CX Excellence – Southwest Airlines, Delta, Jet Blue, British Airway and Virgin

After all the negative publicity the Airline sector has received lately, we have decided to put together a collection of some of the great airline experiences. These should get you smiling like a doctor with a new set of front teeth.


Cpt. Brandner to the rescue

When a plane was left stranded in its holding bay for several hours due to thunderstorms, the pilot, Captain Brandner could have stayed quiet and left his passengers to sit tight. Instead he picked up his phone and ordered 50 pizzas with his own card. When he made the announcement that the pizzas were coming, the whole plane applauded (The only time it should be acceptable to applaud on a plane!).

When asked why he decided to do all this, he says he felt it was his duty.
“If the need arises you need to take care of your family; you need to take care of your passengers. They are my responsibility the moment they step on the aircraft until they get off the aircraft,” Captain Brandner said.

Insight: Captain Brandner is the pilot everybody wishes they had on their flight. He has proven that he takes an empathetic approach to dealing with his passengers and has even referred to them as ‘Family’. Empathy is more than just seeing the world from the customers’ perspective. It is having the emotional intelligence to choose the right emotional response from a range of potential emotions to improve things for the customer.



Delta CEO steps out of his comfort zone for a customer

Jesse Frank was the eighth passenger on a standby list for a delayed flight, showing zero seats available. She was desperate to get home to see her daughter. After 7 names were called, Jesse’s was finally announced. She was greeted by a ‘familiar faced’ man in collared shirt and tie, who placed her carry-on luggage in an overhead compartment and pointed her in the direction of her seat; she didn’t give it a second thought. She assumed he must have been an off-duty pilot she had flown with before. Little did she know, that man was the CEO of delta Airlines who had just given up his seat for a customer. 

She didn’t realise this until an air hostess announced that “a ‘special guest’ was sitting in the jump seat of the cockpit – the CEO of Delta Airlines”. Jesse was so amazed by the kind act that she left an open letter to him on the Delta Facebook page.

Insight: Delta’s CEO was putting himself in his customer’s shoes by flying on a standard flight and even experienced a delay that wouldn’t normally come his way, had he been flying on a private jet.
The fact that he gave up the comfort of his seat to sit in a cramped cockpit shows how much he truly cares about his customers.



How to get passengers to greet a crying baby with a smile

What’s worse than sitting next to a crying baby on a long flight? Being the parent holding the crying
baby! You know you’re responsible for everyone else’s misery, and there’s often very little you can
do to fix it. For Mother’s Day, JetBlue decided to turn this frequent frustration on its head by actually
rewarding passengers when babies cry. JetBlue offered a 25% discount to passengers on a flight from JFK to Long Beach each time a baby started crying. That meant if four babies cried, all
passengers would get a free round-trip ticket for their next JetBlue flight.

Insight: This is a brilliant resolution to an unavoidable hindrance for passengers. And shows great empathy towards the dreading mothers, who are stresses about being in a small space surrounded by angry people.



British Airways pilot turns a bad experience into a great one

A BA pilot stepped out of his comfort zone (Cockpit) to face a cabin full of restless passengers who had faced lengthy delays due to fog. The announcement was that the passengers would have to disembark because of a flat tyre on the plane. This could have been made over the intercom, but the pilot felt it would be a much more humane way to break the bad news while standing front and centre at the top of the cabin. He was honest, and let his passengers know exactly what was to happen and how long it would take. And because of this, there was a much warmer response than usual from his passengers.

Insight: One of the biggest issues customers have with airlines is the lack of clear communication with them. Be it T’s & C’s for an overbooked flight or reasons for delayed or cancelled flights. Customers always seem to get the bare minimum of information required. When things are out of an airlines control the best thing to do is to explain exactly what is happening and manage the customers’ expectations by telling them what is going to happen as a result.



Richard Branson chimes in on the airlines controversy

Virgin Group CEO and founder, Richard Branson recently gave his thoughts on the recent airline controversy. In his article he writes “customers deserve innovation, they deserve respect, and they deserve an amazing experience. They do not deserve to be treated like numbers on a balance sheet, and cattle in a cabin.”

If this is the mentality coming from the very top of the company then you can guarantee it will be followed throughout all of Virgin Group’s products. We wrote in an article last month that the Airline industry needs to learn from its leaders. And Virgin is definitely setting the standard at the top.

It’s quite clear that the customer’s tolerance levels have reached breaking point with the airline industry. And it’s time the brands with the spotlight shone on them prove they care, or face losing their loyal customers.


We are always looking for examples of CX Excellence. If you have any yourself please send them on to us and we will feature it in our blog.

If you would like to explore how your company can activate CX excellence, e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.

CX Excellence – Credit Union, Crown Plaza Hotel, Kimpton Hotel and Tesco

One of the best ways of explaining how CX works is by giving real life examples of Customer Experience Excellence. We have found genuine customer stories and shared insights into how these bring to life the Six Pillars in our CX framework.

The Six Pillars are based on creating emotional connections with customers and include Personalisation, Integrity, Empathy, Time & Effort, Expectations and Resolution.

Credit Unions give you a hug, while banks give you an interview

Saragh, received a call last week from John – her Credit Union branch manager. John informed Saragh that a loan payment was overdue and they might have to put a black mark beside her name – effecting her credit score and ability to get future loans or a mortgage. Saragh apologised and told John that she was due to be paid at the end of the month and will be able to pay off the outstanding amount. She also promised to set up a standing order. John very kindly told Saragh not to worry and that all she needs to do is pop a cheque through their letter box or come in on a Saturday as they are open.

Saragh told us that the phone call felt like a chat with a friend and at no point did she ever feel stressed. John has managed Saragh’s account since day one and has built a strong relationship with her. John knows that Saragh can be relied upon to keep her promise. He also knew that Saragh is in her mid-20s and a black mark beside her name could lead to all sorts of trouble when she may need a mortgage or future loan.

For the second year in a row The Credit Union were the highest scoring brand in our Customer Experience report. This is due to their remarkable scores in both Empathy and Personalisation. The way John handled the above experience shows us exactly why the Credit Union is excelling in these pillars.

