Customer service greatness, as taught to us by PBS

Jan. 25, 2011 | by James Bickers

Here's an amazing story that any retailer can learn from, a story about the power of surprise and going above-and-beyond for the people that interact with you.

Earlier this week, Atlanta's PBS station WABE received this letter, which was accompanied by crumpled dollar bill. It read:

Dear PBS

I like your shows and I would like you to make a new show named Super Heroes to the Rescue. I would like that.

Noah, 5 years old.

That image got posted to the community website Reddit, where a bunch of creative people leaped into action. They're now working on a comic book with Noah's requested title, which they will mail to him. That's Awesome Thing No. 1.

Then someone at WABE got wind of the letter, and they came up with Awesome Thing No. 2: A custom landing page for Super Heroes to the Rescue, complete with logo, and a personal note to Noah (you can read it at the bottom of that page).

I love this on so many levels. For one thing, there's the sheer spunk exhibited by the kid – an adult would never write this letter, because most of us are so jaded by the companies we deal with, we know it would never happen. It never once occurred to Noah that the station couldn't make a show for him (for a dollar, no less).

Then you have the generosity of the Redditors. Then you have the willingness of the folks at WABE to break from their script and do something memorable for one of their customers. Then you have the fact that it all happened within the space of a couple of days.

Think what a difference it would make if retailers took this kind of initiative. It's not like your customers aren't talking to you and making requests – they're doing it millions of times a day, 140 characters or less at a time. And some retailers are indeed looking for opportunities to be amazing – the story of the Moosejaw coat comes to mind.

When was the last time your company did something amazing, unexpected, jaw-dropping for a customer? What's your strategy for doing so, consistently, so that it becomes part of the story your customers tell about you?

Topics: Customer Service , Social Media

James Bickers / James Bickers is the senior editor of Retail Customer Experience, and also manages webinars for Networld Media Group. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist and innovative content strategist, with publication credits in national, international and regional publications.
www View James Bickers's profile on LinkedIn

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