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Terry O’ Reilly is one of Canada’s biggest names in advertising and to hear his weekly broadcast of “Under the Influence” is a thing of beauty and goldmine for marketers. It has been said that the hospitality industry is far and away, the leader in guest satisfaction and other companies have copied their customer service model with great success.

“Tales of Customer Service” is another one of Terry O’ Reilly’s riveting episodes.

We have decided to list our top 3:

Macy’s Department Store, circa 1950s-Source:
“There is a famous story about Macy’s Department store back in the 1950s. One day, a customer walked in to return an item she had purchased. Macy’s took it back with a smile, refunded the full purchase price, and the lady left happy.

Now, you may not think that’s a remarkable story. But it is. Because Macy’s didn’t even sell the product the lady returned. They simply wanted to do everything in their power to have that lady leave the store happy, because a happy customer is a repeat customer. They gave her a refund, even though she had bought the item at another store.”

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York-Source:
“It’s 1 a.m. and it’s freezing in New York   City.  A father and his kids are camped out in front of the Radio City Music Hall, hoping to get wristbands for the NFL Draft. But the ticket window won’t open for another five hours. Suddenly, a taxi pulls up, doorman jumps out, drapes the family in blankets, hands them all cups of hot chocolate, then speeds off.

As AdWeek Magazine notes, it wasn’t an act of random kindness, it was caring customer service. The family had checked into the Ritz-Carlton before heading out to Radio City, and the night manager there just wanted to make sure they were comfortable as they waited in the cold – even though they were on a sidewalk four miles from the hotel.
The Ritz-Carlton is a smart company, and they know exceeding customer expectations can’t just be a marketing campaign, it has to be an operating platform.”

Gentleman David Ogilvy-Source:
“David Ogilvy, one of the legends of the advertising business, and the founder of Ogilvy & Mather New York, had high customer service expectations for his staff. I always remember one of the things he insisted upon. He said, “We don’t walk our clients to the elevator, we walk them to the street.” In other words, after meetings, he expected his staff to walk their clients – not just out to the elevator – but all the way down to the street, and help them hail a cab. And in the skyscrapers of New York, that is no small courtesy.

I would venture to guess they were the only agency in town that did that. But Ogilvy & Mather believed in hiring people not just for their intelligence, but for their manners. Why do so few companies do that? Because the philosophy is so rare.”

After listening to this program we, at ATS fell under the influence. It is easy to see why some of these acts of customer service have propelled some companies to the heights of success that they have achieved. To listen to the program in its entirety go to the site.

Exceeding Customer Expectations