CX isn’t just for big businesses

Chris Portfolio
Chris is an abstract artist with a passion for ‘wowing’ his customers.

Using handmade, curved canvasses and frames he paints to the music his customers request. Much like the image on a tattoo, Chris’ artwork will always have a personal attachment to the customer and he has found himself bonding emotionally with each customer while working with them.

One of Chris’ customers recently lost her brother in a terrible car accident. She asked Chris if he could design a butterfly canvass and if she recorded a song for him to paint to. Chris obliged and ended up visiting a recording studio to watch Denise and her husband record their own version of “Dancing in the Sky”. They took the recording back to Chris’ studio and created a living memory of Denise’s brother in this unique painting.

Over the course of the project, Denise and Chris had four face to face meetings and over 1,000 Facebook messages regarding the project. Chris put several projects on hold to see this one out as it had such importance to Denise and he felt it required his full attention.

A few weeks after completing the painting, Chris received the most wonderful thank you card saying: “You will never know how you helped through the darkest time of my life and now I have a smile and most prized possession in my Kitchen”

On a KPMGNunwood questionnaire on Empathy, respondents talk about staff members showing they care in three different ways:

  • Pays ‘special’ attention to me
  • Goes out of his/her way
  • Gave me something extra that I might not expect but will appreciate

Empathy is a way of addressing other people’s feelings in a way that helps them feel good about themselves – and feel good about you.

Chris is able to tick each of the above boxes in what he does with his customers and his business has boomed because of it.

Chris’ profession may allow him to spend more time on each of his customers, but there is still a lesson to be learned for small businesses. SMEs have a significant advantage over larger businesses when it comes to delivering CX Excellence. large businesses have to pass decisions through silos and board members, potentially taking months. Small businesses can be agile and make decisions based on the customers best interest, instantly.

If you would like to learn more about Chris’ work you can visit his page here

Driving the extra mile for a guest

Hotel Concierge
Von works as a Concierge Officer for Crown Plaza Hotel and prides himself in going above and beyond for his customers

Last month, Von was approached by a customer with a question about the nearest petrol station. He was low on fuel and didn’t think he would make it. Read his story below.

“I arrived at the hotel last week with my petrol tank on red due to missing the previous petrol station. As I had an early morning meeting, I had hoped that I would have passed a petrol station on the way to the hotel. After speaking to the concierge, I discovered that the nearest place for fuel was some distance away, and I certainly did not have enough fuel to get there. When I explained my challenge to him, he immediately took control, and organized for a driver to go and get me petrol. When the petrol arrived they dealt with filling my car. This was all done as I was in my room relaxing. Crown Plaza Concierge Von, thank you for going to the extra mile; very much appreciated. I am not sure how many hotels would have helped as much as you did. Thank you.”

The pillar of ‘Time and Effort’ is often one of the highest-scoring for some of Ireland’s most successful brands. Similarly, it is one that customers attach a particularly high value to. Time is regarded as a precious asset, and one that many people wish to protect at all costs.  Removing unnecessary obstacles, impediments and bureaucracy to enable the customer to achieve their objectives quickly and easily have been shown to increase loyalty.

Exceeding expectations is a proven way to increase loyalty

Bedside frame  kimpton

Mark recently tweeted Kimpton Hotel to thank them for the wonderful experience they gave him and his wife.

Mark landed a role in a new company, having left his previous job due to restructuring. The only downside meant having to commute to Chicago, 2,000 miles away from his home in Los Angeles.

Mark is a member of the Kimpton Hotel Karma club and went online to book a stay at the local hotel with his wife, not too far from his home in California.

After making the initial reservation, he received a letter from a member of staff at the hotel. The letter asked about his reason for staying (business or pleasure) and if he had any requirements from the hotel. Mark wrote back to let the hotel know that he would be visiting with his wife for a weekend getaway. He also shared an image of himself and his wife from the last time they visited their hotel.

Upon arriving, they were told that their room had been upgraded. They were given a beautiful room with a view of the Hollywood hills. And to their delight, the image Mark sent was sitting on their bedside table, framed beside a personalised welcoming note. His wife was almost in tears at the gesture! Having been through a difficult few weeks with all the moving around, she could finally relax and put her worries to the side.

Mark said: “Kimpton never ceases to impress me. From goldfish you can “adopt” during your stay, to yoga mats in the closet and a fitness channel on the television. Nearly every property has a signature amenity and you can bet that I will take advantage of every one.”

It is widely accepted that exceeding customer expectations is key to customer satisfaction, delight, and loyalty. Accordingly, it is critical for organisations to try to find out in advance what their customers’ expectations are, because a failure to meet or exceed those expectations could lead to dissatisfaction and defection.

Being a Karma Club member at Kimpton, Mark had his expectations for how his experience would play out. Kimpton didn’t just meet these expectations, they exceeded them.

This experience lead to mark writing a note thanking Kimpton on Twitter, to be seen by a number of his large following.


An unexpected delivery


Upon the recommendation of a colleague I decided to give Tesco online shopping a go. I hadn’t given it much thought before and I felt that maybe it was for people who were doing giant amounts of shopping.

After I registered which was simple enough (I couldn’t find my address, but after a two minute phone call it was easily sorted), I started my first online shopping experience. It was so easy to navigate and for me I loved that you can see a picture of the product so you’re sure that’s what you’re getting. The system really works hard to bring it to your attention if you’ve missed an offer e.g. two for one. I thought that was really nice, and you still see very clearly highlighted all the offers that you would see when in-store. With my feet up and a cup of tea in hand, I did my weekly shop. I just wish I’d done it sooner!

While the experience was a really good one, the biggest highlight for me was the delivery men. They arrived within the delivery slot I’d booked and they carried the two crates of shopping into our home and unpacked the shopping before taking the crates away. While doing that, they were full of enthusiasm, giving us a few tips on how this all works, and their energy and helpfulness really impressed us.

I thought this might have been a once-off but every time since, the delivery men have been exactly the same in terms of energy and helpfulness. The odd time when something goes wrong, they’ve bent over backwards to help me. I’ve never had the same drivers but the type of people have been consistent every time.

