesman

Customer Experience Underground - Stove

I was in an appliance store shopping for a new stove, and was looking at a stove that was priced at $1300. While talking to the salesperson he took me to the back of the store and showed me a stove that looked almost exactly the same but was $600. He explained that it was last year’s model and on clearance. While we were talking about the particulars of delivery and such, I asked if he gets commissions on sales and learned that they only get paid a commission on sales that total $1000 or more.

This means that the salesman basically saved me $700 while simultaneously ruling himself out of a commission.

That was when I decided I needed a new television, entertainment centre, and tablet.

In case you didn’t guess, the writer here decided to spend well over $1000 to make sure the salesman got rewarded for his honest efforts. Moral of the story: customers appreciate frankness and can actually buy much more when they don’t feel like they’re being sold to!


The Restaurant Manager

Customer Experience Underground

Six of us went out to dinner before a movie. For some reason, our order wasn’t placed so we missed our show time for the movie. The manager was making his rounds checking on the tables, so we let him know what happened. He gave the whole table a free meal and said if we brought in our receipt from the movies, he would pay for that as well. We weren’t looking for a free meal, and things like this happen – really, we just wanted him to know so it didn’t happen again. We went to the later show and did not bring our receipts back from the movie – but I make sure to tell people about how quickly and fantastically we were responded to.

You can tell how mortified this restaurant manager was – and how much he was willing to do to make the situation better. The customer didn’t want a refund on their cinema ticket; they just wanted their food, and to let the restaurant know about the mistake! The generosity of the manager in the face of this error has made the writer more likely to come back in the future.


How do you like them apples?

Customer Experience Underground

I used to go to a farm every year to get Gravenstein apples. One year I bought two boxes of apples, but forgot to put one of them in the car. I only realised it when I got home. I had paid in cash, so I couldn’t even call the place and ask for a refund on the apples I didn’t take, and I wasn’t going to go back to get them (it’s about fifty miles each way). I wrote it off in my mind as money lost to a mistake.

The next year, my friend and I went back to the farm. As soon as I stepped in the door, the woman behind the counter said, “You left a box of apples here last year!” She let me fill a box with apples and take them. This is someone who saw me only once a year. I was really astonished that she remembered.

You don’t remember this much about your customers without caring about them deeply! Great CX is all about nurturing long-term relationships with customers, and little details like this make all the difference.



This Thursday, we’ll be hearing CX stories from the UK’s top companies at the UK Customer Experience Awards. 

You can book your ticket to attend here

For more Awards International stories on customer experience, click here


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Thomas Fairbairn

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