Successful companies realize how much customer loyalty affects their bottom line. To stay on top, you can’t have great customer service anymore – you have to stand out.

Weekly at R+M, we discuss what we call THIRST®. When a brand delivers a remarkable experience that leaves you thirsty for more, we consider those THIRST moments. To help our clients create THIRST with their customers, we view brand communications with a critical eye and look at every one through the eyes of the customer. Needless to say, we consider ourselves pretty tough to impress, so when a customer service experience gets our attention, it’s worthy of applause.

Congratulations to the 2012 customer applause winners!

Crystal Tailors and Cleaners, Morrisville, NC
How much is one shirt is worth? Greg Norton, our big cheese, took some clothes in for the usual. When he went to pick up his freshly pressed duds, he was greeted by the owner, not just the manager, the owner. He knew there was a problem. The owner points out that they had made a tiny, tiny tear on one of his shirt collars. Greg was ready for the apologies and maybe reimbursement. He wasn’t ready for the owner to present him with a brand new shirt – an exact match – found by the owner after scouring multiple Banana Republics. Greg attempted to pay for the shirt but they wouldn’t hear of it.


Greg adds, “Just the other day, they texted me asking if it was ok to replace a button on one of my shirts! These guys are amazing!” To the folks at Crystal Tailors and Cleaners, one shirt means customer loyalty, and that’s priceless.

Michael and Sons Services, Raleigh/Durham, NC
It’s typically not a good day when you have to call a plumber, and when it’s a Sunday, it’s awful. Upon repeated attempts to save his house from floating away, Chris Holleman’s dad, Larry, finally reached a plumber willing to “take a look.” The culprit in this case was a busted hot water heater, which happened to be located in a very unfriendly area of the house. Before repairs began, the technician took the initiative to make life easier and less stressful in the future. With Larry’s permission, and since he was also a certified electrician, he relocated the entire water heater system to a more feasible service area in the house. Throughout the service call, Larry was continually impressed with the technician’s clean and precise workmanship and his kind attitude. But, when the technician began carrying bucket after bucket of water away from his foundation, he knew he had met someone special.

Upon finishing, the technician offered a service plan, which includes yearly maintenance checks. “Great plan, but my service budget is officially tapped out,” Larry exclaimed. “Understandable,” says the Technician. Before leaving, he got out a pen and demonstrated one of the best actions of brand ownership we’ve seen. He literally signed his name to the water heater, but not before giving Larry that service plan for free!

Thank you, Michael and Sons, for turning Larry’s awful Sunday into one overflowing with joy. Our whole team has your number on speed dial!


Hyundai Motor America, Fountain Valley, CA
Being the brand-aware person that I am, I try to balance my logical needs with my desire to support, and be supported, by a strong brand. When it was time to put my faithful Acura to rest, I was worried the shoes were too big to fill. Over the years, Hyundai has impressed me with their dedication to design, and everyone knows they have the best warranty program in the business. So I took the leap with my 2012 Tuscon. Between the follow-up calls, direct-mail gifts, five years of free 24/7 roadside assistance and free navigation updates, I was feeling confident about my decision. Then Hyundai went the extra mile. Literally.

HyundaiGas_625I received a letter stating that Hyundai had a testing error resulting in a 1-2 MPG difference on the fuel economy rating that what was posted on my sales window sticker. Ugh, did I just buy a gas-guzzler?! What I read next, made my jaw drop. They stated that customer satisfaction is priority #1 and they’re on a mission to make this right. Hyundai has set up a debit card reimbursement account in my name to pay for the additional fuel costs, plus 15%. And, to top it off, they will continue to reimburse me for the life of my ownership! FOREVER-EVER.

Each of these companies truly understands the value of one customer – what it takes to win them, and what it takes to keep them. We congratulate them and happily consider them all Referral Worthy.