You have most likely had both good and bad customer service experiences. Which of them do you remember best? Perhaps both the amazing and the awful ones? To me, all the mediocre ones are quickly forgotten, and I only tell other people about the amazing and awful ones. Nevertheless, too many companies only give you mediocre or even bad experiences, and who would want to be remembered for having given you terrible customer service experiences? I certainly wouldn’t. There’s no need to worry – we’re coming to the rescue!

Today’s list comprises six examples that will inspire you to change your customer service philosophy and make your business stand out from the crowd. All examples will of course also improve your Net Promoter Score (read more about NPS here) and give your business a reputation you can be proud of.

1. Pick up shoes and send flowers

Zappos is renowned for doing just that bit extra for their customers, who tend to recommend Zappos to friends and acquaintances. Here’s a little story from the online world about Zappo’s amazing customer service: One of their customers ordered a large number of shoes for her mother, who had recently lost a lot of weight. Unfortunately, the mother suddenly became very ill and died. According to Zappo’s terms of service, the shoes should have been returned within 15 days of purchase. But the customer hadn’t managed to do it because of the tragic death of her mother. She wrote to Zappos, who immediately sent a man to pick up the shoes. Some days later, the customer received a large bouquet of flowers and a card – they were from Zappos, and they were sent as a small plaster on the wound of the loss of the mother.

… what you should take away from this story:

It doesn’t take much to make a customer happy. Think outside the store, and do something extra that makes the customer go WOW. The story is all over the Internet, and Zappos has got a customer for life – an ambassador – who would gladly recommend them to anyone at any time!

2. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary and new

Go back to basics and try something old-fashioned. When did you last receive a package accompanied by a handwritten note? It’s a rare sight, and sometimes that’s all it takes to impress a customer. The entire customer experience immediately becomes more personal and enjoyable! Who knows? Maybe the customer will post a picture of the note on Facebook and soon you’ll be world famous for your amazing, personal, and friendly service.

3. The teddy bear and the coffee

Do like they do at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where they offer a little extra service for customers who check out early in the morning. They ask if you’d like them to put a fresh pot of coffee in front of your door. It takes 5 minutes and gives the customer a nice end to their stay.

The Ritz Carlton Hotel really knows what it takes to give their guests an experience they’ll never forget – but they also know how to treat the children’s teddy bears to an experience they’ll never forget!

One little boy left his teddy, Joshi, at the hotel. The father told the boy that Joshi was enjoying his holiday so much that he’d decided to stay at the hotel for a few more days. He then called the hotel and ask them if they could possibly send a picture of Joshi sitting by the pool so the boy could see his teddy was in good hands. This was definitely not a problem! It turned out later that Joshi not only had a great time by the pool but also made friends with several other toy animals, enjoyed a relaxing massage and drove a car along the beach – all documented in images the hotel sent to the boy and his family.

… what you should take away from this story:

Give the customer an experience so great they just can’t help telling the story to everybody they meet! Let your employees know that it’s okay to have some fun because that way you’ll be remembered. The working environment and morale have a big influence here!

4. Do you give your customers their cab fare as well?

The next story also appears in Christian Andersen’s book Love Brand (you can download it here for free). It’s a great little customer service story, so it definitely deserves a place on this list.

A couple of friends have just enjoyed a fantastic evening at the NOMA restaurant. They pay the bill and a taxi is ordered for them. When get into the taxi, the meter is already on 150 kroner – not that it’s a lot of money compared to the money they paid for an evening at the NOMA, but it just seems a bit unfair. They discuss the matter until the waiter comes out to see what the problem is. In no time at all, the waiter comes back, hands the taxi driver 150 kroner, turns to the guests, smiles and says “Have a great evening!”

… what you should take away from this story:

Take action and take responsibility for your customers! Not many employees would consider going that far for a customer. Once again, as in the example of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, it’s all about creating a work environment where your employees know that it’s great if they do that little extra.

5. Make exceptions and have some fun

Perhaps you’ve heard this one before. It’s appeared in many places online because it’s both amusing and inspiring! Peter Shankman, an author and customer service consultant, jokingly tweeted Morton’s Steakhouse:

“Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark Airport with a porterhouse steak when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)”. Shankman obviously didn’t expect anything but, to his great surprise, when he landed at Newark airport, he was greeted by a Morton’s employee with the porterhouse steak in hand. It should be mentioned here that Morton’s Steakhouse and the airport are not neighbours. The employee had driven 37 kilometres to be ready with the food!

6. Fly your deliveries straight to the door…

Amazon is working on using drones to deliver packages of up to 2.8 kilograms to your door in just 30 minutes. There are, of course, a lot of practical things and some legislation that has to be put in place before that happens, but we can all agree that it’s an innovative idea that separates Amazon from the crowd.

…what you should take away from this story:

Think out of the box! Don’t be afraid to think creatively. We’re well aware that not everyone can offer something as revolutionary as drone deliveries. But at least you can try to come up something new and unexpected that people will remember. Go on! It’s your turn to stand out from the crowd!