Customer Service: little things really matter

I heard the knock on the door and knew that it had finally arrived: later than I had hoped, but still within the time range promised. I happily signed to accept the package and went off to look at my new toy – a shiny new flat screen TV that my wife and I decided we would treat ourselves to as a belated Christmas present. No more old-fashioned huge grey monster in the corner. A happy customer – or so I thought.

We had been planning the purchase for a while and I had decided on a particular Samsung model that appeared to be very good value for money. The best deal was from a retailer who is ‘never knowingly undersold’ and has a good customer service reputation, but we decided to wait until after Christmas as better deals could appear in the sales. To my surprise, my first check after the festivities revealed a price rise of £50. We visited many local stores to find similar price rises, out of stocks and long waiting lists for purchasing. Clearly it was an even better deal than I had realised.

Undeterred, I decided to go online and see what was available. I quickly sourced the model in question at the original offer price from a company called Not having heard of the company I did a quick bit of research into their customer service and found a lot of promising customer reviews. What impressed me the most was that the business had also added comments occasionally either thanking customers for their positive comments or, on one occasion, accepting and apologising for an error they had made. A really good piece of evidence that they cared about their customer service reputation. I placed the order. I received a telephone security check the next day, email confirmations of order and confirmation of traceable delivery arrangements.

Little things mean a lot for customer service

When I started to assemble the TV I discovered that four small screws that hold the screen onto the stand were missing. Now this was very disappointing (boys and their toys) so I called MultizoneAV customer service (4.50pm Thursday) and a very helpful man said he would sort it out and ring me back. Five days later I’m still waiting for the return call.

On the Friday I was out and about on business and decided to try to purchase the missing screws as I knew the correct size. It proved to be much harder than I had imagined as various shop assistants apologised for not having any, but suggested alternative sources. Finally, I was directed to Wessex Fasteners  in Swindon. I found them on a small trading estate and walked through, what felt like a back door, to find a counter with two guys discussing a problem. I explained what I was after and one of them went to look for the screws, double checking the size as he thought they were rather small for the job. I only wanted 4 screws and noticed a £5 minimum charge sign, but thought it was a small price to pay to get to set up my new toy. He returned with the screws and refused to accept any payment saying he didn’t want the TV to fall on anyone.

Three examples of small things making a big difference to the customer service experience:

–          A probable picking error at the Samsung warehouse

–          A failure to return a phone call when all had been going very well

–          An unconditional goodwill gesture to a potential new customer

You will have doubtless heard the old adage that an upset customer will tell 10 or more of their friends about their customer service experience. Well in the social media age, that number is magnified many, many times.

Processes are an important part of service delivery, but never forget that your customers are first and foremost people and any purchase is an emotional event for them.

If you would like help with improving the value of your customers contact us and tell us more or

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2 comments… add one

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  • Gaurav Arora January 11, 2012, 4:53 pm

    I must compliment you for your style of writing as your blog is very well written and very informative at the same time.

    We value your feedback and would use your comments to improve our service. We take pride in the loyalty of our customers. Little things in customer service mean a lot and we are totally aware of that. All the products we sell are brand new and are sourced directly from the manufacturers. We understand picking errors are made and miscellaneous small items could be missing, which we can’t control.

    I hope that my phone call today will reassure you of our high standards of customer service and our commitment to being the best in the business.

    We hope to serve you again in the future.

    Gaurav Arora

    • Richard Lock January 11, 2012, 5:12 pm

      Thanks for the call Gaurav – much appreciated. I do understand that the missing part was out of your control, but so many retailers use that as an excuse for poor service. When my initial call was not returned I felt you may be heading down that route. Your quick response to my feedback and blog article demonstrates the importance to businesses of keeping track of their brand in social media channels. I appreciate and accept your genuine apology. You have provided a great real-time case study on how quickly a customer can be upset, but equally, how quickly and positively responding to the situation will actually build the customers trust in the brand, and subsequently loyalty. I will definitely be happy to purchase from you again. In the meantime, if I can assist you with any service or management training to help grow you business, just call.

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