Pay it forward pays offI had a completely unexpected experience at a toll booth recently. I pulled up to make change for my dollar bill but was refused by the attendant. Now, I’m thinking “what the…?” – well, you can imagine what I was thinking. But to my surprise she threw 50 cents into the coin basket and said “the guy in the car ahead of you paid your toll.” Needless to say I was a bit taken aback, but more than that I really apppreciated the random act of kindness. So, before I proceeded through the gate, I decided I would do the same for the car behind me. And, as I drove off I wondered how long the chain of good fortune would go on. I never found out, of course, but I hoped it lasted a good while.

That gesture of goodwill got me thinking too. Good begets good. And in business, good customer service begets good customer loyalty. We all know that bad customer service can spell disaster for companies. In fact, it can put them out of business altogether. But the flip side of that is if you show your customers how much you appreciate their business, they’ll most likely show you how much they appreciate your business by continuing to do business with you.

So my mashup is along those lines…interestingly enough, more and more, technology and social media are playing key roles in the customer experience. Case in point:

(Warning: shameless plug for Internap.) Finally, I’m proud to say that Internap was recently certified by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) as a Support Staff Excellence Center. Even more importantly, our customers tell us that we are doing a great job. In fact in our recent annual survey they gave us an overall customer satisfaction ranking of 8.62* (out of a maximum of 10.0) – that’s better than the industry average of 8.31 and our peer group of 6.9!

Whether in the drive-through lane at your favorite coffee spot or providing your customers the service they expect, paying it forward may pay off in ways you hadn’t previously considered. How have you paid it forward? If you haven’t, do it. You’d be amazed at how good it makes you feel!