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Now That's Outstanding Customer Service!
In a past life
In a past life I was the customer service coordinator for the help desk of a large company. It was my job to ensure that all of our phone and desktop reps were delivering outstanding customer service, meeting our service commitments and pleasing our customers. If there was a service issue, I was the one to put a smile on, apologize profusely and tell the customer everything was going to be alright. I have, as a result, incredibly high expectations when it comes to outstanding customer service. I am also a realist, and know that my expectations will seldom be met until there is some global customer satisfaction epiphany and everyone on the planet embraces the idea that when someone pays your for something, you should at least me nice to them. When I receive outstanding customer service, I praise it. I lift it up to the heavens and sing its glories. I give kudos and high fives and the occasional chest bump. When service does not meet my expectations, beware. I can be Greg-House-like in my critique.
A good thing
Today, I sing praise. My coffee maker passed away last night, leaving a dear coffee-loving friend in the lurch. I drink coffee in much the same way as I breathe air - constantly. This was not just a coffee maker, it was a part of my family. It was the other woman. It was a soul mate. It always knew what I wanted, when I wanted it, and how I wanted it. It never argued, it just loved me unconditionally, and gave me the best coffee I could ask for. I was saddened, and troubled, as she (the coffee maker) was less than a year in my kitchen. Last year about this time, I had replaced my previous maker, which had passed on, with her. (Same model, just shinier.) This particular coffee maker came with a three year warranty. So I thought I'd place a call just to see what we could do to fix my problem.
It was late last night and I was calling the customer service center less than fifteen minutes before it closed. I could not find my receipt, nor could I find my warranty card. I called anyway, expecting to be told I had to call back with my purchase information, or to sit on hold until the phone system announced the service center was closed and dropped my call. All I had was the model and serial number off the unit.
I waited on hold for a little less than a minute. When "Doug" answered, I explained my situation and asked what type of information he would need to see if there was any coverage on the coffee maker. Doug explained that while it is nice to have proof of purchase, all he really needed was the model and serial number to get started. I passed along that information. Doug then verified my phone number and address and told me he was going to send out a new coffee maker.
He what? A new one? Really? No fight? No need for a tirade or stomping of my feet to get what I needed? It couldn't be that simple.
Do you provide feedback when you get good service.
Satisfied and then some
Doug went on to provide me with information about my new maker. It would be the same model and same color. I was to return the old maker in the same box in which the new one arrived. He explained that the new one would ship out on Wednesday (today) and that I should see it by the beginning of next week. Doug also explained that normally customers are asked to pay for the shipping of the new equipment, but because I have been inconvenienced, he was going to waive the shipping charges.
I didn't have to ask for any of it. I was stunned. I was amazed. I was sold. This was absolutely by far the best service experience I have ever had. Remember now, I was not expecting to be able to accomplish anything in this call. Doug the service rep sense that I was in mourning over my loss and took control of the situation. He carefully set my expectations. He apologized for the inconvenience of having his product fail on me. He quickly came to a resolution of the problem that would be tot he satisfaction of both parties. Customer Service 101.
I thanked Doug profusely and let him know that I greatly appreciated his help and that this brand of coffee maker will forever be in my kitchen, not just because of the overall product quality, but also because of the way that this company stands by its products and provide a high level of customer service.
To sum up
In short, it is easy to provide outstanding customer service and leave your customers with a warm and fuzzy feeling all over. Listen to the issue, understand their request, set expectations and deliver on promises. It is that simple. Do this and you will be praised.