Article of Interest: The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told, Starring Morton’s Steakhouse

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So, I’ve been following Peter Shankman since I discovered HARO (help a reporter out) a couple of years ago; an extremely useful concept for both reporters and marketers alike. Since then, I’ve seen his following grow. Today he has 109,647 Twitter Followers, 51,889 Facebook Fans and a very impressive Klout score of 88. Not only is he known for his very successful HARO project, but he is also an acclaimed author of two very successful books: Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work and Why Your Company Needs Them (Wiley and Sons 2006) and Customer Service: New Rules for a Social-Enabled World (Que/Pearson, 2010) both of which seem ironically tied to the recent customer experience Peter had at the Newark Airport.

It all started with a simple tweet – that he sent in jest:

Well, much to his disbelief, Morton’s had sent someone with a porterhouse to the Newark Airport to greet him! You can read all about his experience on his blog. Now, clearly, this is an act of customer service far above and beyond expectations; Not only did it work in Peter’s favor?he was delighted by the experience and was able to enjoy a delicious steak – but it made the “news” bloggers and journalists picked up the story and it became a viral sensation.

So, this article piqued my interest on several levels –It was a true act of superior customer service, it was a testament to the power of social media and it was an outrageous PR stunt that helped put Morton’s front of mind for many.

So, who came out ahead in this outrageous PR stunt? In my opinion Peter did, but in the end it was Morton’s who truly benefited from this act of kindness.

We all know that a sure-fire way to stand out is to deliver your brand promise through unique customer experiences – experiences that truly make the customer feel special and I think Morton’s nailed it with this one. I do however, suggest that companies who read this, err on the side of caution. This could have easily backfired for Morton’s and more than likely would backfire for others. Some may try to send the same tweet and, for many reasons, not get a response. These people may find it unfair and unjust that only people like Peter (influential, high Klout Score, etc.) get the preferential treatment.

So, although it is good to take risks from time to time – be sure you have a plan B, and be sure you don’t over promise and under deliver…

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1 COMMENT

  1. Whether it’s due to Internet fame or not, this concept of customer service shifting from private emails and phone calls into a publicly visible space is very interesting. Maybe the Internet Pitchfork Society (e.g. Reddit) will lead to whipping notoriously awful customer service into shape. Or maybe it will be unfair gang-annihilation of small businesses, like victims of unfair Yelp reviews claim.

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