Expectations is by far the lowest pillar score in the 2015 and 2016 Ireland Customer Experience Report. In Ireland we are terrible at managing and exceeding expectations. We tend to over promise and under deliver.  Brands leap ahead with messages that don’t quite match the experience, leading to expectations not being met. HR plays an integral role in customer experience excellence. Hiring the right staff is key – after all, they are the ones who interact with your customers the most, which means they have a direct impact on the brand’s customer experience. Tesco’s approach to hiring a certain type of driver allows them to exceed customer expectations. I would never have expected the delivery men to be more than just men who deliver.

Expectations are always changing and can be difficult to excel in. The Tesco delivery men gave me a far better experience than the regular in-store staff! The in-store staff are very good, but that’s the challenge of expectations and perhaps why Irish brands struggle to achieve good results. I would expect the in-store staff to be good as they are trained regularly and it’s therefore difficult to exceed them. With the delivery staff, my expectations were much lower and were far exceeded.

Hats off to Tesco!

We are always looking for examples of CX Excellence. If you have any yourself please send it on to us and we will feature it in our blog.

If you would like to explore how your company can activate CX excellence, e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.

CX Excellence – Aviva, Feeleys Chipper, Jack Threads and

One of the best ways of explaining how CX works is by giving real life examples of customer experience excellence. We have found genuine customer stories and shared insights into how these bring to life the Six Pillars in our CX framework.

The Six Pillars are based on creating emotional connections with customers and include Personalisation, Integrity, Empathy, Time & Effort, Expectations and Resolution.

An insurance renewal to remember



Renewing car insurance can be extremely frustrating with customers feeling duty bound to shop around to get a better deal. ‘Muireann’, an Aviva customer, had been calling around to compare prices. When she called Aviva to discuss her renewal, the customer service agent blew her away.

The Aviva agent noticed Muireann’s name and began speaking to her in Irish. Thinking it was just a little small talk, she threw out a few Irish phrases but the agent continued talking about her car insurance. She was a little embarrassed at first, not having spoken Irish regularly since school and was worried it wouldn’t be good enough to continue an insurance renewal call ‘As Gaeilge’.  The agent was extremely patient and more than willing to prompt her with any words she didn’t know and eventually they were able to complete the call speaking Irish.

The feeling of joy and pride when she completed the call hit the roof. This was a task that Muireann never expected to enjoy and it left her with a big smile on her face. Muireann has since gone out of her way to talk to friends and family about the experience and is writing to Aviva to thank the amazing customer service agent for the experience he gave her.

Insight: The insurance sector remained at the bottom of the rankings in this year’s CXi report. This sector’s continued focus on acquisition at the peril of retention gives it one of the highest churn rates. Stories like this however, show that Aviva are genuinely investing in the right staff and are focussed on bucking the trend. What a great example of combining Personalisation and Empathy.

Belfast Chipper comes to sick customers aid


Feeleys Chippy

We’ve all seen the comments field when ordering food online. Usually it’s to tell the restaurant to add extra ketchup, or to let the delivery person know to phone on arrival as the doorbell is broken. One customer of Belfast fish and chip shop ‘Feeley’s’ had a very unusual request on her online order.

The chipper on the Shaws Road in West Belfast was surprised when an order marked ASAP came in on December 30 – complete with a request to pick up some flu medicine en route and send it along with the food.

In fact it seems the customer wasn’t even hungry. All she wanted was a box of cold and flu medicine and was too sick to go to her local pharmacy to pick it up.

Along with her order, she had added: “Will you please stop in Spar on the way and pick up some cold and flu tablets and I’ll give you the money, only ordering food so I can get the tablets. I’m dying sick xx”

The Feeley’s deliveryman kindly obliged and picked up the medicine.

The customer then commented on Feeley’s Facebook and thanked them for helping her out in her hour of need.

Tablets Feeleys Chippy

This is a remarkable example of a business going above and beyond to exceed their customer’s Expectations.

Insight: Customers have needs and they also have expectations about how these needs will be delivered. Customer satisfaction is the difference between Expectation and actual delivery. Understanding, delivering and, if possible, exceeding expectations is a key skill of great organisations.

How Bob the waiter got a 200,000% tip


Restaurant check

“John” was looking forward to celebrating being able to chew again after a root canal treatment by visiting a local restaurant with his wife. Things didn’t turn out quite as they expected!.They had a long wait after arriving and were eventually seated at the bar beside a noisy blender used for crushing ice – not the best start. Their waiter Bob then hurriedly took their drink orders without asking if they wanted food, which they did. Eventually they did get their food orders taken but the sides ended up being brought out before the meal and one of their orders was wrong. Bob the waiter admitted he was in the wrong and apologised.

The rest of their meal arrived shortly after and it was an otherwise pleasant experience… until the bill arrived. The couple noticed that the price for their full meal and drinks came to one cent. Assuming this was another mistake they showed Bob the bill and asked him how much they needed to pay. But Bob told them there was no mistake and instead apologised for the poor experience they received, Delighted, the couple tipped Bob $20.00 and then spent the trip home trying to figure out what % tip they gave him, realising it was 200,000%!

Insight: Discounts are so often used as last-ditch attempts to salvage a terrible experience that we sometimes forget how powerful they can be in turning a poor experience into a great one.

Restaurateur Danny Meyer, whose restaurants have consistently beaten the odds in a very rough industry, talks about hospitality in terms of good vs. great. With a ‘good’ experience things may go fine. You may get everything you wanted precisely the way you ordered it. But it’s rare for an employee to make you feel special, like they’re on your side. That’s what Bob did here by recognising that his customer’s weren’t having their expected experience and gave them a powerful dollop of Resolution delivered brilliantly.

Jack Threads & Jill

A customer service agent named Jill worked for an online clothes retailer called ‘Jack Threads’. Jill managed to turn a regular online customer service interaction into a ‘Remark-able’ customer experience and turned the customer into an advocate in the process.

