If You Were the Customer…?

I’m not a very demanding customer.

Which is a flaming lie. I am very demanding. When I’m laying down my pesos, I have customer expectations. The more pesos, the higher my expectations. I even have high expectations when the pesos aren’t mine.

I got a gift certificate for Christmas for an online picture framing service. This kind of gift fell into the category of way-too-nice-for-the-likes-of-me, so I used it to upload a picture to frame for a friend. The company had a great website. The navigation and tools were intuitive and easy to use. Check out was simple, uncomplicated. I was happy (a.k.a., not actively dissatisfied) at the point of sale. I was so not actively dissatisfied that I ordered a gift certificate for myself. So far so good.

A couple of days later, I got an email from the company. I was decidedly displeased with the opening sentence…

Regarding your recent order, the image that you submitted does not fit the exact proportions for the size of canvas you have chosen…

This is how they get you, I thought. Now it’s going to say, “So in order to fix this problem, you will need to send us $????? to rectify your screw up…”

Sometimes I’m glad to be wrong. What the email went on to say was:

In order to assure a good fit, we are going to make your canvas a custom size of 16×21 instead of 16×20. We will do this at no additional charge to you. Our goal is for you to be completely satisfied with the finished product, so we just wanted to keep you informed of this modification. We will get started immediately. We will do a great job for you!

I’ve been known to call customer service hot-lines when I’m not happy. I’ve been in customer service. You can’t fix what you can’t see…meaning you can’t remedy a problem that isn’t brought to your attention. I consider my willingness to say something about my customer service experience is a gift to a receptive customer service organization.

I’ve also been known to call customer service hot-lines when I’m pleased like I was with the service I got from Canvas on Demand. So I called. After being told that “Due to high call volumes….” I got a voice generate message that offered, “If you’d like a representative to call you back shortly, press 1.” Wow. Cool. I pressed 1 and awaited for their call.

Moments later, I got a call from fresh-faced Melissa. Okay, maybe Melissa looked like a troll doll. But her voice said that I was important to her and that she could think of no one else she’d rather talk to than me. So I told her a few things.

First, I told Melissa that I loved the technology used by Canvas on Demand. The website, the phone voice response system, the call-back option, the intelligent email response, etc. All of it made me feel less like a number and more like a person…even though it was merely intelligent technology that gave me the warm fuzzy.

Second, I told Melissa that I expected that the sizing issue would cost more, delay the delivery or be impossible to rectify. I let her know how impressed I was with the email letting me know what was going on and how her company was on top of the problem.

Then she surprised me by saying, “I have your photo pulled up right now. I love it. The colors are so vibrant yet subtle. Did you take it?”

Long story short, Melissa and I will be wed in June…

My point is that all companies utilize technology, hire people, craft policies and sell stuff. The best companies align all of those tangibles around a most intangible deliverable that leads to a loyal, satisfied, repeat customer.

Now stay sharp. My pesos might be coming to a store near you.

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