The Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear problems have created an unprecedented crisis for people and businesses in Northern Japan. This is where customer service takes on new meaning. Any number of businesses have stepped up to help their customers through this terrible crisis.
For example, Otis Elevator immediately sent technicians into Northern Japan to make repairs and restore service to 16,400 of the 16,700 elevators that had seismic detectors and had automatically stopped operating until they were checked and cleared by the company.
Telecommunications firms offered free phone and text services to customers calling Japan. No word on how many customers took advantage, but the offer is thoughtful and helps ease anxieties of people who want to check on friends, family, and colleagues in Japan.
The public relations payback is a plus but the biggest benefit of helping customers through a crisis is reinforcing their loyalty. Customers have long memories. A company that gets them through a challenging period will earn their loyalty for a long time.