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Inspiration \ FEB 2nd 2012

3 Exceptional Customer Service Stories

You’d have to live underground to miss the story of 3-year old Lily Robinson’s letter to Sainsbury’s – and their delightful response. This story went viral very fast, turning employee Chris King into a web star, and Sainsbury’s into the new Santa.

 Lily Robinson’s letter to Sainsbury’s

Exceptional customer service stories are not common, and should therefore be told and re-told. We were inspired by these stories and hope you will be too.

Morton’s Steakhouse: Where Stalking Ends with a 24 oz. Porterhouse Steak

Morton's Steak House, San Juan Photo by junsatoPhoto By junsato

Peter Shankman swears the following is true:

On august 17, 2011, Shankman was due to catch a 7am flight out of Newark to Tampa, Florida, for a lunch meeting in Clearwater. He had a “healthy piece of grouper” at that business lunch, and arrived at Newark at 4 pm. When he got on the plane, he found that he was, again, hungry: “As I’ve tweeted and mentioned countless times before, I’m a bit of a steak lover… Over the past few years, I’ve developed an affinity for Morton’s Steakhouses and if I’m doing business in a city which has one, I’ll try to schedule a dinner there if I can”. His stomach rumbling, Shankman twitted the following:

“Hey Morton’s. Can you meet me at Newark’s airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? Thanks”.

Shankman admits he was joking, and had “no expectations of anything from that Tweet”.

Two and a half hours later, as he was walking off the plane to meet his driver, he was surprised to find a ”man in a tuxedo” waiting beside him. It was Alex, an employee of Morton’s Steakhouse, who immediately proceeded to tell Shankman that “he’d heard I was hungry, and inside is a 24 oz. Porterhouse steak, an order of  Colossal Shrimp, a side of potatoes, one of Morton’s famous round things of bread, two napkins, and silverware”.

The Ritz-Carlton: Where Eggs and Milk are Delivered by the Chef’s Mother-in-la


Every luxury hotel, and especially a chain that revels in its reputation for excellence, strives to make customer service an art. This Bloomberg businessweek piece, titled “How Ritz-Carlton maintains its mystique”, contains one truly exceptional story.

It concerns a family staying at the Ritz-Carlton, Bali, who had carried specialized eggs and milk for their son who suffered from food allergies. On arriving at the hotel, they discovered the eggs had broken and the milk had soured. “The Ritz-Carlton manager and dining staff”, tells the reporter, “searched the town but could not find the appropriate items”. The executive chef, not a man to be so easily defeated, remembered a store in Singapore that carried the items. He proceeded to call his mother-in-law, never an easy task, and asked that she buy the items and fly to Bali to deliver them. She did, and they were.

B. Dalton: Where it’s OK to Refer Customers to the Competition

Matt Nager for The Wall Street JournalPhoto By Matt Nager for The Wall Street Journal

American retail bookstore chain B. Dalton boasts the following delightful tale.

A father and son (who remain nameless in the original article), went to B. Dalton in search of a specific book for Christmas. One of the sales reps checked the computer to see if the store held that book in its inventory – unfortunately, it wasn’t. The next shipment was due to arrive in a few days, too late for Christmas.

The sales rep then did an amazing thing: she contacted Borders, the competition, to ask whether they had the book. “She gave me the contact name at Borders”,  tells the father, “and told me to just go up to the counter and my book would be waiting”.

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