Put Your Fingerprint on the Customer Experience

posted by Brenda Short on Monday, February 27, 2017 in Unified Communications and IT Blog

If customer service is an important tenet to your organization, you might find you appreciate the small moments when customer service exceeds expectations. It is up to each of us to put our own fingerprint on the customer experience.

The best example of this came from a Ritz Carlton presentation at GreatAmerica last spring. We heard about the tale of Joshie the Giraffe. A family checked out of the Ritz Carlton after a vacation and much to the despair of a little boy, his stuffed toy giraffe, Joshie, was left behind. The boy’s father called the hotel who told him they had found Joshie and would send him back. Consoling his child, the boy’s father said that Joshie was just having an extended vacation. That was when the dad made a special request: would the Ritz Carlton staff take a picture of Joshie by the pool to help corroborate the extended vacation story.

A week later when the boy opened the box with Joshie inside, he found more than one photo. There was a picture of Joshie by the pool, as requested by the father, but there were also pictures of Joshie getting a massage, meeting friends and driving a golf cart. You should read the story from the father’s perspective and check out the photos. They’re dynamite!

Is there a way for you to include those special touches in ways you interact with your customers?

Here are a few examples I’ve gathered from co-workers for inspiration:


Chad Sowers, Sales at GreatAmerica

Customer service can make or break a sale. I experienced this last week while furniture shopping with my wife. We were browsing a local furniture store for a new mattress and had absolutely no intention of buying. We were just tire kicking…until the sales rep came over.  Being a salesperson myself I was on high alert and ready for the usual pushy sales tactics. Boy, was I surprised.

Instead of heavy handed sales pitches, the rep provided great customer service by walking us around the store for 30 minutes and educating us on the various types of mattresses and the pros/cons of each. Not once did he talk about price or financing. He was genuinely interested in helping us make the best choice. Did we buy a mattress that day? No…but we went back the next day and spent way more than we were planning.

Why did we buy? It wasn’t because of price or selection. We made the purchase because of the great customer service. I was so impressed with the sales rep I handed him my card and asked him to take a look at GreatAmerica because we’re always looking for people who can provide exceptional customer service.


Tim Steele, Sales at GreatAmerica

After driving around with a cracked windshield for several weeks, I decided to finally have it repaired. I got a recommendation from a friend and when I arrived they asked if I was paying cash or if insurance was paying for it. I had already decided I didn’t want the hassle of filing a claim, knowing it would cost me more. I didn’t realize how much more until a few minutes later when they offered me the discount they provide for insurance companies and saved me more than $100.

I left there with a clean truck (they vacuumed everything and cleaned all the windows) feeling great about the work they did and the service they provided. It wasn’t more than a week later when I was driving home on the interstate and a rock flew up and chipped my windshield. I immediately called that same company to ask if they could seal it to prevent it from cracking. The woman who greeted me the first time asked what I was doing back, and I explained the freak accident that had just happened. They priced out the fix at $100, but the same guy who gave me the first discount offered me 50% off because he felt bad for me.

I tell everybody about my experience, and we all know the value of a referral.


Laura Homrighausen, Sales at GreatAmerica

I witnessed a great customer experience last fall. GreatAmerica was having our annual partner event, and my customer who was traveling from North Carolina decided to make the trip a little early and visit some sights in the Midwest. They reached out to Kristi Chambers who was arranging travel for them here at GreatAmerica to make sure she could accommodate their travel.

Not only did she help make sure their flights and rental car were lined up, she recommended two routes to get them from Chicago to Cedar Rapids for the upcoming events. In her correspondence Kristi included places to stop and sights to see. The customer even took the time afterwards to thank Kristi and said, “I owe her big time.”


Inspired to put your own stamp on the customer experience? The Ritz Carlton offers these few pieces of advice to those seeking the opportunity to exceed expectations:

Radar On, Antennae Up: You won’t be able to spot a good opportunity to exceed their expectations if you aren’t always on alert.

Greet With Kindness: Give customers a warm greeting and use their name at least once when you are addressing them.

Empower Your Team Members: If the expectation is that they’ll anticipate the customer’s needs, ensure they have the ability to do it. Your team members are creative and need permission, and maybe a few resources to impress your customers.

Great customer service leads to satisfied customers and ultimately they’ll keep coming back to you and spread the word about you.

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About The Author

Brenda Short is the Vice President of Operations for the Unified Communications & IT Group at GreatAmerica. She is responsible for operational processes and oversees the business support functions including credit, documentation, portfolio management and account support for the business segment. Brenda joined GreatAmerica in 1995 and spent her early years serving the Office Equipment Group as a credit analyst and team leader before joining the UC & IT Group in 2011.

  1. culture
  2. customer service
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