Good Customer Service versus Exceptional Customer Service

This past week I had a fascinating experience with a company called Operator.

Operator is a free app I use to purchase a variety of items for both my home and my businesses. It has tremendous functionality and, like I previously mentioned, it’s free to use.

About a week ago, I asked Operator to purchase a new bed for my son, Ben, and have the bed delivered to our house in the Hamptons—a simple enough request, and one I would always have complete confidence in Operator to deliver on.

…Except they didn’t deliver.

Well, they did deliver in the sense they successfully bought the bed, but they didn’t physically deliver it—the bed went to our home in Manhattan instead.

Like any customer, I reached out to Operator’s customer service team to let them know about the problem, and their response was nothing short of spectacular.

They immediately hired a courier (on their dime) to pick up the bed from our home in New York City and drive it out to the Hamptons. Keep in mind that this journey is more than 100 miles door-to-door and that Operator is a free app to use. Within 24 hours of making a mistake, Operator had gone above and beyond to rectify the situation for someone who isn’t even a paying customer.

It was the definition of exceptional customer service…

The type of service that makes a customer feel (strange as it may sound) indebted to the company.

The type of service that turns everyday people into brand ambassadors who want to climb to the highest mountaintops in order to sing the praises of the company.

Even though Operator screwed up, I feel more passionately about them as a brand now than I would have had they just gotten my order right in the first place.

THAT is the impact that exceptional customer service can have on people.

Would I have been fine with “good” customer service?

The kind of service that says, we’re terribly sorry Mr. Meisel, we’ll have that bed picked up from your home in New York, and have a new bed shipped to your house in the Hamptons immediately. It should arrive in the next two to three days?

Sure.

But I wouldn’t have been happy and I certainly wouldn’t be sitting here today, singing the praises of the company.

And that’s why it’s so important to understand the distinction between “good” and “exceptional.” Frankly, it’s night and day, and the difference exceptional customer service can make in improving how customers view and talk about your business cannot be understated.

So be better than good, be exceptional.

-Ari