Above and Beyond Customer Service

Car damage

Last week my car was hit in the Q. Cumbers restaurant parking lot, and the driver took off. I called the restaurant just after closing time on the off-chance that someone saw or heard something that would help me identify the driver. Imagine my surprise when Erin, the manager, was ready to tell me the whole story.

Erin said she had just stepped outside a minute when she heard the bang of a big old Buick hitting my Civic as it tried to get into a parking place. Erin talked to the driver and asked for her name and number so that she could help make the connection. The woman refused to give it but said she would leave her name and number on my car. The note must have blown off because I never got it.

Erin sounded genuinely upset that I was going to be stuck picking up the repair costs, and then suggested a plan. While she didn’t have the woman’s name or license plate for me, she recognized the person the woman met at the restaurant for dinner. He was a regular customer, well-known to all the staff members in the restaurant. The plan was to wait for the man to come back and then get the information from him.

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Erin called me two days in a row to tell me that the guy hadn’t come back yet, but she made sure her whole team was on the look out. She was coming up on two days off and reminded the other staff members to remember to look for this guy when she was gone.

Five nights later, I got a call from the woman who hit my car. Erin and her team had successfully chased this thing down for me. An hour later I heard these happy words from her insurance company, “We accept full responsibility for the accident.”

When I am doing workshops and seminars on customer service skills I stress the importance of identifying and meeting customer expectations. What I rarely suggest is blowing customers away by going above and beyond their wildest expectations. This is what Erin did. Her actions have given me a new story to tell as I help work teams take their customer service to the next level.

My problem wasn’t her problem. The most I expected from talking to someone at Q. Cumbers was a little sympathy and best wishes on my search for the other driver. Instead they sprang into action to help. They seemed tenacious in their quest to find the person, and ultimately were successful.

Erin even called one last time just to make sure the other driver followed through and contacted me as promised. And in case it hadn’t happened, she said she had the man’s license plate, so I’d have something to chase if necessary.

I’ve been eating at Q. Cumbers for years with no particular connection to the place, but after Erin’s efforts on my behalf, I have a whole new feeling and sense of loyalty about this restaurant.

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce helps companies change by creating stronger teams, more effective leaders, and better processes. To discuss a challenge you're facing, use this link to schedule a free discovery call.

1 comment

  1. Tom- what a great story! As the owner of a mystery shopping company, we love to hear stories where company associates have gone above and beyond the call of duty. When this happens, it creates customers for life. When we conduct customer service training for companies, we always encourage employees to “own the problem” until it’s fixed and we always encourage them to “do the right thing.” Looks like the manager of Q. Cumbers did both! Thanks for sharing the story!

    Angela Megasko, Pres.
    Market Viewpoint, LLC

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