If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, you’d know that I’m a fanatical fan of the Cincinnati Bearcats basketball team. Not only do I love the team, but I also actively try to convince my nieces and nephews that the University of Cincinnati should be their college of choice.

Now, wouldn’t it be nice if your customers were as die-hard about your business as people are about their favorite teams? What if I told you they could be?

It’s all about giving your customers stories to tell … like that time Trevon Scott tipped in the winning shot against Temple with 2.8 seconds left in the last game before COVID shut down college hoops.

Rather than try and tell you ways to create these storybook moments, we’ll show you. We asked the team here at Thryv to share their stories about a time they were blown away by exceptional customer experiences.

That Time Working with a Company Was Easy

Exceptional service isn’t always about going above and beyond. You can create those fanatical fans simply by making it easy to do business with you.

Believe it or not, not all companies are easy to work with. Seriously, how many times have you heard someone complain about phone calls not being returned or bad online experiences that prevented them from working with a company?

Here are two stories about small businesses that simplified the process. They took away barriers to working with them and provided an exceptional customer experience along the way.

Dog Training Done Right

Haley – Marketing Project Manager

I was looking for dog training for my dog in Dallas and I was having a lot of issues with places or people not emailing or calling me back. A friend referred me to a locally-owned place, DogFit.

The website was super easy to navigate plus prices and services were listed upfront. I filled out a form and someone got back to me immediately. We discussed what the best option was for me and my pup and I decided on the group puppy class.

Within 10 minutes I had all the information I needed. And, within an hour I was signed up for classes.

The training is going phenomenal and I can’t get over how quickly they responded and how helpful they were in the process of getting set up.

You can tell they truly cared about what would work best for me and my dog and made the sign-up process extremely easy and straightforward.

Full-Service Car Care

Chandlor – Social Media Content Project Manager

I had been having terrible issues with my car. I had taken it to several different mechanic shops and none of them could figure out what was wrong.

Following half a dozen mechanics scratching their heads and sending me away, I finally found a mechanic who was able to pinpoint the issue and provide a stellar experience throughout.

After dropping off my car, I immediately received a text from the mechanic shop with a link that allowed me to follow along with the status of my car, from initial drop off to final inspection, all in real-time. It was so cool! I’d never seen another auto shop implement something like that before.

After a few hours, the mechanic called and informed me they had found the issue. Not only did he uncover the problem, but during the inspection process, he cleaned 2 of my filters and even refilled my steering wheel fluid – all for free!

The whole experience made me feel like my needs were important and that it was their main priority to have them met. That’s what quality customer experience is about!

That Time They Engaged With You

People don’t want to feel like they’re just another customer. Rather, they want to see that you know them and appreciate them. Don’t believe us? According to Forbes, customers say employees who interact with them should not only know their names but take an interest in personal details about them.

Here are two times where companies took the time to engage with their customers and it paid off.

Proud Plumber Moment

Bryant – Director of Demand Generation

We had a serial clogging problem in our old pipes. Every quarter, we’d call our friendly plumber, have him come over and he’d use his rooter to fix it.

Then this one time, I called him and he called right back and said, “Bryant, I think you can fix this yourself. You don’t need to call me every time it clogs because it’s costing you a fortune. Go rent a rooter from Home Depot, get some gloves, watch a youtube video and see if you can do it yourself. If it doesn’t work, I’ll be happy to come over. Otherwise, I won’t be able to come today because I’m booked and you’re going to be without your sink all night.”

Well, it took me 30 minutes to fix it and cost me about half as much. What I appreciated most was that he told me I could do it, even though he could easily come, take my money, and keep coming back.

How Happy Birthday Went a Long Way

Shellie – Senior Manager Content Strategy

Have you ever had one of those birthdays when you wished everyone would just forget?

I thought I was in for one of those a few years ago, but then something remarkable happened. The workout studio I frequent had recently changed ownership. I could tell they were going through the usual transition phase and all the chaos that surrounds it.

