Don’t anybody move. Keep your hands where I can see them. And you might want to sit down for this.

I’ve got a GREAT customer service story for you! And there’s a terrific lesson we can all learn from it.

My smoking’ hot wife, Kay, works for the Federal Way Mirror. For those of you less worldly travelers, the Mirror is a weekly newspaper based right here in Federal Way, Washington, the hot bed of news for the known free world. Understanding that it’s a weekly paper gives you a pretty good idea on how much news happens in Federal Way.

One of Kay’s fellow Mirror staffers, Jennifer Aniston Anderson, went to the local Office Depot on an important mission. She needed to get some refills for an old pen, which can be notoriously difficult to find.

Like most of us, Jenn took the empty refill with her. Standing in front of the wall of choices at the store, she leaned forward to compare the empty cartridge with the ones hanging on the hooks.

And she dropped the cartridge.

Instead of bouncing onto the floor, the cartridge rolled and slipped inside the metal display unit.

Lost forever, right? After all, this is a big retail merchandising unit! It’s not like you can just quickly pull it open and grab the ink cartridge.

The Opportunity to be Legendary 1But an amazing Office Depot employee named Cesar* came to Jenn’s rescue.

Cesar happily and eagerly got the tools and proceeded to take the shelving unit apart. No small task, obviously. I have personally put many shelving units together, and I can guarantee you I had NO desire to ever take them apart. I’m even talking about my concrete block and plywood college shelves. Those were a pain to put together! I just left them in every fraternity room and apartment when I moved out, and I’ll leave them in my current home, too.

After Cesar got the shelves open, he found Jenn’s cartridge. He then cheerfully helped her look for refills. Guess what? They didn’t have them! But, according to Jenn, Cesar was nonplussed and offered to order them for her.

This is, obviously, a great customer service story. And great customer service brings them back.

But there is actually a much bigger lesson here.

Everybody says they provide world-class customer service. Many companies talk about how they want to be the Nordstrom of their industry.

But what, exactly, IS world-class customer service? When I ask people, very few have an answer. And if you’ve shopped at Nordstrom much – like my smoking’ hot wife, and especially our college-graduate-looking-for-a-job daughter, Kelly – you could say that most of the time, Nordstrom’s service is okay…

…most of the time. But occasionally it’s legendary.

You see, most of time, world-class customer service isn’t needed. Oh sure, there’s an attitude and demeanor we can adopt in all customer interactions that represents a higher level of customer respect and desire to help. But not every interaction could be defined as “world-class.”

What we can do to achieve legendary status is fairly simple.

Be alert to the OPPORTUNITY
to provide

Opportunities to provide legendary service don’t happen often. But when they do, and if we’re aware and alert, we can turn a situation into a customer service story people talk about.

Whether he was trained by Office Depot to do that or not, Cesar spotted one of those opportunities. Jenn took the picture to share with her co-workers. Kay shared it with me. And now I’m sharing it with you and all the rest of my BFFs.

Will Jenn want to shop at Office depot again? Of course, she will. She’ll remember Cesar’s efforts forever. And the halo effect of this great legendary story will carry.

I guarantee your company brags about your customer service as an important reason for doing business with you. The problem is everyone else reading this says the same thing, and I guarantee your competition says it, too.

But do you have LEGENDARY stories floating around, being shared between your customers and in the industry? That’s what companies, like Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton, and Zappos, have going for them. Their customer service stories are, quite literally, mythical.

And that’s what makes you UNCOPYABLE.

If you’re looking for the opportunity to be legendary, I hold periodic group coaching boot camps. For information on when the next one will be held, just drop me an email and I’ll keep you posted. No obligation.


*I’m sorry I don’t have Cesar’s last name, but he works at the 31811 Pacific Highway South location in Federal Way, WA.