The Top 10 Best Customer Service Stories of 2023
There has been a dramatic shift in the media’s reporting of customer service over the last five years. The vast majority of customer service stories you’ll find these days are focused on extreme poor behaviour on the part of either customers or employees.
Are people actually getting nastier, or Is traditional media trying to regain market share lost to social media platforms by being more sensational? I don’t know, but I suspect it may be a combination of the two. We first noticed the trend in 2018, and it seems to be getting worse.
Having said this, good things are still happening out there. Every year, Belding Training scours the news for stories about great customer service to share with our clients and to use in our customer service training courses. These experiences are invaluable in illustrating what outstanding customer service looks like — and what leaders should strive for. Thirteen years ago, we decided to start ranking them, and sharing the top 10 best and worst experiences of the previous year.
Here are the 10 Best Customer Service Stories of 2023
We had a short list of over a hundred experiences and it took a while to whittle them down into just ten. Full disclosure – the ranking is completely subjective, and a couple of times came down to a game of rock, paper, scissors. Feel free to disagree and let me know!
To be honest, all of the people in these ten stories are #1 in our books. Here are the winners, presented in order from number ten to number one.
#10 - "Get Excited. I’ll See You at the Window!"
I love this story because it features someone who absolutely cares about his customers and lets them know it. It also illustrates an important customer service principle – that to create an amazing experience, you don’t have to do anything magical. You don’t have to give things away, or save a life or dance a jig. You simply have to let someone know that, right now, at this moment in time, they are the most important person in your life. I think we can all learn a lot from Starbucks barista Connor Eksteen, who’s been delivering these customer experiences for 17 years.
Does he belong on this 2023 list of great customer service stories? Well, to quote Connor, “I don’t see why not!”
#9 - Manager Delivers a Mouthful of Great Customer Service
The customer at Long John Silver’s in San Antonio had accidentally threw out his denture after a meal, and didn’t realize it until he was back in his car ready to drive away. He was embarrassed, and the last thing he wanted was to ask an employee to dig through the garbage for him.
He didn’t have to. The assistant manager, Stella Magano went through the garbage herself and saved the day. An unpleasant thing to do? Not to Stella, who was sympathetic and said, “I know how easy it is to lose something, and no one wants to help.”
#8 ASDA Employee Gets a Clue from a Magnifying Glass
This is another perfect example of how great customer service is about the little things. It’s about looking for opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life, however small.
A vision-impaired customer at ASDA’s store in Bolton was struggling with a magnifying glass while trying to complete his shopping. Aziza, a 24-year employee of the store saw him and didn’t hesitate. She helped him complete his shopping, put it through the checkout, then called a taxi for him. A little thing, perhaps – but it made a big difference
#7 UPS Driver Goes The Extra Nautical Mile to Deliver a Great Customer Experience
There was no question this would make the Top 10 Best Customer Service Stories of 2023, because it encompasses all three pillars of trust-based service – caring, competency and integrity
Ryan Long is a UPS Driver in Mercer, Maine. It was only a handful of days before Christmas when he discovered that serious flooding was standing in the way of making his Christmas deliveries. No-one would have blamed him if he had just turned around and driven away. But when he saw a neighbour’s boat, he had a better idea.
#6 “Nobody Gave Up on Him”
Health care workers have been under siege for the past four years. Emotional exhaustion and burnout is endemic. When we have the opportunity to provide training for health care professionals, however, I’m always astounded at the resilience I see. This is a beautiful – and not uncommon – patient service story about the difference these people make in the lives of those around them.
Kudos to Mikayla Wise, BSN, RN. and the other fantastic professionals in the Nebraska Methodist Critical Care Unit for their her amazing commitment to their patients. This is customer care at its finest.
#5 Seven Years of Delivering Kindness at Subway – And Then This Happened
This is a beautiful story that shows how much people appreciate our great customer service. In her 7 years at an Andover, Minnesota Subway restaurant, Lorene Gronskei did a lot for her customers. She didn’t do it for the praise or recognition – but because she liked making people happy. She had no idea how much her customers appreciated her until this happened.
#4 Bus Driver Makes a Special Delivery
If you’re a parent or a grandparent, you know the joy and proud looks on a child’s face when you open a present from them. Now imagine the devastation your seven-year-old would feel when realizing too late that he’d left your Mother’s Day gift – a plant – on the school bus on Friday.
Fortunately, a quick-thinking bus driver in Idaho Falls, made sure that didn’t happen. When he finished his route and saw the gifts on the empty seat, he hopped into his car and drove it all the way back to child’s house.
One small gesture that prevented a Mother’s Day disaster!
#3 Cork Hotel Opens their Doors For Neighbors
When Storm Babet brought massive flooding to Cork, Ireland, Midleton Park Hotel stepped up big-time. They opened their doors to suddenly homeless families desperate for a place to stay. When they ran out of rooms, they brought camp beds and mattresses into their ballroom, and they provided refreshments for everyone, including volunteers who were helping with the clean-up.
Hotel sales director, Anais Gilles said, “We wanted to give something back to the community.” A class act, and a fantastic example of outstanding customer service.
#2 Customer Service Story, and “The Most Important Person in the World”
Orlando was going to a wedding, and went into a Petersburg, Alabama Goodwill to get outfitted. He needed some help, though. Orlando is blind. Fortunately, he was met by store employee, Dawn Simpson, who took his arm and made sure he had everything he needed. Another customer, Reggie Snell, witnessed the interaction, was blown away, saying, “From the time she took his arm, you could see him ease, and … treated him with dignity and respect – like he was the most important person in the world.”
#1 The Best Customer Service Story of 2023 is 500 Miles Away
Number one in our top ten stories of customer service this year was no contest. It began in Baltimore, Maryland and ended in Vermont. (It also actually happened in 2021, but the story had recently been updated, and it was too good to ignore!)
Steve Chu and Ephrem own Baltimore restaurant, Ekiban. One of their patrons was a Vermont woman who always stopped in for the restaurant’s tempura broccoli which she loved. She used to joke that, when she’s on her death bed she wanted tempura broccoli from Ekiben.
Sadly, she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in late 2020. The treatments were rough. Her family couldn’t get her five hundred miles to the Ekiban, so reached out to the restaurant for the broccoli tempura recipe, so they could make it for her at home.
Chu, Ephram and employee Joe decided instead to make the six-hour drive to Vermont, where they could “make the food fresh so it will be just like what she remembered.”
Wow. Just wow.
Did we miss any? Let us know!
Those are our top 10 best customer service stories of 2023. Did we miss one? If you have any thoughts or suggestions – or hear of anything for 2024, please just let us know!