Here is a screen grab of the experience in question

Jack Threads customer service conversation
Insight: Jack Threads empower their staff to resolve issues by making their own decisions. With this freedom Jill was able to resolve her customers issue quickly and hassle free. She was also able to create a personal connection with the customer which isn’t always easy to do, particularly online. Being able to do this is a proven way to create loyal customers who wouldn’t hesitate to sell on your businesses behalf. Adding an authentic personality is a great empowerment strategy and pays off in spades.


The aloha bear



It’s always nice to see ‘Remark-able’ experience recognised by a happy customer. In this heart-warming story, a service agent, ‘Jessica’, helped the query of an older customer, ‘Sharon’. Sharon called in because her laptop wasn’t working. Having recently suffered two strokes, Sharon explained that she was struggling with writing, and was forced to call in.

Jessica initially explained to Sharon that customers normally send in faulty items for inspection and repairs. Sharon grew teary over the news, explaining that she was dependent on the laptop to communicate with her daughter who lived miles away in Hawaii.

Knowing that red tape shouldn’t stop her from taking care of a customer in need, Jessica quickly exchanged the laptop for her (sending her a new one), and even spent the extra time helping her set up the old passwords and account names, in addition to re-downloading Skype so she could talk with her family.

What really makes this a great story, however, is the follow-up. Out of the blue a few months later, our heroic service agent was called down to reception. To her surprise, waiting there was Sharon, holding a card and a teddy bear with a hula skirt.

Jessica was overjoyed saying: “Sharon told me that what I did meant so much to her and her family that she called our corporate office and told them what I did. Her daughter even sent up a thank you card and bear from Hawaii and Sharon insisted on hand delivering it”.

Insight: The Empathy Pillar is measured by a business’s understanding of their customer’s needs. Delivering on this pillar is key to establishing strong relationships with your customers. In this case the Time & Effort pillar was also employed by removing unnecessary hurdles in doing business with the company.

We are always looking for examples of CX Excellence. If you have any yourself please send it on to us and we will feature it in our blog.

If you would like to explore how your company can activate CX excellence, e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.

CX Excellence – GAP, Jet Blue, Spirit Motors and McDonalds,

When your business offers world-class CX, customers come back for more. But more importantly, they tell others about you. They tell their family. They tell their friends. And – thanks to digital – they tell the world.

Below are real life examples of Customer Experience excellence, told by the customers themselves.

A shopping trip with an enormous ‘Wow’!

 Gap yoke

Susannah, a customer in Dundrum shopping centre recently went into a Gap store while on a mission to buy a winter coat. Here is her account of a remarkable experience she had.

“I’d looked in many shops and suddenly there it was, ‘the one’. It was perfect. I did have to consider it for a moment as the cost was slightly higher than I’d planned to pay, but it was ‘the one’. So off I went to the till to seal the deal.

The lady serving asked me “Did you receive your pick a prize card yet” and when I told her I had not, she fanned out lots of little cards and encouraged me to choose one.  I chose one, tore it open and it revealed a snowflake symbol, so I handed it back to the cashier. “Oh wow, you’ve won 50% off!” she told me very excitedly. BOOM! I couldn’t believe it. I was so surprised. There was no hidden twist, no requirement for me to give my data or a kidney in return. It was an unconditional gift to me from Gap, and it was a ‘remark-able’ Customer Experience. I was literally beaming as I walked out of the store.

I told anyone who would listen about my experience with Gap. That’s how powerful brilliant customer experience can be. Bravo Gap and thank you for my unexpected half price coat!”

Gap managed to address ‘Expectations’ in such a powerful way. We all have expectations of brands and a very common mistake brands make is over promising and under delivering e.g. the advertising promise not matching the customer experience, so naturally customer’s expectations are not met. Brands should focus their efforts on delivering ‘remark-able’ customer experiences before they tell us how great they are. I think Gap’s customer experience certainly matches their brand promise which you can view here.

Chief people officer prevents the blues with Jet Blue


Jet Blue Chief people office

This story was shared by the Consumerist blog. Below is a Jet Blue customer’s account of a brilliant resolution to an unavoidable issue.

“I got an e-mail from JetBlue saying I should get to the airport two hours early on my return flight because they are overhauling their computer system and staff will need time to adjust to the changes. I got to the airport (Orlando International) two hours early and stood in line. Predictably, it was moving slowly. It was made a little better by the rep handing out free water bottles to people in line. That was a nice touch. But then this happened…

A Jet Blue staff member came over and made an announcement to the people in line. He was giving away free tickets to anywhere JetBlue flies. The first free tickets would go to anyone who had their birthday on that day. Then he moved on to trivia – free tickets for anyone who knows JetBlue’s original destinations. I didn’t hear the answer, because at this point I made it through the line and was headed towards the gate, but I heard applause as I walked away. This was applause from people who had to get to the airport two hours early on a Sunday morning because of airline adjustments.

It turned out that the same JetBlue guy was on my flight to JFK. He stood up midway through the flight and announced that he had more free tickets to give away. He asked a bunch of standard trivia questions (“Name all seven dwarfs”) and some were pretty much guessing games (“How old would you guess your flight attendant Juan is?”). I’d say he gave out about a dozen free flights in total! He seemed to really enjoy it.

I spoke with him afterwards, as he walked down the aisle asking if people had any comments about JetBlue. I learned that his name is Dave Clark, and he’s JetBlue’s Chief People Officer.”

This is another example of why Jet Blue is a world leader in resolution. They plan out their customers’ journey from beginning to end and when something unavoidable like a system upgrade can potentially cause long delays, they make sure their customers are informed and there are measures in place to make up for the delays.

Spirit Motors; leading by example with heroic Resolution.

spirit motors

John, a customer of Spirit Motor Group, one of Ireland’s top auto brands, recently brought his car in for repair. Below he shares a great example of how a poor experience was turned into a ‘remark-able’ one.

“Last week I dropped my car off in Sandyford and returned later that day to find that the car hadn’t been touched. I sought an explanation and they sincerely apologised and we agreed that I would come back the following day, which I did.

