Our regular UPS driver came to the door yesterday afternoon. I had to sign for the package because he was delivering a shipment of wine. As I was signing, he remarked that the package had the wrong address on it. "I'm glad you knew where to bring it!" I said.
He replied that it was easy for him to track down the correct address because of my unusual last name and the shipment contained wine. (Yes, I am a huge wine enthusiast: www.sharethebottle.com.)
I paused for a moment to think about what had just happened as I brought the wine in the house. The wine shipment had arrived just as expected. That by itself wasn't amazing, but the fact that it arrived on time was due to the actions of a very alert UPS driver who knew the regular customers on his route. He took extra initiative to ensure my expectations were met.
Could it be that some of the very best customer service happens behind the scenes?
Customers tend to notice service service that is either exceptionally good or exceptionally poor. We are unlikely to notice when things go exactly the way we expect them to.
What would have happened if the UPS driver had not taken the initiative to deliver my wine to the correct address? The shipment could have been delayed a day or two while a customer service representative tried to track me down. I might have been inconvenienced if I had to go to the UPS station to pick up the package instead of it being delivered to me. The wine might not have been delivered on time for an upcoming party if it took too long to resolve the problem.
All of those situations would have landed squarely below my expectations. I would have likely been upset at the winery, UPS, or even both.
Instead, I'm happy.
How many times do unsung customer service heroes spot a problem before it occurs and just fix it? When it does happen, the experience will likely register as "average" on the customer's radar, but we should all agree that the effort was outstanding.