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The Best (and Worst!) Holiday Customer Service Moments on Film - MAP Communications - Blog

The Best (and Worst!) Holiday Customer Service Moments on Film

The holidays are here once again. Amidst the flurry of parties, shopping, and decorating you’ll do this season, chances are good you’ll also find time to watch a few of your favorite holiday films. Whether you’re a fan of the classics like It’s a Wonderful Life or prefer Will Ferrell’s more modern take on the holidays in Elf, you may notice a common thread: many holiday films include scenes depicting customer service interactions.

Customer service moments in Christmas movies are often played for laughs, but we can learn important lessons from such scenes. As you reflect on your accomplishments this year and plan your goals for the next, keep these moments in mind:

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The Horrors of Holiday Car Rental in Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Perhaps one of the most iconic comedic moments to ever be captured in a holiday film, the scene in which Steve Martin tries to rent a car in Planes, Trains and Automobiles definitely warrants a spot on our list. In the movie, Martin plays a man eager to make it home in time for Thanksgiving. Bad luck delays his efforts again and again, and by the time he reaches the rental car service desk, the man is out of patience. As the employee chats happily on the phone about her own holiday plans, Martin’s character grows more and more upset.

This anger is expressed in language that’s not quite polite enough to share in this post, but the scene makes an important point. We never know what emotional baggage our customers carry with them when they approach us. While there’s no excuse for folks to lose their temper at customer service workers, we can all work to find empathy and understanding for those who call us up after a hard day. The takeaway? Work with customers, not against them!

Mr. Bean Wraps a Gift in Love, Actually

The holiday rush can be tough to bear on both sides of the retail counter. While employees feel the crunch of long lines and never-ending shifts, shoppers feel a similar pressure to get everything done in time. This is perfectly depicted in the jewelry counter scene in Love, Actually. Actor Rowan Atkinson – most famous for his portrayal as the hapless Mr. Bean – plays a department store gift wrapper with a little too much flourish. In the scene, he takes his time crafting the perfect holiday gift display for his customer, played by Alan Rickman.

The problem? Rickman’s character is buying a gift for his mistress, and not the wife with whom he’s shopping. Though he attempts to hurry the gift-wrapping process along a bit quicker, Atkinson focuses more on the finished product than on the demand of the customer.

Customer service moments in Christmas movies are often layered with context and meaning, but there’s an easy takeaway from this scene: listen to your customer. While you might find a complimentary gift-wrapping service a treat, not everyone will appreciate or require such an offer. To keep folks coming back time and time again, be perceptive about their time and don’t waste it when they’re in a rush!

Santa Traumatizes a Shopper in A Christmas Story

There are few holiday movies as beloved as A Christmas Story. It’s one of the most universal and relatable films of the genre. One moment that particularly stands out in the minds of viewers is Ralphie’s interaction with Santa Claus. Rather than the jolly, friendly figure he’s supposed to be, this version of Santa is rude, impatient and more than a little frightening. After waiting in an endless line, Ralphie works up the courage to ask Santa for his deepest desire: A Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Model air rifle.

Santa’s response is a refrain echoed throughout the film: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Santa laughs at Ralphie’s request and kicks him down the slide for good measure. While no one could mistake this customer service moment as anything but horrifying, it’s worth remembering this season. Even when you find a shopper’s request ridiculous, it’s important to keep a professional demeanor and extend kindness instead of skepticism.

Buddy Goes the Extra Mile in Elf

Will Ferrell’s Elf has become a new classic in the holiday comedy genre, and for good reason. His character, Buddy the Elf, has become synonymous with childlike optimism and wonder. The other important takeaway from this film? Buddy is fantastic at designing the ultimate customer experience.

As detailed more thoroughly in another blog entry, we love the way Buddy channels his Christmas spirit into preparing his department store for shoppers. Not content with lackluster decorations around the store, Buddy stays up all night to create a winter wonderland worthy of Santa himself. Of all the customer service moments in Christmas movies, this one is perhaps the most inspiring. The lesson to remember?! It pays to go the extra mile for your customers!

Charity, Kindness and Connection in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

While you might remember the Home Alone for its slapstick comedy and Sticky Bandit-torturing scenes, we’re especially fond of the moment Kevin (played by Macaulay Culkin) meets Duncan, the owner of Duncan’s Toy Chest. As Kevin pays for a toy he’s selected, Duncan shares his plan to donate toys to a local children’s hospital. Kevin offers money to contribute to the cause, and Duncan offers him a selection of ornaments as a thank you.