When I arrived the next day I was told they had to order in a new part and it would arrive later that day. I again left the car with the service team and returned later that day. This time I was told that they were sent the wrong part and would have to return the following day once more. At this point I was fed up and took the car home to deal with the issue myself.”

For many businesses, an experience like this would be the end of a relationship. But Spirit didn’t let that happen. They recognised John as an important customer and not only resolved the issue, but actually turned him into a powerful advocate.

“The following day a serviceman took the Luas to my office in Dublin City Centre (with the elusive part in hand). He apologised on behalf of everybody in Spirit and told me the replacement would cost me nothing. He replaced the part in my office car park. I was blown away, and hugely relieved at not having to replace the part myself. This is how you resolve a problem brilliantly!”

Businesses should accept that they are going to make a mistake sometimes. Customers expect it from time to time as well. It’s what they do to resolve the issue that stays with the customer for ever. Great job Spirit Motors!


An incredible act of kindness from a McDonald’s cashier.

Palermo, Buenos Aires

This story was shared by Destiny Carreno, who observed something remarkable in her local McDonalds restaurant. This is her account of what happened after she watched an elderly man in a wheelchair approach a cashier during a busy hour.

“The man politely tried to ask the cashier something and it took him a few tries before he could understand what he was saying “Help me please”. The cashier didn’t seem to know what help he needed, and suggested a few things before he finally figured out the gentleman was asking for help eating his meal.

To be honest, I thought the cashier wasn’t going to help, especially during rush hour in downtown Chicago, but to my shock, he shut down his register and disappeared from view…

This wasn’t to get away from helping him, but to wash his hands and put gloves on! The cashier came out from the kitchen, wheeled the gentleman to a table, sat down opposite him, and began cutting the man’s meal.

This employee, who put everything on hold for this man, went above and beyond his responsibilities to help this customer in need. That was the kindest and most humble thing I had ever seen.”


We are always looking for real world examples of CX Excellence. If you have any yourself please send them on to us and we will feature it in our blog.

If you would like to explore how your company can activate CX excellence, e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.



CX Excellence – Zappos, LUSH, CVS Pharmacy and Credit Union

Five more examples of CX Excellence

When your business offers world-class CX, customers come back for more. But more importantly, they tell others about you. They tell their family. They tell their friends. And – thanks to digital – they tell the world.

Below are real life examples of customer experience excellence, told by the customers themselves.


A remarkable gesture from Zappos

Dialogue have been tracking Zappos’ CX Excellence for many years. Here is another classic!

A Zappos customer meant to return shoes she had bought for her mom before she had passed away and naturally didn’t have time. Below is the customers take on how the situation was dealt with by Zappos.

“When I came home, I had an email from Zappos asking about the shoes, since they hadn’t received them. I was just back and not ready to deal with that, so I replied that my mom had died but that I’d send the shoes as soon as I could. They emailed back that they had arranged with UPS to pick up the shoes, so I wouldn’t have to take the time to do it myself. I was so touched. That’s going against corporate policy.

Yesterday, when I came home from town, a florist delivery man was just leaving. It was a beautiful arrangement in a basket with white lilies and roses and carnations. I opened the card, and it was from Zappos. I burst into tears. I’m a sucker for kindness, and if that isn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever had happen to me, I don’t know what is.”

The world’s top performers in CX score very highly on empathy with their customers, which is something you can’t buy or recreate through advertising. Zappos clearly get this with this amazing gesture of kindness. And have kept a customer for life as a result



lush example

Sometimes all your customer needs is a cup of tea and a chat

Lush’s workforce are trained to deliver great customer service, the company empowers its employees to go the extra mile for customers.

LUSH gives employees the freedom to make decisions in the spur of the moment, go off script and do what they feel is the right thing for the customer. As a result, empowered employees take pride and ownership of their jobs when they know they can exercise independent judgement.

“We recently had a customer who had just lost their job and visited LUSH to be cheered up. Our team approached her, sat her down in the store and offered her tea. We then started looking for products that would uplift the customer’s spirit, while listening to her story.” – LUSH team

Lush may be one of the bigger brands in the UK and Ireland, but they started off as a single shop and had to work their way to the top. And without CX in their philosophy they would be nowhere near where they are now.



CVS Samaritans save the day

Customers are time poor and increasingly are looking for instant gratification. Removing unnecessary obstacles, impediments and bureaucracy to enable the customer to achieve their objectives quickly and easily have been shown to increase loyalty. CVS pharmacy has been running a ‘good Samaritan’ programme for over 30 years! Here is a customer’s take on an unexpected experience with them.

“On Friday night around 5:30 I got a flat tire on a very busy Washington DC area highway. I know I should know how to change a flat tire, but I have roadside assistance through my insurance and warranty so I never worried about it. I called my husband who works on the other side of town and he said he’d try to come over instead of having to use roadside assistance, which would probably take even longer.

I waited for about 5 minutes when a CVS Good Samaritan van pulled up. The gentleman, Ernie introduced himself and got right down to business to put on my spare. He even apologized for being tied up with another driver farther back. He told me I could call my husband and tell him not to worry. 5 minutes later my tire was fixed and I was on my way. CVS only asks that you fill out a postage paid comment card. Because of this service I will definitely be shopping at CVS more often. Thanks to CVS and to Ernie, who helped me out of a jam on Southbound 395.”

shutterstock_356694092 tie

Target employee gives interview advice

KPMG Nunwood say that “Empathy is the art of letting the customer know that you can genuinely understand what it is like to be in their shoes.” We couldn’t find a better example of this than a target Employee helping a nervous customer prepare for a job interview.

“In Target at Triangle Town Center. A kid came in looking for a clip-on tie for a job interview this afternoon. The store only had regular ties, so this awesome Target team member took the time to help the nervous teen put on his new tie, tuck in his shirt and then showed him how to give a proper handshake and tackle a few tough interview questions! As the kid exited the store, a bunch of supportive Target team members cheered him on! THIS is true Customer Experience – Right on the mark, Target!!”

South america example

An Irish financial institution that treats you like a family member.

