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The other week I did a webinar for NewVoiceMedia on trust. It was fun and I hope all listeners enjoyed it. It reminded me of a couple of super stories I heard a little while ago, and I'd like to share them with you.

A lady called her insurance company and said that, unfortunately, her daughter had crayoned all over her blank insurance form and so could she get another. The girl in the contact centre said, "Of course," and she would put it in the post.

Two days later, the envelope with the new blank form arrived, but inside there were also a colouring book, and a pack of crayons for the child. Enclosed was a note that read, "Sorry to hear about your problem. These are for your daughter so she can enjoy her colouring without needing to use your form"!

The other story is about a hotel, where, whenever a family stayed with a young child, the chambermaid would see the child's soft toy, and hide it in a different place in the room each night, much to the delight of the child, and the parents.

Both of these stories tell me that these organisations trusted their people, who then felt empowered to go the extra mile to give great, and very personalised, customer service.

Would the mother switch to another insurance company (or the daughter for that matter when she grows up!)? Wouldn't the family have a strong desire to return to that hotel, especially with the insistence of the child!?

And yet I know insurance companies, and hotel chains, that would more likely fire an employee for such "independence".

These are the little things which, together, build and enhance an organisation's name, brand and service image, and they simply come from a mutual trust between employee and organisation. The same is needed between organisation and customer, and organisation and supplier.

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About Paul Cooper

Until March 2009, Paul had been a director, and one of early team, of the Institute of Customer Service from 1998. During this time, he was responsible at various times for sales, marketing, PR and media. He spent much of his time speaking at conferences and in the media about all aspects of customer service, in the UK and internationally.

Since leaving ICS, Paul continues to carry out speaking engagements, and has become a director of Customer Plus, a UK consultancy led by Richard Beevers, based in Duffield, specialising in customer service and marketing.

In 2011, Paul was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the European Call Centre & Customer Service awards.

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