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Stories that make a difference



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Not just world-class cuisine

NOMA is known for its world-class cuisine. Its solid reputation has been established by continually pushing the boundaries of what was possible. But this groundbreaking approach didn’t just stop with their cuisine; as this story illustrates, NOMA has the same world-class attitude to customer service.

A couple of good friends had had a fantastic evening at NOMA. It was now time to pay the bill and a taxi was ordered. They left the restaurant to enter the taxi, and discovered that the taxi meter was already at over $30. When you have just eaten at NOMA, it’s not like $30 makes a big difference, but my principled friends thought it was too much. They discussed the matter back and forth with the taxi driver.

Someone from within NOMA witnessed the exchange – an employee, actually. He immediately came out and joined the fray, asking what the problem was. He went back into the restaurant and reappeared, handing the taxi driver the $30 with a big smile, saying, “I hope you all have a really great evening.”

How many businesses go that far in offering such amazing service? Does your business go this far? Not many businesses take such a high degree of responsibility for their customers, and most employees certainly would not go that far. This only happens in a business culture in which everyone strives for new levels of excellence – not only product-orientated excellence, but customer service excellence.

Great service = great marketing

Some businesses have realised that great service is great marketing. When you provide a great service, you are actually selling the business to the customer. But far too many businesses still see good service as an expense rather than an investment.

Few tell this story better than Tony Evald Clausen, who has worked as a professional salesman for the company The Sales Pilots. He experienced Telenor’s excellent ser- vice firsthand when he contacted them about problems he was having with his Internet. Here is the story as Tony experienced it.

Telenor: “I see that your router is from 2007. We’ll send you a new one. Of course, it will cost you nothing; I see that you have been a loyal customer with us all the way back to when we were called CyberCity, so I’ll send a new router, which you’ll have by Wednesday at the latest – at no cost. You can just discard the old one; we don’t need it back.”

That in itself is fantastic service – but it didn’t end there. “When Wednesday arrived, Telenor called me and said they had tried to deliver the router but that they could see that nobody was home to receive it. They asked if it was possible for me to come home later so they could get it delivered. It was possible, so I drove home and managed to get hold of my router.

“Later that evening, Telenor called again, firstly to ask whether I had received the router, and secondly to ask whether I had any questions about installing it. I told them I had not tried it yet, so the Telenor employee asked if he could call later in the evening to check that it was all working correctly.

“I installed the router without any problems and, as promised, Telenor called me again later that evening and asked me whether I was satisfied with the router and that all was functioning well.

“It was great service – but it was also a great sales strat- egy. Telenor had just sold me Telenor all over again. They proved that they are the broadband providers who deserve my money every single month. So it is well deserved that time after time I retell this story and recommend them.”

We don’t want satisfied customers

E-conomic is a company that is progressing rapidly. Since the start of 2001, the company has amassed a customer base of more than 167,000 companies and has offices in England, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Spain with 100 employees, all of whom are attempting to make a difference.

Users of the e-conomic system probably do not expect something special in terms of customer service when they buy a subscription for an accounting programme, but e-conomic have made it their goal to offer great customer service that exceeds expectations. By surprising customers with this experience that goes the extra mile, they not only get satisfied customers, but customers who recommend them to their friends and colleagues.

Recently, e-conomic surprised a customer who had just quit her subscription. This business owner had been a customer with e-conomic for three years, but her company was struggling with too many expenses so they were forced to save wherever possible. Her accountant had urged her to close the business but she was not able to accept this as an option.

When an e-conomic member of staff from the account termination department heard her story, he offered her a free subscription for the rest of the year. The customer responded, “That’s really nice of you, but I don’t have a penny!”

He insisted, however, that she was a good customer who deserved great service, so he offered her the subscription free for the rest of the year, saying that he would call again then to see whether she wished to continue the subscription or cancel it.

The customer was obviously delighted at how far e-conomic were prepared to go for her.

She is today still a happy customer of e-conomic. Even though she may still need to cancel her subscription before the next payment is required, think for a moment about how many people in her network she has shared the e-conomic experience with.

E-conomic say: “We are there for our customers – not because it makes sense, but because it makes f***ing good sense! We train all of our employees in this way of thinking, as we believe that happy customers are the way forward.”

Flipping the overturned kayak

We hear a lot about the economic crisis. But you can also “flip the overturned kayak” by focusing on customer loyalty, as this little story will illustrate. This is a contribution

One day, six or seven years ago, my husband and I decided to give kayaking a try. There was a long wait to enrol in a course at the kayak club, but we both wondered how hard it could be and drove out to a shop specialising in kayaks. The owner was a little astonished that we wanted to buy kayak when we hadn’t ever tried it before, and immediately talked us out of it – instead, over a period of three weekends during the high season, he rented us various different kayaks so that we could decide which type we wanted. Finally, we bought two kayaks – and they were the right choices. The twist in the story came a few months later, when we paid a quick visit to the shop, which ended up with the salesman offering to take us out kayaking so that we could improve our technique. As you can imagine, I’ve told this story quite a few times!

And recommended the shop to many kayak enthusiasts.

Thank you to Susanne Lehmann Pagh, team leader at Arwos. A bottle of wine is on its way to you and your husband.

The antagonist

A reader has contributed with the following story about how badly things can go wrong for a shop – in this case a Danish bicycle shop.

I have a bicycle that I sometimes use to get to work or when I want to fetch the children from playschool. One day I had the dog with me and it ran into the back wheel, breaking the bike. It was handyman time.

When I wanted to get the gears off the back wheel, I discovered that I need specialised tools so had to make a trip to the local bicycle shop. I brought along the wheel and the gears so that he could see what I needed.

Luckily, he had a little tool you could use to separate the wheel from the gear, and best of all it only cost £7. “Great, I’ll take it.” But, but, but – unfortunately it didn’t fit, which I only discovered when I got home. No problem. Back to the bicycle shop 10 minutes later.

Luckily, they had a different size which I could have. Now, the correct size of the tool cost £6, £1 cheaper. But when the shop owner discovered the price difference he hurriedly removed the packaging and I didn’t get my £1 back. And, even worse, I didn’t get an apology for the error, which they had clearly made.

But after the experience with the bicycle shop, I’ve now told this story to ten-twelve people in the local area and have decided not to purchase there again. It became an expensive £1 for the bicycle shop owner.

Luckily, the dog was fine.

Thank you to Claus Holm from GoApplicate. In addition to the book, we’ve sent Claus a DVD of another antagonist, the arrogant “fat-cat boss” in the British comedy series The Office, starring Ricky Gervais.