Good Customer Service – Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

For all the times where large companies are criticized for not doing enough for the customer, there are very few reports of customer service that is above and beyond the customer’s expectations.

I am happy to report three such encounters in the past week here at Basex.

First there is the matter of my IBM ThinkPad.  Basex has long been an IBM customer and we have more or less standardized on the ThinkPad line, which is now owned by Lenovo, the Chinese computer giant that purchased IBM’s PC group in 2005.

My current ThinkPad, an IBM T42 (my 5th since 1999, when I started with the IBM ThinkPad 600), had developed the unfortunate habit of crashing when  being returned to its dock.  Lenovo had changed the motherboard two months ago for the same problem and this particular machine has had other issues dating back to its arrival (despite the problems, I still liked the machine), so Lenovo offered me a new ThinkPad T60 which has more hard disk space, a little more RAM, and a much faster processor.  In addition, Lenovo is sending me a new dock and extra battery since the existing accessories are incompatible with the new machine.

Lenovo could have taken a more defensive position, since the machine was two years old (the warranty is three years with onsite service), but they chose not only the path that will lead to greater customer satisfaction but probably one that will minimize their costs in having to support my existing machine.

The second example comes from Kaz, a healthcare appliance company that recently took over Slant Fin’s humidifier line.  Our office manager discovered that a brand new Slant Fin humidifier wasn’t providing any humidity (we find that humidifiers in the office keep down static electricity and make the environment much more comfortable).  After contacting Slant Fin and being referred to Kaz, the Kaz customer service representative simply asked our office manager to return the product’s electrical cord, upon receipt of which she would ship a brand new humidifier.

I have to give Kaz a lot of credit for common sense.  Why spend money to return a product when it will only be discarded.

Our third customer service story is a more personal one.  My Conair hair dryer stopped working.  I liked this one because it folded and had a retractable cord, making it easy to put away.  I was going to buy the same model (mine was almost two years old) but couldn’t find it in any store.  So I contacted Conair and the customer service representative told me it was still under warranty and that they would send me a new and improved version of the same model at no charge if I sent mine back.  I was told to expect the replacement within three weeks.

I sent the defective unit back early last week and was pleasantly surprised to receive the replacement unit by Priority Mail first thing this morning (I am writing this on Monday, February 12th).

It is important to note that these examples of excellent customer service have nothing to do with which CRM or KCRM system the vendor is using.  Rather, it shows that these companies put themselves in the customers’ shoes and used tremendous amounts of common sense to keep customers satisfied.  And isn’t that what this is all about?

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

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