Last week I wrote about how the friendly and extremely helpful teller at our local bank branch helped me solve an ideological conflict I had with the bank. On Tuesday, too early to receive our new credit cards, I did get a card from the bank. A note card. From the teller. Saying she hopes we enjoy our new cards and that our rewards are going to a great cause. Yes they are. We’ve since received our cards; they have a cute, happy dog on the front and no partnership with an oil company.

When I went to the bank again earlier this week, there was the teller, and she smiled and greeted me by name. Not “Ms. Werker,” mind you. But “Kim.”

This is the kind of outstanding, and fairly effortless, customer service that sets companies apart. Not only am I back to being thoroughly happy with my bank as a whole, but I now also know that if I have a problem, even a relatively minor one, I can go to them. They will help me the best they can, and they’ll be pleasant about it. For my part, I’ll be pleasant, too.

Kids, the Dunbar & 28th branch of the Bank of Montreal is made of WIN.

Now. Remaining on the topic of customer service but bringing things around to the realm of online*, check out Shannon’s post about Zappos. Zappos is pretty much the uber-example of how a company can successfully utilize social media tools.

Example #1: They are rocking Twitter. How? Both by making the company seem extremely accessible (it’s the CEO that does the twittering), and by paying attention to what people tweet (see Shannon’s experience).

Example #2: Their own website. The product image and info below are the result of a simple block of code I copied from the (um, awesome) product’s page on the Zappos site. That’s how easy it was to embed their product in this post, showing it (with a direct link to the page where you can buy it) to all of you. In an even more unique move, Zappos also provides text for a shortened link on the page, and says this about it: “ links are tiny urls that you can copy & paste into blogs, emails, twitter, etc., so you can share this product with the world!” Since Twitter posts can only be 140 characters long, people often have to shorten long web addresses by using services like TinyURL. Zappos saves this step. Genius.

I’m fairly overwhelmed by how beautifully Zappos gets it. They get that their consumer base is their strongest asset not only because, duh, they pay money to Zappos, but also because their enthusiastic word-of-mouth makes their friends and acquaintances and perfect online strangers aware that people enjoy buying things from the company, and that just might lead them to pay Zappos money, too. The first comment on Shannon’s post is from Amy, who said, “Maybe we should tweet about shoes more often!” Exactly. Zappos, for the win.

* The Bank of Montreal’s website is awful. Good thing their humans are so wonderful.

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