Consumers crave a more personalised experience from their bank. Banks are fixated about advanced capabilities in e-mail and digital personalisation today. While they have buckets of customer data, they continue to struggle to stitch basic customer data together. First you have to know your customer before you can customise something for them. Making life simple for customers should be a priority for all banks. Forget about in-house cafes, free Wi-Fi and nappy changing berths.  Banks need to get engaged and treat their customers like a member of their family.

Below is a father’s take on co-signing a loan with his daughter in their local Credit Union. Proving why they are Ireland’s leading financial institution and overall brand in Ireland’s 2015 Customer Experience report

 “I was asked to co-sign a loan on behalf of my daughter who was taking a trip of a life time across South America. Upon arriving at Ranelagh Credit Union, I was greeted by the Manager. ‘’You must be Saragh’s father. She just called me to tell me she is running 3 minutes late. Would you like a coffee and I’ll get you started on the papers ‘’. When Saragh arrived, the paperwork was completed in minutes. Before I left, another member of staff greeted Saragh like a friend and handed her a list of great attractions she had visited on a similar trip before. It felt like I had walked into a family gathering. Everyone was excited for her and seemed to genuinely care about her safety.”

Dialogue is delivering Ireland’s first Customer Experience Masterclass in Trinity college on the 7th September.

Our readers can avail of a €20 discount by entering the discount code EARLY16 on the CX Masterclass page.

We would love to see you there

CX Excellence – Visa, Freestyle Libre, Boots, Zara and KFC

5 more examples of best in class CX

A smart approach to Time & Effort

smart ring

Visa have been given exclusivity for payment during the Olympics in Rio at official venues. They’re using this opportunity to introduce their newest payment method ‘The Payment Ring’ by giving one to each athlete to use during their stay. They simply need to wave their hand over a wireless card reader and it will make the transaction.

If this receives a positive reception, the Smart ring idea should definitely catch on.

The Visa payment ring could be the game changer as a new quick payment method, allowing customers to make purchases without even taking out their wallet.

Removing unnecessary obstacles to enable the customer to achieve their objectives quickly and easily has been proven to increase loyalty. Time & Effort must form a crucial part of any brands CX strategy, as focus on this key pillar has been proven to increase customer loyalty.

Find out more Here


Diabetes, without the blood
freestyle Libre

Empathy is about responding deeply to each customer’s immediate circumstances. Freestyle Libre have shown this by changing the way diabetics check their glucose levels. The current daily routine involves taking a blood reading at set times during the day. With this new piece of tech, diabetics can now get on demand glucose readings and view trends in their blood levels.

Freestyle Libre are saving parents a large struggle by making blood level reads simple for their kids.

All that is required is a single pin prick attached to a reader on the users arm once every 14 days, and they will have on demand access to their glucose levels.

This product is definitely made by diabetics, for diabetics as it takes a new empathetic approach to a daily routine in the life of someone with this disease.

When businesses speak about building ‘brand loyalty’ and ‘brand relationships’, it is empathy that remains a key factor to making these objectives achievable.

Find out more here

Boots personalised experience shows why they are on top


Boots introduced a new app called the ‘Sales Assist’ which is the first of its kind in the retail sector. Its sole purpose is to make their customers purchasing as easy as possible. The app gives customers access to its 2,500+ stores inventories, allowing them to make recommendations and check product availability. And if what they want isn’t currently available, they can order it and pick it up at their nearest boots retailer. One of the apps key features is its ability to learn about its user through their purchase and viewing history. With the data, the app can personalise all recommendations and offers to the user’s preferences.

Boots’ app makes it easier for customers to get hold of the products they need, so this is another example of ‘Time & Effort’ Excellence. It also offers very relevant product recommendations depending on customers’ interest so that’s another key pillar; ‘Personalisation’ addressed. Boots featured in the top 10 of Ireland’s 2015 CX table and are showing no signs of slowing down their sector topping CX.

Find out more here

Zara disrupting the retail sector with self service


Zara are looking to change the checkout process in the retail world. Will it be a success or a failure?

On the one hand, introducing a self-checkout system in their stores allows their staff to focus on more important things like customer facing jobs and stock taking. But on the other, it takes the friendly face out of making a purchase and could be a negative factor in shop choice for the non tech savvy, or for someone who would rather a human make their transaction for them.

It’s no secret that there is an issue with line times at Zara shops. This could be due to their laid back staff or their lack of tills. Zara are leading the curve to solve this issue and it shouldn’t be long before we see other retail brands follow suit.

It’s up for debate on how self-service in the retail space will be viewed, but there is no argument to the time and effort benefits for both Zara and its customers. Lines will move faster from lack of human error and customer focus on shop floors will rightly become priority.

Find out more here

KFC prevent the low battery panic

wattabox blog

A few weeks ago we talked about Chick fill A’s ‘Phone Coops. Well, KFC in India have taken a different approach to phones by giving their customers a portable charger. The ‘Watt A Box’ has the power to charge two phones to full and doesn’t cost any extra to the meal deals. If the idea catches on we can definitely see it spreading to chain’s across the world just like it did with the phone coops.

The ‘Watt A Box’ is a great amplifier for KFC and because it can be taken out of the box and recharged for personal use and means that customers will be using it even after they leave the building. KFC have stepped into their customers shoes with this, understanding that mobile phones are an important part of their customer’s lives. The ‘Watt A Box’ isn’t just a nice addition to a value meal but something that can allow customers to take their time and enjoy their meal without panicking about a low battery.


Find out more here


If you would like to explore how your company can activate CX excellence e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.

Or call Michael directly at +353 1 6622277 

CX Excellence – Contours, Apple, Zappos and the cast of StarWars

5 more examples of best in class CX

Stroll a mile in your babies buggy

contours adult buggy


Empathy is the art of letting the customer know that you genuinely understand what it is like to be in their shoes. Contours really demonstrated their understanding of this when they designed an adult sized buggy for one of their most popular selling models.

