Customer Service for Those in Need

Just had an epiphany about customer service, that might just give all merchants & vendors something to think about.

This one is hot off the presses… of my life.

We had a futon in storage, and we retrieved it today.  Six months ago, when I broke it down for storage, I carefully put all the bolts and other hardware in a zip-lock plastic bag.  Because I knew I would need them again.

So, six months later, where is that bag?  No, really, where is that bag???  This is not a rhetorical question – this is serious!  I’ve got a futon in parts, and no hardware to hold the sucker together!  In addition to being a bit aggrevating and embarrassing, it also has me in a spot of hot water with the missus. 

So when the going gets tough, the tough go online.  Oh great Google, does anyone sell futon hardware (without having to buy the whole futon)?  It turns out that many organizations do. 

BUT… the fly in the ointment is, each site makes it clear you must order the correct size hardware, because hardware purchases are not returnable.  A reasonable request, I can understand, but my problem is, having lost the bag of hardware, I have no freakin’ idea as to what size bolts, etc. that I need.

This, I think, is good opportunity to test the customer service skills of one of these businesses purporting to sell the needed hardware.  So I call Futon Planet, and explain my predicament to their friendly customer service rep.  He understood, and immediately assured me that it was pretty easy to get the measurements I needed in order to buy the correct product.  He didn’t try to sell me anything, he didn’t hustle for my order, he just told me the info I would need, and how to obtain that info, and that I could then be assured of buying the correct product.  Geez, I love this guy! 

Now, this seems like a sort of baseline quality customer service kind of experience, and perhaps it is.  BUT… what ratched up the significance with me is that I had made a dumb mistake by misplacing the bag of hardware, and I was mad at myself, and my better half was not exactly overjoyed with me at the moment.  When suddenly, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  A way out of this dilemma! 

And that is why a basic well-executed customer service interaction has me so fired up.  And that is my message to you (ah, you wondered if I would get around to that!):

You never know the mood or the circumstances surrounding anyone you serve, at any given time.  Therefore, the slightest kindnesses can sometimes be magnified because they came at exactly the right time.  "Customer service" is not just about taking orders and answering questions – it’s about SERVING your customer, and helping them.  You might just make a much larger impact than you ever expected. 

  — Chuck Dennis

2 Comments

  1. Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Good customer service is not about falling over yourself providing everything the customer asks for, but it is providing the customer what they rightfully should get for having bought a product from your company.

    • Posted June 21, 2011 at 1:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I agree with what you say, and I would add to it that great customer service starts before the sale. If you treat a prospect like a valued customer, your odds of actually gaining a paying customer are greatly enhanced.

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