Customer service is dead. If you could categorize customer service into good or bad, I would suggest that bad customer service is alive and well!

Recently I flew across the country with my family. The airline booked our tickets but afterwards would not guarantee that my 2 year old would be able to sit with either my wife or I. Even though I called several times, it wasn’t until I asked to speak with a manger that things got moving.

They made a mistake and made the situation more difficult than it should have been. When I would share my concern with them, they would simply say they were sorry, but there wasn’t anything they could do to resolve it.

Good customer service isn’t about just saying you’re sorry. 

Your customers don’t just want to hear you say that, they want you to make it right. When things go wrong, apologize and then make it right. That’s the time to add the +1.

Image courtesy watcharakun /

Image courtesy watcharakun /

Here is an example of a +1: Starbucks makes your coffee wrong. They make it again, and this time they give you a voucher for a free drink on your next visit. That’s the +1.

The idea here is this; you want people to walk away from an interaction with you or your organization with positive feelings.

When you just fix the mistake, you are only giving them what they paid for, except with the inconvenience of it not going right the first time. The +1 ensures they walk away with confidence in your service.

These days it doesn’t matter what you say about yourself, it’s what others say about you that counts. One of the keys to customer service is recognizing that sometimes mistakes happen. Things don’t always go as planned and you disappoint people.

  • The +1 is what will allow you to salvage a win from a bad situation
  • The +1 is what will stick out the most (because it’s so rare)
  • The +1 is what will be talked about on social medias
  • The +1 will set you a part

I once missed my connecting flight because of a scheduling error by an airline. Because of their mistake, I was delayed by a day getting home. They recognized this was their error.

After scheduling me on the first flight out the next morning, their +1 was putting me up in a hotel, paying for my breakfast the next morning and giving me a travel voucher towards my next flight.

They turned a bad situation into a win, and now I think highly of this airline as opposed to the one that made it very difficult to sit with my 2 year old daughter.

What are some things you can do as a +1 the next time things don’t go as planned?