While this moment may not be as iconic as other customer service moments in holiday movies, it’s certainly one of the most heartwarming. The scene depicts a real, human moment between a young customer and the owner of the toy store. It deserves a spot on our list for illustrating the possibilities awaiting generous, patient proprietors and their shoppers. It’s often difficult to see the forest for the trees during the busy holiday weeks, but it’s important to remember the potential for real human connection amidst the chaos. Channel Duncan this season and join your customers in making the world a little brighter in any way you can.

Your Partner is Holiday Customer Service

MAP Communications can help you extend the kind of warmth and kindness displayed in the very best customer service scenes in holiday movies. With the enthusiasm of Buddy the Elf and the generosity of Duncan, our team is ready to dive headfirst into the festive frenzy. If you require a little extra help this season, consider signing up for a free trial of our live answering service. We know it’ll give you the administrative boost your team requires to get through the busiest time of year.


Publish Date: December 19, 2019

2022 Buyers Guide Speech Technology

Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.


VoiSentry is a voice biometric engine for speaker verification / identification. It is delivered as a virtual instance to be controlled by an application via APIs and can be deployed in whatever is the most appropriate environment i.e. public cloud, private cloud or on-premise. It is generally deployed as a white-label or OEM product, whereby Aculab’s partner integrates it into their own solution/platform and offers it as an integral part of their service. Unless they go public with it, none of their clients would even know that it was Aculab’s VoiSentry engine under the hood. As with any biometric speaker verification system, VoiSentry is language and dialect independent.


Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.

Call Tracking Metrics

Execute automated actions based on words spoken by your customer.

Our intelligent word detection and transcription tools make it easier for you to decipher the content of your customer conversations and automate action based on those insights.

Transform the audio of your calls into speaker-organized scripts so you can easily search your call log for specific words from a conversation, or automatically detect when words of intent are spoken by your customer.

Listen in on and highlight common patterns in order to execute triggers to initiate a new action or workflow, such as emailing a manager if the word “cancel” is spoken on a call. You can also set up to automatically redact content from a transcript, such as sensitive health information transmitted on a call.


Daisee builds technology that empowers people to solve problems by making interactions simple and smart so they can have a more significant impact, be more productive and be better at what they do. We believe incremental improvements carry huge potency and provide exponentially greater change for the better.

Genesys customers can now automate risk and quality management using Daisee’s speech and sentiment analytics and remediation workflow software. Daisee helps improve customer experience, ensure regulatory compliance, identify missed commercial opportunities & training requirements as well as provide valuable insights back to the business directly from the frontline – the true voice-of-...
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Advanced speech recognition and natural language expertise that routes callers by simply asking ‘how can I help you?’. It allows customers to use their own words to ask for what they want and steers them to the right place.

Menus are eliminated altogether and contact centres can use a single inbound telephone number.

MattsenKumar LLC

SmartSpeech – The Best In Class Speech Analytics Software

An all-inclusive speech analytics application that enables you to visualize your audio using state-of-the-art speech recognition, transcription, and text analytics technologies.


InTone Suite - Emotion Detection via Voice Analysis
InTone™ is a voice analysis tool geared to detect genuine emotional and cognitive reactions regardless of the speaker’s language or chosen intonation.
It integrates into existing contact center environments and provides realtime indications of both client and agent emotional reactions throughout all ongoing calls. This unique set of indications assists managers and call center representatives to truly understand the client, improve call center performance, easily detect angry calls, elevate training efficiency and provide a tailored customer experience in every single call.

Nemesysco's contact center technology is also available in API and SDK forms.
Please visit our website for information about our product portfolio.

Voci Technologies Incorporated

V-Blaze Speech to Text
Our GPU-accelerated, AI-based technology enables you to deliver greater insights to the contact center by transcribing audio into analyzable text.

- Transcribe large volumes of recorded audio quickly
- Integrate transcripts with your analytics or business intelligence platform
- Reduce your hardware footprint and minimize total cost of ownership


Voxjar is your one-stop-shop for driving better phone calls with your customers. We're a modern Conversation Analytics and Call Coaching Platform.

- Custom Charts and Dashboards give you the freedom to analyze calls from the highest level down to the details of each conversation.

- AI-Powered Speech Analytics transcribes, searches, and analyzes your reps' phone conversations, at scale.

- Quality Assurance and Call Coaching tools let you evaluate and improve agent performance with a human touch.

- Long term recording storage for historical analysis

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