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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Customer service

It should not come as a surprise when one experiences good customer service but it does. Unfortunately, regardless of the economic situation, few companies seem to understand that the best way to keep a customer is to provide exceptional treatment.

Six weeks ago, the battery in my laptop died and the best that the manufacturer's website (name withheld to protect the guilty) offered was 'usually ships in four weeks'. So I went to who shipped me a replacement battery almost immediately. Unfortunately, it did not work but, after a short telephone call, sent a return mailing label by e-mail and a new battery duly arrived in about a week.

So far so good. Regrettably the replacement battery was also defective. When I called, the customer service department asked, without having to be prompted, whether I wanted a second replacement or a refund. I opted for the refund and the return label, once more, arrived by e-mail in less than 15 minutes. No arguments, no fuss, no need for me to ask or have to fight for decent service.

While the company did not get my business for the laptop battery (I am now waiting patiently for the manufacturer to send one), I am still a customer for future battery orders and will recommend then to anyone who asks. It cost the company in the short term but, in the long term, they have kept a customer.

Would that more companies could learn this simple trick. The recession will end one day and customers will be back. Reputation and service will be critical in determining the number of currently dormant customers that return.

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