Great customer service means apologizing to Jimmy Kimmel… for a tsunami

Micah Solomon Keynote speech (video)

In customer service and hospitality,  there’s a lot of power in accepting responsibility. Even when you aren’t conceivably at fault.

Consider this story from late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and the inimitable Four Seasons, as recounted in my new book — out this week — High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service  (click here if you’d like a free chapter).

…Jimmy Kimmel was vacationing at the Four Seasons resort in Bora Bora (lucky for him) when the tragic Tohoku earthquake sent a tsunami potentially heading his direction (not so lucky). Kimmel sent out terrified tweets the entire time the tsunami was approaching, with his fans shooting back snarky tweets of their own, like ‘‘Hey @jimmykimmel: If you die can I have your pizza oven???’’ In the end, though, Kimmel was so delighted–not only by not dying but also (and maybe more so) by the service that he and his fellow Four Seasons guests received in this nerve-wracking situation, that he was inspired to write a blog post about it.

What struck Kimmel most? Four Seasons taking responsibility for—apologizing for, even—the tsunami:

“The staff of the Four Seasons took a brilliant position, one that every customer service operation should consider. They acted like the tsunami was their fault. They apologized at every turn. They made what should have been a harrowing experience into the nicest picnic I’ve ever been on. If the Four Seasons ran FEMA, things would be very different between George Bush and Kanye West.”


“Micah Solomon conveys an up-to-the minute and deeply practical take on customer service, business success, and the twin importance of people and technology.” –Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder

Micah Solomon Customer Service Keynote Speaker headshot

Micah Solomon • Author-Speaker-Strategist • Customer Service – Marketing – Loyalty – Leadership

See Micah in action — including video and free resources — at Or, click here for your own free chapter  of Micah’s new book,  High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service (AMACOM Books) and Micah’s #1 bestseller, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization