About a year and a 1/2 ago I made a concious decision to acknowledge any mistakes we made, and make them right. With every error (ours, or the channel that took the order, or the customers, or a lost shipment) I would send a note, or make a phone call, or give something away.....I would take the fall, eat the crow, NOT pass the buck, and um be the adult in the relationship. It was hard at first, however it comes so second nature to me now I have to catch myself before I give away too much, or take the blame too easily.
We are a small company, yet we always want to make good on an error, and we ALWAYS want happy customers. Sometimes all it takes is an, "I'm sorry" other times we replace the product....one time we were so quick to make our customer happy, we decided to replace a lost order when it was lost, even though a trace was being put on the shipment (it would take two weeks). Miraculously the package showed up the same day our replacement did.
Not everyone feels like I do about making the customer happy. If they did, then I assume companies would never go out of business, competition would not over take you, and a customer's website would not cause a company to react.
A few Christmas's ago we got a call that a magazine in New York HAD to have Lil' Conductor Name Tiles for a photo shoot. They were in love with our products that year, and were very excited to include us in the shoot. They needed the tiles the next day, but the shoot was 2 days later. So, I shipped them Priority Over Night (before 10 am delivery), hand delivered them to the Fed Ex drop-off and started counting down the hours till they arrived safe and sound in New York.
Day One I waited the next day, and waited and waited. By around 2:00 p.m. I was pretty frantic and I started calling Fed Ex to track the package (Fed Ex on line claimed it was still in transit). The Customer Service Representative (#1) assured me they were on the truck to be delivered. Two hours later....another Customer Service Representative (#2) gets very irritated with me and tells me it will be delivered. One hour later.....third Customer Service Reject (#3) calls me back to say the address is wrong. I assure it is not, she claims it is wrong, in fact the driver INSISTS there is no magazine there, it is a vacant building.
Day Two I start calling first thing in the morning, now I am speaking with Customer "I have no idea what I am doing" Service Representative (#4), and she swears up and down the driver says the address does not exist. I get off phone, start searching for addresses on line. Someone else in the office gets on the phone, gets the magazines receptionist and she guarantees us the address is correct. I get back on the phone with Fed Ex , now I am speaking with #5.....um ya same story, the driver says the address does not exist...blah blah blah.
This went on for the entire day, then Day Three, Day Four....oh wait by Day Five we got good news:
5 days later the driver finally delivers the package to the address I had given them, the one that was on the package, the address I assured them was correct. I actually got a call from another Customer Service Idiot (#27 I think...) giving me the "good news".
Our product did not make it into the the photo shoot. We have NEVER been asked to be in another photo shoot for that magazine. The magazine never responds to our publicist or our product placements........ever. They pass on our products....every time.
Soon after that experience my Fed Ex Account Representative calls to see how things are going, and to congratulate me on the HUGE increase in shipping (did I mention it was December?). I relay the entire story to her.... and our other recent problems...ah challenges - oh what the hell PROBLEMS we had; a number of our packages broken, late shipments and lost orders. She was sorry and assures me Fed Ex wanted to keep my business.
The very next day I got a large box in the mail from Fed Ex. It had a card in it that said, "Thanks for being a loyal customer". As I continued to pull stuff out of the box I found a clear plastic container with the words Fed Ex on it...............and gum, a small bag with chicklettes.
So when sending important packages that absolutely, positively have to get there over night....if it doesn't, don't worry Fed Ex will send you gum. Ya, gum...that makes it alright I guess. I would like to think they meant well, but gum? Where is the correlation or connection? What would I rather they do - reimbursed me for my $40 shipping charge? Gave me a discount on shipping? Sent me a calculator?
Yes to the first two... I would have rather they do nothing instead of sending me...gum. I never thought I would get gum. Gum was a bit of an insult....and all I kept thinking about at the time was the line from Friends when Ross and his ex-wife had their baby, Monica finally gets to hold the baby and she keeps telling him, "I'll always have gum"