There are certainly a good number of cases that come through customer service because customers’ errors have created problems for them or another company has dropped the ball, leaving them in a bind. They then reach out to us, hoping that something can be done in order to fix the situation. While not every case can be resolved, it is our obligation to be gracious to our customers and assist whenever and however possible. Customers know that we do not have to do anything for them in these situations, which makes our wanting to help them out all the more meaningful.
To illustrate this point, consider this story out of England. Richella Heekin, a 26 year old from Birmingham, England, purchased two plane tickets to Las Vegas as a surprise gift for her boyfriend. However, they had the unwelcome surprise, once at the airport, of discovering she had erroneously reserved tickets for a flight from Birmingham, Alabama to Las Vegas, not from Birmingham, England. Completely dejected, Ms. Heekin and her boyfriend returned home and ended up visiting Amsterdam instead of their intended vacation.
The Birmingham Mail newspaper picked up the story and published an article about the couple’s disappointing experience, which is how a PR Lead at Virgin Holidays heard about the situation. Virgin Holidays holds a specific fund, the Just Because fund, solely to use to help customers whenever it feels compelled to do so even when their issue falls outside of traditional cost channels. Ms. Heekin’s situation was surely beyond Virgin Holidays’ obligation, but they felt it was the right thing to do and provided her and her boyfriend airfare to Las Vegas plus 5 nights of a hotel stay.
Virgin Holidays may not have been involved in the original transaction and they were certainly not the one who made an error in the booking, but they showed tremendous grace and compassion in offering to help this customer out of her predicament. In doing so, they not only forged an incredibly strong relationship with their new customer, but no doubt have attracted throngs of others as Ms. Heekin shares her story far and wide.
Our commitment to our customers obviously covers failures on the part of our companies or products, but extending that to simply doing our best to help customers with all sorts of mishaps beyond our control can quickly position us as friends of our customers rather than companies they simply do business with.