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I recently had an absolutely fantastic customer service experience. I had an issue signing up for a service and posted on social media about it - a few minutes later, a user from the company commented and fixed my issue, and he spend hours yesterday and today working with me to help me switch over to the service. Through everything he was very patient with me and explained everything in a way that was easy to understand as someone new to the service. I'm extremely happy - this is by far the best customer service I've ever received. I didn't even have to explain my problem today to pick back up, he remembered perfectly.

If this was a restaurant, I'd just leave a huge tip like 100% of the bill. I'm wondering the best/most appropriate way to tip this guy who helped me - I was thinking possibly trying to send him an Amazon gift card, but I don't want to get him in trouble. I can and definitely will be recommending this company to my friends, but that doesn't directly help him. What would you recommend as a way to show my appreciation?

Before anyone worries or comments about it: I'm a straight man, and the rep is also a man. This isn't an issue of sexual harassment.

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    "A user from the company"? A customer service representative, an employee, is not generally considered a "user". – T.J.L. Jun 16 at 12:42
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    @T.J.L.: I assume the OP meant this as "a user of the social media platform I posted on". – Stephan Kolassa Jun 16 at 13:41
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    @StephanKolassa If the person they talked to is just a user, that person is not an employee, and this isn't a "customer service experience". If the person is an employee, then calling them a user is incorrect. – T.J.L. Jun 16 at 17:20
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    @T.J.L. That's not true. The person in question is a "user" of the social media platform. They are also an employee of the company they work for. There is no contradiction. – barbecue Jun 16 at 19:16
  • FYI in most companies there are internal policies that forbid employees from accepting gifts/gifts above X$ from customers. So take into account that sending a gift card or similar may simply result in a "Sorry I cannot accept this by company policy" note on the returned letter. – Bakuriu Jun 18 at 6:38
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Write a physical letter of praise to a somewhat high ranking executive in their company

I have done this a few times as an experiment for customer service people I really like. I write a half page letter praising them, address it to someone well up the chain of command but not so far up as to be swamped with stuff, address it to the appropriate regional headquarters, and mail it. Who you choose is not really a science. You are looking for someone important, but not important enough that 500 other people want their attention that day. Someone with power, but not so much power that this is a trivial matter to be ignored.

The last company I did this with was Best Buy. I had a good experience with a Geek Squad agent and wanted to reward them. The agent got a personal letter of appreciation from several levels up, a promotion, and used it as proof of their exceptional customer service skills to help them land a new job (I know all this because they tracked me down on LinkedIn after).

I’ve sent this kind of letter 7 times and have always heard back from the executive or the employee.

A gift card is nice, but it is cheaper to give them a career boost instead (which will pay far more over the long term).

Make sure to be very specific about who they are so they can easily be found. I’m the kind of person to note people’s ID numbers, but an email or even just a user ID can also do.

Also, praise specific skills when writing the letter. You want to get this guy on a fast track to promotion, so explain what exactly it was they did so well.

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    Not to go all "digital transformation" on you but why should it be a physical letter? Email has been standard business correspondence for decades at this point and will allow the message to reach multiple people to increase the odds of a positive outcome. What's the argument for going with paper? – Lilienthal Jun 16 at 6:57
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    @Lilienthal because email is so prevalent it is easier to reach above the noise floor with a physical letter which is more rare – lijat Jun 16 at 7:48
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    I receive hundreds of emails per day and one physical item per month (and that's usually something I ordered online...). A paper mail would definitely grab my attention immediately. – STT LCU Jun 16 at 11:28
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    This is a great answer I’ll remember forever and hope to take advantage of. 😀 – Ryan Jun 16 at 12:09
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    @Lilienthal In 2018, I wrote several hundred letters to various government/political officials in Canada (a quirk of our postal system is that some letters can be sent for free) asking for life advice. About 1 in 5 actually replied and some sent books. Plenty sent pages and pages of essays. I emailed people who didn't have the free mail quirk. Maybe 5 replies and most were 2-3 sentences. The latest reply to a letter came 13 months later. The latest email reply was 5 days. About 400 people in each case. – Matthew Gaiser Jun 16 at 13:12
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What would you recommend as a way to show my appreciation?

You mentioned that you posted your issue on Social Media, where this person then found you and helped you greatly.

Perhaps you can consider writing on that same Social Media about your positive experience, as in a way to give "closure" to the public (I assume) statements and claims you made about your issue (not very different to the concept of Accepting an answer/giving bounty on SE). You could mention or @'t that helpful user on your post if possible.

Another thing to consider is that as you acquired a service/product, it's very likely you will be eventually receiving a "Rate your experience" or "Give us your feedback" email or similar form. You can express your gratitude there. If such email or automated process does not exist, then you can fallback to the classic "Contact us" or similar on the page of the company.

Now, giving a physical object or money as a way to show your appreciation may be a bit more complicated. The company could have some policy in place to avoid such things, or perhaps employees can get in trouble if they are found to be taking gifts from customers (or perhaps the person is not comfortable with it).

You could, however, reach out to this wonderful person and ask them if it's ok for you to send them something (gift card?) as a thank you token. Then you can find if it's ok and if that person won't get in trouble for accepting your token.

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I spent 8 years doing customer service work over the phone in the continental USA.

The best place to start is to use their name. I was always impressed when someone addressed me by my name.

After that, express your gratitude directly, then ask them how you should proceed.

"Hey, [Name], you've gone above and beyond to help me and I want to make sure you're recognized for your effort. What's the best way for me to do that?"

Over time, my employer had several different acknowledgement mechanisms which had different weights attached. Some examples:

  • Speaking to my supervisor
  • Writing a letter to the site manager
  • Completing an over-the-phone satisfaction survey

When I started in 2003, a physical letter carried the most weight. When I left the service floor, the phone survey carried the most weight as there were counts of how many 10s you received each month.

Now that I'm on to another career, when I receive good service (and bad) over the phone I ask to speak with the rep's supervisor. You can learn a lot about the company based on their response! Most of the time the supervisor is thrilled to have five minutes on the phone with someone who is happy to talk to you about something going right and that they will note the rep's file accordingly. Only twice have I spoken with a supervisor who has said the company literally has no mechanism for handling compliments and would I please stop wasting his time.

Social media interaction is going to be a bit different of course, but I wanted to illustrate the spectrum of response.

Another reason to ask is to make sure you're sending feedback to the right place. The service rep may be an employee of the company or may be a third-party contractor. If the person is in an offshore contact center working for a division within a larger company, a letter (postal or electronic) to the home office could be delayed for weeks or never routed to the proper location. This is especially true if you don't have the person's full name and location and they are part of a large staff.

One last consideration is there may well be a company policy regarding the acceptance of gifts. Some of my employers have allowed gifts under $25. Others make exceptions only for food items (e.g., cookies or a fruit basket). All of them have prohibited accepting gifts of alcohol.

As a former service rep, let me say thank you for your willingness to acknowledge a job well done.

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If you give this person anything with financial value (an Amazon Gift Card, as you mentioned) that might be against his employer's code of conduct or even might be a cause of ethical conflict for himself.

To avoid that I'd suggest you to ask if he supports any cause or charity and donate the amount of money you'd be willing to spend on a personal gift for him.

I did that a few times and the person was really happy for this help. At last, my suggestion could be done on top of another action like this letter of recommendation cited in another answer.

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