His Name Is Bill

His Name is Bill


An Art of the Question Blog


What will my customers remember about me?


His name is …well, let’s just call him Bill. He is the President of an airline, and boy, did he step in it not too long ago.  It seems a couple from Orlando missed a concert in Atlanta due to a delayed flight on one of Bill’s planes.  They wrote an email complaint to the executive team, including Bill, the president.

The Chicago Tribune reported that our man Bill emailed a response to a member of his customer service team (let’s call him Pete) regarding the complaint.  Here is the email:

“Please respond, Pete, but we owe him nothing as far as I’m concerned. Let him tell the world how bad we are. He’s never flown us before anyway and will be back when we save him a penny.”

Bad, right?  Well, it gets worse.  He accidentally copied the customer! And of course, it got into the blogosphere. So now, the mess has hit the fan. You see, he is trying to go public with a stock offering to raise $300M. But his company’s customer service issues are so bad that when they filed the paperwork with the SEC to get permission, they had to show their customer service reputation as a risk to the business!

How would you like to invest in THAT company?

And then, there is the other end of the spectrum. 

Her name is Zaz.

Like most of us, she loves her mom.  And she wanted to do something to show her mom how much she loved her. The perfect gift…the perfect gift… what to get mom for the perfect gift?

Aha! Shoes! What could be better?

So Zaz ordered the shoes.  And not from just anywhere.  She ordered them from the world famous Zappos.com. She ordered just the right shoes that she knew her mom would love, and looked forward to giving them to her. But then she discovered she had ordered the wrong size.

So she called Zappos and arranged to return the shoes. But sadly, unexpectedly, her mom passed away before Zaz could give them to her.  

The good folks at Zappos called to follow up on the return. Zaz explained what had happened, and shared that she just hadn’t had the heart to do the return. They told her not to worry about a thing. They arranged to send a UPS pickup for the shoes.

The next day, UPS showed up to get the shoes. A great customer service story, right? A company doing the right thing for a valued customer. It would have been an extraordinary story if it had stopped right there. But it didn’t.

Not long after the UPS truck left, another truck showed up. Well, actually it was a delivery van. From the local florist. The driver knocked on the door bearing a beautiful, lush basket. Roses and white lilies.  Zaz opened the card, and to her amazement, the flowers were from Zappos.

Now that’s customer service. No, check that. That’s Extraordinary customer relations. That’s moving into the realm of insuring the customer knows you care about them  – not just about their business. That’s the kind of customer experience that helps insure the customer relationship lasts a lifetime.

We are all in the business of the customer experience. Some of us, like our sales team, work directly with the end customer. Some of us, like our administrative team, work with internal team members, who are our customers.  But in one way or another, each of us has responsibility for the customer experience.

How about you?  What do your customers experience when they deal with you?  Every day, every transaction affords the opportunity to blow it – or to shine.  Every interaction with your customer reinforces their decision to do business with you, or undermines it.

Bottom line – the Customer Experience is simply this: what is the customer’s experience with you? Every minute, every day, every interaction – what experience are you leaving with the customer? What will they remember about you?

Imagine the possibilities…


About terry newberry

Business Consulting, Seminars, Motivational teacher - Terry is a certified personal coach. He has served in leadership roles as Executive VP, VP Finance and CFO of several multinational companies. He is an award winning writer and speaker who has traveled throughout the U.S. and internationally consulting businesses and speaking in seminars, workshops and keynote addresses. Terry's client list includes Auburn University, the University of Alabama, Children's Hospital, Wake Med Hospital, Inquest, and Fortune 100 companies like AT&T and Bellsouth. terrynewberry.com terrydnewberry@bellsouth.net 205.296.7679 View all posts by terry newberry

3 responses to “His Name Is Bill

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