Who Doesn’t Want Exceptional Customer Service?

One of the main questions that I’m asked is ‘What makes the customer experience exceptional?’.

There are many standard off the shelf answers which quite frankly are not ‘exceptional’ but more a ‘given right’ in this current age. You know what I mean, you want a smile off the assistant, to be served in a courteous manner, value for money etc, etc, etc. I’m always on the look out for real stories and examples of all types of service, good, bad, indifferent, exceptional as these add real value to the training sessions that I run. I’m pleased to say that I’ve got 2 examples to share with you which have really made me smile :-).

The first story is mine, I was driving down the A1 from the Cairngorms heading back home to Newcastle last week. The drive was going well, the scenery was breath taking as always, the rain had cleared but we were still being buffeted by the cross winds coming in from the North Sea right across the exposed road. I was just driving  towards the beautiful eyesore of the power station at Tranet when the noise came…… you know… when the noise comes from your car and not even the  usual ‘turn the stereo’ up act of denial will not hide the fact that the car is in trouble?

My mind told me that the machine gunner ‘rata tat tat’ coming from the undercarriage of my Ford Focus was just the change in tarmac, you know how it sounds different in some places?

My heart (and passenger) told me to pull over straight away which I did as soon as it was safe. I looked under my car and didn’t really recognise the shiny metal bit that was hanging off the bottom but did realise that it shouldn’t really be a such an angle.

When you’re parked outside a massive power station off the A1 with a shiny metal bit hanging off the bottom of your car, 80 miles from home with as much mechanical knowledge as you’ve got hair on your head (check out the pic on the home page ;-)) there’s only one thing for it…… Google!

I used my fantastic Apple i-phone (shameless plug but I hope to get a free one!) to search for the nearest garage and then send me directions. I decided to try for Berwick upon Tweed which was only 20 miles away, gave my appreciation to all  and made the usual promise that I would be good forever if…… We made it to Berwick with my machine gun Focus terrifying anyone and anything that came past and limped into Greenwoods 24/7 Service Centre.

I have to admit that all my pre-conceptions of garages went through my head at once. They began with ‘Oh my God, my car is dying..’ and went to ‘I’m going to have to re-mortgage, sell a body part, pose nude or do anything to fix it and get home!’ The staff at the garage were brilliant.

Despite all the ramps being full of cars and everyone looking really busy I told the gent on reception of my dilemma and he told me not to worry and went into the garage. When he returned I just about to remove my clothing (I decided selling my place or body parts would be the last option) when he told me that someone was coming straight away to look at my car.

The shiny bit took less than 5 minutes to secure so I could make it back home, when I asked how much I had to pay I was told with a smile, ‘nothing’… I was even waving about my trusty Scottish £10 but was told the same thing… ‘nothing!’

All my fears about not getting home, spending a fortune on my car, the cost of everything in life etc all went with that one gesture. It was lovely when you hear so much about poor service to be on the receiving end of exceptional service. I was in the garage for less than 10 minutes in total and on my way home with a smile on my face.

This is what’s prompted me to write this blog and thoroughly recommend Greenwoods as my preconceptions that ALL  garages want my money have been dispelled.

Now, I’ve also come across an example of poor customer service which has had my sides splitting due to the customer’s response. This example was passed on via a tweet from @SnowSchool.

Please take the time to read all the emails from the store and the customer.. it’s worth it and a prime example of how situations can be avoided or worked out with a little bit of communication and common sense! I’m always on the look out for examples of service so please feel free to comment or send me them via email ( and I’ll make sure they get used in the courses I run.


  1. Say My Name Say My Name | Michael Shane - June 17, 2011

    […] if you’ve read some of my previous blogs then you’ll have noticed that I do like to make a public statement when service has astounded […]

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