I love getting customer emails like this.  It gives you a break in your daily routine and lets you interact with your customers on a different level.

I always urge CSR reps to find chances where they can show they are real humans when writing to customers and Chris King from Sainsbury’s definitely accomplished this in his reply to little Lily Robinson.  Not only will Lily be excited to go to Sainsbury’s, but now Lily’s parents and everyone who sees this image will interact with their brand on a more human level thanks to Chris.

The human element is so key when doing customer service.  Sure people may still have some trouble with Sainsbury’s from time to time, but because of the human connection made, they will be a lot easier to forgive when something does go wrong in the future because lets face it, it’s a lot easier to yell at an Unknown entity at a company than it will be to yell at Chris King who took the time out of his day to respond to and make a 3 and a half year old happy.

When working for SunPoker a few years back, I was given the same opportunity to WOW a customer who emailed and then posted on a forum about us.  The title of the Forum post was “Waiting for confirmation that I owned SunPoker“, unfortunately the images are missing but you can see that not only was the original poster happy with the reply to his email that I sent (SunPoker), but it got a ton of support from other forum members and we started to see a big jump in users from this post alone.

Thread: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/54/poker-beats-brags-variance/waiting-confirmation-i-owned-sun-poker-198480/

How many times have you asked support a question, receive an answer, only to wind up having another question that needs to be asked?

When it comes to great support, you should be able get a sense of where the customer is in their thought process and why they have encountered a problem.  Knowing your processes inside and out is where good service can become great service.

If you can understand a customer’s mind frame, you will then be able to understand why they may be confused and then also be able to pin point future problems they may have when using your services.

Good support will set a customer back on track and answer the customers questions, but great customer service will let a customer know how they got off track, educate them on how to get back on track and then guide the customer to the finish line dodging any obstacles they may face throughout the process.

So make a point of using your software or service as if you were a customer and fully test all features, this way when a customer starts to describe their problem to you, you will be able to fully imagine where they are, how they got to where they are and how to get them back on track.


On my way to work, a man carrying a suit case asked me if this metro line goes to Richmond.

There are two trains on our metro, one that goes to the Airport in Richmond (the stop is called YVR) and one that goes into Richmond’s Centre (called Richmond-Brighouse).

The next train to arrive was to Richmond-Brighouse and my initial thoughts was to say “Yes, this train goes to Richmond”.

Luckily, instead of just assuming the guy wanted to go the Richmond Brighouse way, I instead asked him which stop he wanted to go to.

He clarified that he wanted to go to the Richmond Airport.

It is common knowledge to me that Richmond means Richmond-Brighouse but that is because I live in Vancouver, for someone who is not familiar with the city, they have no idea about this slight difference.

This is the same when it comes to a customer.  Because you spend your day going over all the problems that can exist, it is very easy to assume you know exactly what the customer is asking, which can possibly derail their entire experience with you.

If you ask the right questions, you can ensure you don’t send your customer down the wrong path saving your customer a lot of time and aggravation.