Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Other Side of Thanks

We all know how great it is to be thanked for doing something well—to be recognized for a job well done. And yes, it's important to thank people for doing the job that's expected, but especially so when people go above and beyond.

Some companies are legendary for excellent Customer Service: Nordstroms, LL Bean, Zappo's—each of us knows some that are consistently attentive, responsive, and courteous, and who understand what we are looking for in the way of service.

And each of us also probably has a list of those whose Customer Service is consistently abysmal, whose policies are byzantine and unfriendly, and whose "Customer Service Representatives" are there more to protect policies and assets then they are to help customers with issues or expedite refunds or replacements. We generally know enough to complain loudly when we are up against such a company, and it's important to do so.

But there's another side. We—equally loudly, I believe, need to sing the praises not only of the companies who do a great job, but of individuals who do a great job. That way, we are rewarding them for getting it right—whether they work for a great company or not—and we also bring to the attention of the company, large or small, the kind of service we expect.

Here are some ideas:

  • Next time you get great service in a restaurant, tip a little extra, sure, but also make the shift manager or owner aware of the excellent service you received.
  • When you get "above and beyond" service on the phone, ask for the contact information of the representative's supervisor, so you can send a thank you. If they won't give you that, do a Web search and get as high up the organization as possible to give kudos.
  • Sing the company's praises on Social Media such as Twitter and Facebook; or say that you ran into an individual at that company who exceeded your expectations.
Get good service on the radar, no matter whether it comes from a company that's known for it or not, and we can get Customer Service on more agendas at more companies.

Give it some thought.


  1. Great idea about tipping a little extra for great service and in addition making the shift manager/owner aware. This is a perfect way of making a company recognize an outstanding employee and extraordinary service received. If companies take the time to recognize a unique service and continually deliver exceptional service they will stand out from the crowd.

  2. Thanks, James! Agreed. It's necessary to differentiate your business from the competition, and superior service is a great way to do it. Tipping or otherwise recognizing the individual with whom you interacted us one thing; making the company aware that you'll be back because of your interaction is important. It either reinforces a culture if service or points up why there should be one.

  3. Really great points. If a friend or someone closer does something great for you, send them a note. A real, handwritten note. They are so rare these days.