We participate regularly in a number of customer service discussion groups, and one of the most intriguing threads we came across a while ago was What Was One Of Your Best Customer Service Stories? Virtually all of the submissions were wonderful – heartwarming, inspiring, awesome – the list goes on. But one story amongst all of the gems shone out in particular. It was submitted by Derek Williams, founder and president of The Wow! Awards, a British non-profit organization that is “committed to helping organisations reap the benefits of increased Employee Engagement and Outstanding Customer Service by making it easy for your customers to tell you when your people are doing great things”.

Derek gave us his permission to share his personal story. We think it’s one of the most amazing examples of people not only Owning the Quality of Their Service, but living, breathing and sharing every microscopic bit of it:

“Working so closely with our clients at The WOW! Awards brings me a huge number of great stories. But today I made a nomination for an organisation that helped my father at a particularly difficult time and I thought that you might like to share it.

My family would like to nominate all the caregivers and employees at Newton House Care Home for the incredible care that they have shown to my father, Mike Williams. They have always shown a huge amount of care and love for my father and they treat him as though he was one of their own family. 

My father has the later stages of Alzheimer’s and relies completely for care and protection from the team at Newton House. And he’s not always been an easy patient; despite being very ill he can sometimes be very aggressive and still packs a punch.

Recently, Dad was taken to hospital suffering with bronchial pneumonia. After 10 days on antibiotics he looked incredibly ill. The doctor told us that although they could continue with antibiotics for a couple more days, Dad’s lungs are seriously diseased and he might not survive. We decide to stop the medication. The doctor asked if we would like Dad to be transferred back to Newton House where he might be able to spend his last few days in comfort. And we agreed that this was an excellent idea. I watched the ambulance crew deliver my Dad back to Newton House. He was unconscious and very frail. Other than a saline drip, he’d had no food for almost two weeks and I couldn’t see how he could possibly last more than another day or two. The instant that Dad was taken into Newton House, two of the nurses, Stacey and Poonam, immediately greeted him with cries of “Hello Mikey!” They gave him cuddles and kissed him. Dad immediately responded – he was so pleased to see them. He kissed their hands and told them how much he loved them. Even the ambulance crew were completely taken by surprise. “He’s responding!” called one of the crew.

During the rest of that day, Stacey and Poonam nursed Dad almost constantly. They freshened him up and made him comfortable. They managed to get him to take some fluids which were desperately needed and they came back every hour to repeat the process. In the last few days the transformation in Dad has been amazing. Far from us losing him, he is now sitting up and enjoying life as best he can. Yesterday he even had three Weetabix for breakfast! 

We know that Dad’s condition is never going to permanently improve. And maybe the next infection could be terminal. But for these few days we have all enjoyed so many magic moments with him. He’s been more alert and coherent than he has been for more than a year. And we know that it was love, not medicine, that gave him this extra little chance of life.”