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CX Stories

Legendary Tales of Customer Experience: The Karma Department

This is the next in an ongoing series of stories about how businesses create customer experiences that surprise, delight, and grow their brand through customer advocacy. Does your business serve up legendary customer experiences? Contact AskNicely. We'd love to share your story.

The Karma Department

Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery

“I’m sorry, sir, we don’t take credit cards.”Those were the worst words to hear after finishing a good meal in a foreign country.“But I’m from New Zealand, here on business. All I have is my credit card.”“It’s our policy not to take credit here,” the pub host explained.The meal eaten, the patron asked. “What can I do? As I said, all I have is a credit card.” There was a bit of panic and regret in his eyes.“Don’t worry, sir,” the pub host said. “This happens sometimes. Come with me.”The patron followed the pub host to the counter, expecting to have to wash a lot of dishes. There the host pulled an envelope off a pile of envelopes and handed it to the patron.

The envelope was stamped and pre-addressed to “The Karma Department” at the name and address of the pub where he’d enjoyed a great meal.Looking up at the pub host, the patron shook his head. “I don’t understand.”“Take the envelope with you. When you can, put the money for your dinner inside and mail it to back to us,” the host said.“Wait, you’re going to let me go without paying?”“We believe our patrons are good people,” he said. “You’ll pay us back when you can.” He smiled at the patron’s confusion. “All we really ask is that you pay the kindness forward.”With that he walked the man to the door and wished him a good night.

The Moral of The Story?

That story has been repeated multiple times to people from New Zealand to the USA. My guess is that The Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery earned five stars on Yelp that day. Not to mention the word-of-mouth marketing it's gotten just on that story alone.That stack of pre-stamped and addressed envelopes — really more like a physical representation of an amazing CX moment and take-away brand impression — created a memorable customer experience from what would have been an inconvenience to any customer without cash.How do you take a customer pain point and create a wow moment?

Want more stories of how customer-obsessed brands create wow moments?Check out these videos from CX Obsession:

Ruby Receptionist

Green Drop Garage

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About the author

John Ballinger

He's cool.

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