At a past position I held, I was in charge of all of our printing and marketing pieces that went out the door to our customers. During one of our more time-sensitive and important mail campaigns, I approved a mail piece that went out; I sent it off to the print company, and after I received the mail piece back, I was horrified. A very important piece of coding was incorrect and I didn’t catch it before I sent it out the door. Turns out one of my employees transposed an all important code and I didn’t catch it.
I called the printing company. In a bit of a panic, I was glad to get right to a customer service rep. As it’s a rather big company, it seemed to me they must have agents just waiting online so the customer doesn’t have to wait to speak to someone.
I kept my cool, but again, I had to admit: I had messed up.
After telling the CSR what happened, she explained that I could return the mail pieces for a credit, as a courtesy to our company, to which I replied, “I have to send these out the day after tomorrow.”
She said she would Fed-Ex out the new mail pieces and I would have them the next day. I could return the old mail pieces at my convenience. They paid the shipping cost and even though they had no use for these mail pieces, they ate the cost.
You can imagine, this experience made me an extremely devoted customer. I spoke two weeks ago about using excellent customer service as a marketing tool; I elaborate on it here.
I will never forget the name of that printing company, and everywhere I go, I continue to think of them every time I have a printing need. The irony is, by fixing a problem, you can actually make the experience more memorable and gratifying for the customer.
Panicked and vocal customers are an asset; they will tell you what’s wrong. Too many customers just get angry and quiet, and you never hear from them again. Turn around an unfortunate situation to the customer’s desire, and you will create devoted fans, for little or no extra cost.
The moral to this story is that every customer service call is an opportunity to make your customers cheerleaders for your company. Years ago, I was working as a restaurant manager, and the owner said to me, “Do what the customer wants, PLUS one more thing.” This is a credo I think we can all take to heart and adopt into our paradigms and philosophies. Make your call center an enjoyable place to call, make your processes tailored to appease customer requests, and hire quality people, and you will create Customers For Life.