But then, on the morning of my birthday, I popped in for a class to try to sweat out the reminder that I was another year older. On my way out, one of the new owners, whom I had only seen a few times, called out, “Happy Birthday, Shellie!”

The fact that she knew my name was a bit of a surprise. Even more so, I was floored that she knew it was my birthday. I’m sure I entered it on a form when I signed up, and she was clearly studying her client database each day to make meaningful connections like this one.

It was a small gesture of kindness, but it definitely comes to mind whenever I renew my membership.

When Service Went Above and Beyond

As a business, delivering exactly what you say you’re going to is an easy win. Do that consistently and your customer loyalty will inevitably grow.

But, when you think about it, how often do you tell your friends about the time you got exactly what you paid for? Very rarely I’d assume – because that’s what’s supposed to happen.

In order to create fanatical fans and free marketing through 5-star reviews, sometimes you need to go the extra mile. That’s what happened in my customer experience story:

When My Dog Thought a Rug Was Grass

Stephanie – Content Marketing Project Manager

When my husband and I purchased our new house we were gifted a very nice, very large, shag rug for our living room. Unfortunately, our dog determined that this shag rug was basically grass and deemed it her new potty spot.

First, we put up a gate to keep the dog out of the living room. Then, we began searching for a way to clean this monstrosity of a rug.

Thankfully we found a local carpet cleaning service. According to their website, they would pick up the rug from our house, clean it and bring it back. All this for $2.50 a square foot.

After they had the rug for about two weeks we got a call explaining why the rug cleaning was taking a tad longer than the estimated 10 days.

The rug still smelled like dog pee and they didn’t want to return it without ensuring all odors noticeable by humans and dogs were gone. They asked if it was okay to keep the rug longer and clean it a few more times.

About a week later they returned the rug and informed us they had cleaned it multiple times. The rug was beautifully cleaned and smelled fresh as new. I asked if the extra cleaning would mean extra cost and they said no. They promised a clean rug and that’s what we would get.

This experience has caused me to suggest their company to many other people. Why? Because they could have easily charged extra for the additional cleanings. Had they done so, I wouldn’t have batted an eye, but they didn’t.

They took pride in the work that they did and the service they provided.

When They Were Authentic and Empathetic

Being authentic is important when it comes to owning a business. People don’t want to be told what they want to hear, they want the truth. In some cases, the truth might not be best for your bottom line … at least at that moment. In the long run, authenticity can create lifelong customers.

Take it from Brittanie who won’t buy chickens from anyone but Tony.

Tony the Chicken Aficionado

Brittanie – Acquisition Email Marketing Strategist

I took my daughter out for our spring tradition of buying baby chickens. We went to a new store to buy them and were immediately greeted by a man named Tony. He was so incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. He told us the difference between the breeds and even care tips that I didn’t know.

Tony told us he wanted to made sure to pick the cutest chickens for my daughter. This was a nice added touch to involve her in the process.

It was cold and windy that day, and when Tony heard me tell my daughter that we needed to run one more errand before heading home, he offered to keep the chicks so that they could stay under the heat lamps to keep them nice and warm until we got back.

After we returned to pick up the chicks, Tony came to help make sure we had everything we needed. Being that we bought chicks before, we thought we knew what we needed, but he recommended a higher-quality feed and a way to save on the cost.

He mentioned that his recommendations were not necessarily the most profitable for the store, but as a chicken owner himself, these were the things he would want to know.

I thought: That right there is great customer service — making sure the customer is happy and putting their needs first.

It was such a great experience that I will not buy chicks from anywhere else. Plus, I told my fellow chicken-loving friends about Tony as well, so it’s likely my business will turn into referral customers.

Fanatical Fans Are The Best Marketing

Creating a legion of fanatical fans doesn’t happen overnight. By creating an exceptional customer experience at every stage of the customer journey, customers will fall in love with you.

But, it’s more than just giving your customers stories to tell. Make it easy for your fanatical fans to share their experience with the world. How? By giving them a custom google review link for your business.