A Great Customer Satisfaction Story

Last week, I enjoyed a trip down memory lane with a former coworker.  It is one of my all time favorite stories about a team of people who worked unselfishly to drive customer satisfaction and demonstrates the power of going the extra mile for a customer.

Early in my career, I worked for a large conference and trade show company.  We were helping launch a brand new startup company at one of our largest trade shows at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

The Moscone Center in San Francisco

The Moscone Center after dark, a great photo courtesy of Jeff Jones from March 2011

They invested a large chunk of their annual budget to generate buzz, excitement, and sales leads.    When I was doing a walkthrough with my main contact, her jaw hit the floor.  There was a big problem.  All the signs, banners, collateral – everything had their name listed incorrectly!   While our team had proofed all the collateral, a member of our team looked up their name on their web site and thought they caught a mistake.  However, when they changed it with good intentions, they essentially changed it to another company as their web sites and names were nearly identical.   What a nightmare!

Our team immediately reacted.  We went to their headquarters and met with their CEO.  He was upset but understanding.  We said we would fix it.  He said there is no way we could as the event was less than 48 hours away.  We took the challenge and our team worked night and day to modify the signage, fix everything we could, and design thousands of bright tent cards to insert into the top of the 50 plus page show guides.  Then, the night before the event, our team including the executives, hand glued thousands of these inserts one by one into the show guides.   What happened next is a success story I will never forget.

The show opened and they were the talk of the event.  Their booth was packed.  Their launch party was so well attended that people were spilling out the doors.  Their team was thrilled about the end result and our commitment to delight our customers.   And then, when another customer saw what we had done, they signed a contract to secure that opportunity for future events that year for $35,000.

When I stopped by their launch party, their CEO ran up to me and said that he would never forget what our team did for them.  He never expected a company would put as much effort into helping his team to be as successful as we did and for that he was forever grateful.  He then gave me a big hug as I headed off to a red-eye flight home absolutely exhausted knowing that I owed a lot of great team members drinks for their extraordinary efforts.

The end result of going above and beyond was not only a successful event for his team, but a significant revenue opportunity for our company.   Ten plus years later, both companies were acquired, but the story remains a memorable one after all these years.   And, there is no better way to end a story than to have a happy ending.   Wouldn’t you agree?