Lots of companies pride themselves on their customer service. Yet it often amounts to little more than lip service. That’s why it so refreshing to encounter truly great customer service.

Let me tell you about one such experience I recently had. About a year ago I bought a $60 Swatch wristwatch at the Swatch store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The watch worked fine until one day I discovered it was slipping off my wrist. The tiny piece of metal that pokes through the hole in the watchband and fastens it to the buckle had broken. Since there seemed to be no way to remove or replace it, I figured I might have to throw away the watch.

I brought the watch back to the store and showed it to the salesperson. She immediately grabbed a box full of watchband parts and, using a special tool, removed the broken part and replaced it with a new one.

Then she asked if she could buff the crystal, which had become scratched, and I agreed. I asked her what this service cost and she replied that it was free. I didn’t need to show her proof of purchase, I only had to sign my name and provide an email address for verification and marketing purposes. Then she gave me a Swatch Loyalty Club membership card that entitles me to free buffing and strap adjustments anytime, as well as special promotional offers. The whole process took about three minutes. Naturally, I was delighted and proceeded to tell several friends about my experience.

When was the last time one of your customers or patients was delighted with the products or services you provide? What can you do to create this type of experience for them?

If you’ve had a great customer service experience, send me an email about it or share it with other readers at our blog, 20/20&U.

—Andrew Karp