This allowed parent’s to actually experience what it’s like to be pushed around in a buggy from their child’s perspective. This isn’t just a fun idea for a viral video, but is actually an empathetic solution to a purchasing decision. Normally the factors involved in buying a buggy would revolve around ease of use for the parent, i.e. maneuverability, storage and folding. Now they can put their child’s comfort first.

Find out more Here

Apple take their in-store experience to the next level


Over the past few years Apple noticed their sales falling. This is due to strong competition and because people are holding onto their gadgets longer than before. With this in mind, Apple are designing their new stores to keep customers coming back. Each room is designed to be a different environment, aimed to feel like a town square. It is a place for customers to enjoy their Apple products and hopefully convince them to stick with Apple when the time eventually does come to upgrade. As these stores aren’t exclusive to Apple users, they should convince people who are on the fence about switching over to make the decision. This is a great example of how to keep customers loyal by delighting them with an experience they’re not expecting. Apple as always, are disrupting the market. Expect others to follow.

Find out more Here

An ‘inside the box’ approach to creativity


Exceeding expectations is key to your customer satisfaction. Zappos are masters in setting expectations and then exceeding them.

Zappos wanted their customers to get creative with their shoe boxes. Using fun instructions and illustrations it allows customers to utilise every square inch of these boxes. They can be used to make a smartphone holder, a funky 3-D llama or a Geo Ball planter to name a few. The idea is to eventually inspire customers to literally ‘think outside the box’ and go beyond this funky box and into aspirational territory.

Zappos scored number 1 in the US for Expectations in the 2016 US CXi Report. When purchasing a pair of shoes the box is usually thrown in the bin or stored away under a bed. With this, the experience goes beyond the purchase and challenges the customer to do something creative and engaging.

Find out more Here

An experience even James bond would be proud of

Aston martin

Building a relationship with customers can be a very difficult challenge in the luxury space. Especially when your product can cost a customer over €250,000! That is why first impressions mean a lot to Aston Martin. Most customers will only ever buy one vehicle so they make sure to give them the “full service experience”. Aston buyers are given access to the CEO’s personal number and given the opportunity to see the full process of their cars assembly, meeting everyone in charge along the way. Buyers are also invited to one of Aston’s many event’s where fans and owners are taken to unique spot’s around the world to drive. One experience involves driving new DB models on a frozen lake in New Zealand with a professional driver in the passenger seat! Simon Sproule, Aston’s CMO said about the ice event “that’s the whole point of luxury, It’s about those special experiences – giving you those memories, giving you those experiences.”

Find out more Here



An out of this world fan experience



The Force was certainly with the children of Scoil an Fheirtéaraigh in west Kerry when a special visitor from a galaxy far, far away called for a visit. After two of the pupils found out that the movie was being shot close by, they designed a book and a Star Wars pottery sign and sent it on to the crew. This obviously caught their attention because Chewbacca himself made an appearance at the school a few days later. The kids greeted him with a tin whistle rendition of the Star War’s theme and even attempted to teach him a few words in Irish. Resource teacher Míchéal Ó Cinnéide said “Disney Lucasfilm wanted to do something nice for the community because everyone had been so helpful and cooperative and they wanted to give something back”. This was done outside of their movie PR and done solely to amaze the 65 pupils of Scoil an Fheirtéaraigh. Disney Parks who scored second in the 2016 US CXi Report are known for their magical experiences and this shows that they are willing to continue to give those experiences outside of their walls.

Find out more Here 

If you would like to explore how your company can activate CX excellence e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.

Or call Michael directly at +353 1 6622277 


CX Excellence – Jet Blue, Manchester United, Chick Fil-A, Teddies Ice-Cream and Disney Parks

Your weekly dose of CX Excellence

How to get passengers to greet a crying baby with a smile

JetBlue Flybaby

There can’t be many ways to convince someone that a crying baby on their flight can be a good thing, right? Well Jet blue may have found a way. 4 babies, plenty of angry glances, what to do? Make each baby a potential 25% off everyone’s next flight. So when the tears inevitably do come, instead of rolled eyes, they can be greeted with smiles and applause. This is a brilliant resolution to an unavoidable hindrance for passengers. And shows great empathy towards the dreading mothers, who are stresses about being in a small space surrounded by angry people. 

Find out more here

Making a dying fans final experience one of his best.


William Moore, a lifelong Manchester United fan was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness. He made it his dying wish to see his team one last time in their upcoming FA Cup final. Manchester’s local newspaper featured him in one of their articles and within a couple of days his dream came true. One of United’s injured first team players; Luke Shaw read about this and jumped on the offer to get William to Wembley for the final.

It is very refreshing to see a superpower brand like Manchester United take interest in an individual fan like this. Even though they don’t have to, they are willing to exceed expectations to help out a fans request.

Find out more here


A new meaning to being ‘cooped up’

Phone Coop

Chick-Fil-A branch owner, Brad Williams was fed up, seeing friends and families alike come into his restaurant and, instead of making conversation, sit in silence glued to their phones.

He came up with an idea to put customer’s phones into a box, (‘Phone Coop’) on their table and if they go the entire meal without going for it, they all receive a free ice-cream. The idea was an instant hit. He found that groups who failed the challenge even returned just to see if they could actually do it.

Brad had no intention of  his idea spreading like it did, and didn’t invest a penny in publicising it. Yet, over 350 Chick-Fil-A restaurants have now taken on the ‘Phone Coop challenge’.  According to KPMG Nunwood’s ‘Customer Experience Excellence Center 2016 US analysis’, US leaders realise that every experience is the sum of several smaller experiences and it is the attention to detail within each micro experience that makes a competitive difference. Chick-Fil-A describes this as ‘second mile service’, the tiny things that add up to a great experience when you put them all together.

Find out more here


An ice act of kindness from Teddies

Teddy's ice cream

On one of the first sunny days of summer, Danielle Meagher walked up to the one and only Teddies Ice-Cream and asked for a 99 cone. She didn’t have the €2.50 though, and asked if the shopkeeper could just put it on her card. But instead of charging, he handed her a 99 with 2 flakes in it and said “it’s a pressie, because the first 99 of the summer season is the best!” The experience made her so happy that she had to share it on Facebook and the post received 1.5k likes! Such a nice way to kick off summer for their customer by exceeding Danielle’s expectations and giving her a reason to share her experience.

