Chronicle of a deaf audiologist

Customer Service Stories: What Are Yours?

Mr. Dan Fleisch, a physics professor at Wittenberg University, travelled over 600 miles to hand-deliver a copy of his book. He wanted his customer to get it in time for Christmas.

While reading reviews of his book, “A Student’s Guide to Maxwell’s Equations,” on on Christmas Eve, he discovered that Michel Cuhaci’s copy of the book had 38 missing pages. Mr. Cuhaci gave the book a poor review on, and complained that he would not give the book to his nephew as a Christmas gift.

Dr. Fleisch vowed to correct the mistake in time for Christmas.

It turns out that this was easier said than done. Couriers could not promise that the replacement book would be delivered on time. Bookstores in Ottawa were not answering their phones. So Dr. Fleisch decided to deliver it in person.

He thought he’d be home in time for Christmas dinner.

A winter storm made the driving inadvisable, so he had to fly from Springfield, Ohio to Ottawa, Ontario and rent a car from the airport. The book was in Mr. Cuhaci’s hands by 11:30 a.m. on Christmas Day.

The storm caught him on the way back home, and needless to say, he was not home on time for Christmas dinner. But it does make for an incredible customer service story.

This happened in 2009. In a follow up radio interview on Boxing Day in 2011, Dr. Fleisch said that the payback has been a hundred-fold. He’s had letters, emails, people stopping by his house, and a cake delivered every year from someone he’s never even met.

I love this story. It’s about someone who literally goes the extra mile.

And he has reaped the rewards for doing so.

As a hearing care professional, I too, believe in good customer service. I can’t begin to compete with Dr. Fleisch. The closest I’ve come is repairing a hearing aid at a client’s house three hours away—on my way to sea kayaking in the Hakai Provincial Marine Park. It was on my way, so it wasn’t incredible service.

On the other hand, I remember some pretty awful customer service stories. One that comes to mind is a client who asked me if I was pretending to have hearing loss in order to improve business. She did not believe that I actually needed hearing aids.

I reacted defensively. Looking back on this conversation, I wish I had handled it differently. She felt comfortable enough to tell me what was on her mind. That was a good thing!

What had I done to instill an impression that I was not trustworthy? I wish I had an opportunity to find out. I am sure I would have learned something.

I don’t work as a dispensing audiologist any more, but I haven’t forgotten the lessons I learned about customer service. What are yours, as a consumer, or as a service provider?

  • Photo credit:  © Alan Fortune

    Sandra Vandenhoff

    Dr. Sandra Vandenhoff is an audiologist with hearing loss, founder of HEARa, Hearing Rehabilitation teacher, and Canadian author, who does not remember saying on her first day of wearing hearing aids: "Mom, I can hear my shoelaces!"

Scroll to Top