Attention Brands! Here’s a REAL Customer Service Lesson from Krispy Kreme!

Customer service is something that I’m well versed in. I own and operate a call center, after all. However, if there is one thing that I’ve noticed over the last few years, regardless of best-selling books such as ‘The Thank You Economy’, by Gary Vaynerchuk telling us how important it is to look after our customers – especially in the incredibly social, online world that we now all live in, is that it’s not a subject matter that gets any huge amount of ‘good’ press. It’s most ‘bad’.

Like the story of United Airlines breaking a guitar and not responding to millions of YouTube views on the subject until it was too late. Not to mention the fact that in a recent survey only 29% of consumers received a reply on Twitter, following a customer complaining publicly about an issue they had. Think about that – 71% of the companies / brands basically completely ignored a customer complaint. For the world to see!

It’s all quite pitiful really, isn’t it?

However, I’m here today to tell you that all is not lost. Seriously, it’s not.

Freedom Friday

As an entrepreneur, I’m lucky enough to have the freedom to set my own working schedule and for a while now, I’ve not been working on Friday’s (except the odd client call, or meeting). I’ve also been trying to come up with a regular activity that I can enjoy every Friday morning with my wife and our son, Charlie.

Last Friday I woke up with a hankering for coffee and donuts. That doesn’t happen often. So, when I get a hankering of such a kind, I usually act on it!

We jumped in the car and headed to the local Krispy Kreme donut shop. We’ve been there twice before, but never with the little one, who was simply told we were going to get donuts. He likes donuts (duh!?), but didn’t say much more than “I want a chocolate donut” on the way to our destination.

Good morning, Maam, Sir!

We parked, walked into the store to the usual Filipino greeting of “Good morning, Maam, Sir!” and approached the counter to order our treats!

As I sat my youngest at the table, I observed him getting comfortable – matchbox toy car in one hand, the other hand empty, ready for the battle that was about to commence!

His chocolate donut was placed in front of him (I’m an Original Glazed kinda guy, in case you’re interested!), he picked it up with his spare hand, and took his first, surprisingly large bite. As if it had been timed to perfection one of the young, female members of staff came over with a balloon, to his joy and amazement. Donuts AND a balloon? Surely this Friday morning can’t get any better…!?

For Charlie, oh yes, it can!

20mins, some fun and games – which included attacking a few unsuspecting patrons with his green balloon, and a few laughs later, Charlie had polished off his chocolate donut.

We’re on the verge of getting ready to leave and the young lady comes back to our table. This time, however, she brings a paper hat with her and squarely places it on Charlie’s head, asking him “Would you like to see how we make the donuts?”.

Being as inquisitive, but also as cautious as most other 3-year olds, he responds with “Can my Mummy come, too?”. Of course she can. At this point, I pull out my iPhone4s to capture the moment so that we can share it with Grandma and Grandad later on.

Here’s a 60-second clip from the video…

He was amazed by how the donuts were made. And when he came out from the preparation area, he ran up to me, to tell me all about it.

We thanked our ‘guide’, cleaned up the table and left the store with a smile on our faces, and full bellies. I honestly thought that our experience at Krispy Kreme that morning was finished there.

How wrong I was.

Winning a Fan for Life!

On the way home Charlie said “We sure had fun at Krispy Kreme, Daddy…”. Then he said it again a few minutes later. Then again. And… Then again. When we got home, we showed the video to his grandparents, which was accompanied with his running commentary of the event, which included the word ‘Awesome’ several times.

The sugar rush then came to an end, and he crashed. Literally. On the sofa, with his Krispy Kreme balloon next to him.

When he woke up, he asked to watch the video again. What ensued was another 10min conversation about his experience at the donut shop.

Charlie has not stopped taking about those bloody donuts all weekend! And I for one am very happy about it. Why? Because I’ve found that Friday morning activity I’ve been looking for.

What is REAL Customer Service?

Most people tend to think of ‘customer service’ as being a company taking care of a refund, or another sales related issue, or after sales ‘care’ of some kind.

However, we rarely see it as making an already good experience even better. Even more memorable. Even more enjoyable.

Would we have returned the the donut shop without this great experience? Yes, probably at SOME point in the future. But, not every week, that’s for sure.

Are we going to buy dozens of donuts every week, when we’re there? Probably not. But, I am telling all my blog subscribers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers about my great experience? Yes, I am. And will Krispy Kreme get some additional business out of it..? You betcha!

One of my fondest childhood memories is that of walking to the top of the hill in our town, with my Dad, every Sunday morning to get a newspaper. We did that together for years. I still remember some of our conversations from those 20min walks. Although, it’s the activity itself that I remember more than anything else.

Now, every Friday morning, when Charlie wakes up, he’ll know that we’re going to Krispy Kreme to enjoy some donuts. He might never walk around that prep area again (although knowing him the way I do, I reckon it’s more likely to happen, than not!), but he will enjoy the beginning of each and every weekend going forward and hopefully he’ll remember his Friday mornings with Mum and Dad for years and years to come…

Have you had a great customer service experience? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below. Let’s make each other SMILE at the start of the week and if you enjoyed this story, please share it with your friends, to give them a smile, too!

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