Find out more here

Deaf child gets a wonderful surprise when she visits Disney Parks 


The Mansfields, a family that consists of multiple Deaf family members, recently visited Disney Parks. Their youngest daughter, who doesn’t expect anyone she meets to know sign gets the nicest surprise when she realizes that Tinkerbell and Mini Mouse are able to.

“Walt Disney viewed his theme parks almost as ‘factories’ that produced delight and entertainment. His belief was that the backbone of quality service was built on designing perfect processes and then repeating them at scale. Disney Parks has seemingly held true to these beliefs with the close attention to detail in constantly improving processes. It’s safe to say that they always sweat the small stuff”. -KPMG Nunwood

Find out more here 

Disney Parks scored second in KPMG Nunwood’s USA 2016 CEE analysis. You can view the report here

If you would like to explore how your company can deliver CX excellence e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.

Or call Michael directly at +353 1 6622277 

CX Excellence – Hailo, Ralph Lauren, Etihad Airways, Jet Blue,

Your weekly dose of CX excellence 


The extra mile is never crowded
Hailo Exceeding expectations


Brands now have the ability to remind us of their existence through phone notifications. When a recent mother of two twins received one of these from Hailo she sent them a unique letter explaining her absence. Hailo loved this so much that they topped up her account and offered a €100 voucher to her favourite Dublin restaurant, with a free taxi service of course! Going the extra mile for your customers is key to retention and your actions will differentiate you from your competitors.

Find out more here

Mirror, smart mirror on the wall



One of the biggest challenges in retail has been making the shopping experience faster and easier for the customer. Some companies, like Ikea are introducing a virtual shopping experience to their website while others are looking to upgrade their in-store experience. Ralph Lauren are testing ‘connected fitting rooms’ that merge digital technology with in-store retail by using ‘Smart Mirrors’. These mirrors can show clothing stock with sizes and colours and can even communicate with staff, letting them know if a customer needs assistance. Using these mirrors allows the fitting process to run very smoothly for customers which shows that Ralph Lauren have their customers Time and Effort in mind.

Find out more here

Etihad Airways make an unexpected U-turn

Etihad airways


It’s not every day you hear about a plane making a U-turn back to the terminal from the runway. Etihad Airways did just that for two of their customers after they found out that their grandson was in intensive care. The couple had their luggage retrieved from the hold, and the quick-thinking Etihad staff even had their car waiting to expedite their journey to the hospital. This amazing act of kindness shows that Etihad Airways view their customers as more than just passengers, and are willing to go above and beyond to show that. What an amazing showing of Empathy!

Find out more here

Using humour to humanise remarkable CX

Jetblue Airways


Humour in Customer Service can be a very risky strategy, but customers appreciate the effort when used well.

Jet Blue and Amazon have found a great balance between professional service and simple ‘human response’ when communicating to customers about issues. A bit of empathy can go a long way in customer service and can make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.

Find out more here


Amplifiers are a worthy investment



Dialogue have created thousands of amplifiers for our clients over the years and nothing beats a good old fashioned umbrella.

When a New Yorker, stuck in the middle of a rainstorm with a 15 minute walk ahead of him was given a $130 umbrella for nothing, what did he do? He only went and told his thousands of followers on social media about it!
Invest in customer amplifiers so it’s easier for them to sell on your behalf.

Find our more here

If you would like to explore how your company can deliver CX excellence e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.

Or call Michael directly at +353 1 6622277

Download a copy of the 2015 CEXi Ireland CX report here

CEXi report cover over Top 100 league table


CX Excellence – British Airways, City Bin, Home Depot And Costco

Each day, businesses go out of their way to give their customers a great experience and Dialogue want to give recognition to those doing it brilliantly.

Turning a bad experience into a remarkable one

ba pilot
Stepping out of your comfort zone to resolve an issue can be a refreshing improvement on an otherwise poor experience for your customers. When a British Airways pilot actually addressed his passengers from outside the safety of his cockpit to inform them of a lengthy delay, there was a much warmer response than usual from those affected. This showed that he cared about his passengers and that he was willing to take responsibility for something out of his control.

Find out more here


How City Bin differentiate themselves in a crowded market

The City Bin Co. have become more than just a waste management company in recent years, with the stated mission of being,“the global service leader” in their industry and the stated purpose, “to provide excellent Customer Experiences.” City Bin have made it their mission to ‘wow’ their customers by going the extra mile. To drive its strong customer satisfaction and loyalty, City Bin have Introduced what they call “game changers,” by using customer insights to define and offer services that differentiate them in the market. And when you are in a market, crowded with clones of each other, the only thing that separates you from the others, is the experiences you give your customers.

Find out more here


Controversial game changer?

It may sound unsettling that brands could be listening in on your private conversations, but as technology advances and brands are able to utilize the information they are mining, companies like Home Depot in the USA won’t just be sending you an email about the products they know you want; they will actually be able to put what you are looking for on hold and have it delivered to you with your blessing. Embracing these changes can save consumers a huge amount of time and effort.

Find out more here


Don’t pull the wool over your customers eyes

When companies do something out of the ordinary to apologise it really stands out. If Costco sent you an apology for an issue you didn’t even know about how would you react? You would go out of your way to tell the people you know about how your expectation was blown out of the water. It’s acts like these that turn customers into your very own brand ambassadors.

Find out more here


The most important pillar for any business serious about CX

The Six Pillars - Personalisation icon
Personalisation is one of the most important pillars any business will need to master if they want to deliver CX excellence. The art of understanding the customer, and the ability to tailor your service around their needs, emotions and preferences, is the key to success. Our partners, KPMG Nunwood have given several examples of best in class personalisation from the UK, including banks and the current league leaders from the 2015 UK Table: ‘Lush’

Find out more here


If you would like to explore how your company can deliver CX excellence e-mail Michael Killeen to discuss further.

Or call Michael directly at +353 1 6622277.

Download a copy of the 2015 CEXi Ireland CX report here