The Flight of the Plaques: Crystal D


How far are you willing to push your customer service for a customer? Maybe free shipping on a rush order, or a free setup fee? Or perhaps a few extra products thrown in for goodwill?

When I was interviewing with Rebecca Brown, SAGE Marketing & Education Manager, she asked me about my views and experiences with helping customers (as I had about ten years of customer service experience under my belt). I told her that it differed between retail and my most recent former job at a restoration company.

In retail, it boils down to converting browsers into customers. We try to be as friendly and as welcoming as possible. However, we’re often hindered by the tools available to us. When it came to customer service at the restoration company, we had to remember that their lives had just been turned upside down when they called us. Their day went from bad to worse with a pipe bursting. We would try to do everything in our power to make sure their restoration process was as easy as possible.

But in all my time in customer-facing positions and as a customer, I have never seen a company go above and beyond as much as Crystal D.

Crystal D was founded in 1993 when company president Chuck Dahlgren purchased the original company. One name change and nearly thirty years later, they’ve become one of the leading companies providing awards to the promotional products industry. Chuck and the rest of the company believe that employee recognition is essential for employee retention, especially in today’s world. They’re passionate about it and are just as passionate about memory-making.

I sat down with Jen Boyles, Marketing Coordinator for Crystal D and lover of Dr. Pepper Zero, to talk about their most recent customer service adventure and definitely the most memorable one.

Rush orders in this business aren’t unusual. A last-minute event comes up, another supplier falls through, whatever the case may be. This particular order came through and needed a one-day turnaround. They needed twenty plaques with black color fill (which Jen told me that color fill does not dry very fast).

Technology isn’t foolproof, and a very rare glitch in their system said they had more stock than was actually on hand. After a quick back and forth with the customer, they created a solution. They upgraded the customer’s order to the next size up, switched the color so it could dry faster, and at 4 PM on the same day, they had started working on the order.

Things were looking good. It sounds like a cut-and-dry customer service story, right?

Well, there’s a little more to it.

They were finishing their order (one plaque had broken, so they had to redo one last one). They called UPS asking, pleading with them and the truck driver to stick around for no longer than three minutes so they could get the plaques overnighted. Their Customer Service Manager, Eric, loaded hundreds of pounds of plaques into his car, took off down the road (ran a red light, even!), and arrived at UPS at 7:33.

The truck left at 7:30.

They missed it by three minutes!

The customer service manager called the VP of Operations, Kari, who then called Chuck to work something out.

When Eric arrived at the office the next day and saw Kari’s husband’s truck in the parking lot instead of her car, he knew something was afoot.

Kari actually ended up flying first class with the boxes to New York. While Kari was on the plane, Eric was busy coordinating their arrival with a courier service to meet her when she got off the plane. The plaques arrived just on time, and the customer was of course over the moon.

I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that Crystal D truly went above and beyond in a way that I have never seen before! It wasn’t the largest order, nor was it the most expensive, but they made sure that the order was taken care of with the same quality of care as any other order would have been. Even if that meant purchasing a plane ticket to get them in hand in time for their event.

This is customer service that goes beyond customer service. It shows that there is still goodwill in the world and that people are willing to do whatever it takes to help another fellow human being out and is definitely a story we need right now!

In addition to obviously stellar customer care, it’s worth noting that Crystal D is also the leader of promotional products technology for lasers and crystals. When I asked Jen if she could give me some insight into their process, she just laughed and said that there was a lot of science involved.

We’re excited to see what the future holds for Crystal D as they are always looking for ways to improve their craft and keep up with the latest in technology. And, of course, striving to make sure that each of their customers are taken care of because they know that is what matters most at the end of the day. After all, wouldn’t you want to work with a company that will literally hop on a plane to deliver your promotional products to you?

To learn more about Crystal D (SAGE# 52288) check out their website here!

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(Marketing Content Writer)

Betty is the Marketing Content Writer at SAGE. She is a self-proclaimed, bonafide nerd, and when she's not writing, you can find her playing video games, watching space documentaries, hunting for vintage Star Wars toys, and binge-watching the latest show on Netflix.

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