Much of this article is going to be written by a guy named Paul Smith.
This is because Paul published a book back in 2016 which he titled How to capture attention, build trust, and close the sale.
The book contains what, to me, can be described as business storytelling “ultra-simplified.” Another guy named Logan Strain who is a digital content specialist at NextGen holds the idea that anyone who thinks that storytelling can’t be learned hasn’t read Paul’s book.
Well, aside teaching how to tell powerful stories and using them to close sales, Paul told some incredible stories himself. I found one extremely fascinating. And if I’m to be candid, it’s one of the most incredible stories I’ve read about what, without doubt, can be referred to as out-of-the-earth customer service.
The story goes beyond satisfying customers. It’s a real story of service and sacrifice.
While reading the story, I wondered:
How many companies can really go this far for their clients?
Perhaps you can.
Paul's words now...
On May 21, 2011, Iceland’s Grímsvötn volcano had its largest eruption in 50 years and continued erupting for four days. The plume of ash and smoke rose 12 miles high and eventually spread across much of Europe. Air travels to and from cities across the northern half of the continent were canceled, delayed, or diverted to alternate destinations.
While all of this was occurring in Europe, 6,000 miles away in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft was just concluding a sales planning meeting with more than 200 of its leaders from around the world.
Many of those leaders were now stranded and couldn’t get home. And as long as the volcano continued erupting, there was no way to tell how long the problem was going to last.
All of a sudden, Microsoft’s travel department had a huge problem.
Working with their main travel consultants, they went to work on the situation.
John Stephens, Microsoft’s senior director of strategic sourcing,
described the work this way:
“First, find out who’s stranded (about 180 different people). Second, let them know we’re on it. Third, extend their local hotel reservations so they don’t get thrown out while they’re waiting for flights home. Fourth, get them office space nearby to remain productive during the delay. And
last, but most importantly, figure out how to get them home as quick as
All of that, of course, would be an administrative nightmare. After quickly taking care of priorities one through four, the travel department turned their attention to number five. But with flights to northern Europe canceled, and flights to southern Europe overbooked, they had to find a third alternative.
They chartered a Boeing 767 aircraft to fly all 180 stranded travelers to Madrid, Spain, where the airports were still open. Then, while the passengers were en route, the travel department arranged 180 separate ground transportation packages to individual cities across Europe by car, bus, train, and boat.
By the time the plane landed, every passenger had received a text with his or her ground transportation itinerary.
Microsoft’s travel team leader and the head of its travel supplier happened to be in Paris at the time. The pair rented a car and drove twelve hours straight to be in Madrid when the plane touched down to make sure everything went smoothly…
Of course, it’s Microsoft… They’ve got all the resources in the world to pull any stunt they want to. But customer service extends beyond having the resources to. It has more to do with sacrifice, passion, and respect for customers.
I didn’t put this up here to brag about the owl, but so we can rethink our approach to customer service. It’s eventually the greatest asset any business can invest in. Customer service is about the emotions you create within your customers, and it can drive them crazy.
“People will forget what you said. They will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
I’ve been stocked with Godaddy for several years now. Not because they are better than BlueHost or Hostgator or Siteground, but because of one simple act: They called back.
I was on the phone with one of their customer care attendance when my airtime finished. She called back immediately, and that was it.
Calling back might not mean much now, but for a novice Nigerian web designer in 2014, who’ve had several bitter experiences with local hosting services, calling back was a no-brainer.
I’ve written about them, talked about them, and now I’m still talking about them.
Good customer services fly.
Sometimes you don’t have to crack mountains to wow your customers. Most times you don’t have to.
It’s as simple as genuinely caring for them.