My friend, Patricia has a mania for growing hollyhocks. She had some bad luck with a packet of $4 mail order Red Halo seed. They didn’t sprout!
Before you think a $4 pack of seed is small potatoes – let me remind you that gardening is THE number one leisure activity. Which makes the mail order seed business a highly competitive industry.
Back to Patricia- disappointed she emailed the company with her problem. Almost immediately Summer Hill Seed, sent her a personal reply and included a list of possible solutions. And Patricia was ok with their response. She ordered a replacement and then a few days later this note arrived in her in-box.
We packed your order today and I see that you ordered another packet of the Red Halo. I waited to send a replacement because we requested a fresh batch in case that germination wasn’t up to par.
I sent an extra packet of the Red Halo, a gift of the Lavender Halo (which is gorgeous!) and I sent a $10 gift certificate to help make up for the disappointment in germination of the Red Halo. You can use the gift certificate on anything at anytime. It does not expire.
I appreciate your business and you are important to us. We want all of our customers to have fun with their seeds.
Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
Wow!! Summer Hill not only responded in a timely manner but they had flagged her future orders. Once they saw she had ordered more, Summer Hill made sure they sent a make-good plus two bonuses. In doing so, they transformed a good (but slightly disappointed) customer into a good customer for life.
With that being said – when I led the makeover of a broadcast TV website we took much the same approach to customer service. Might I add that this website gets millions of hits a day. So when it came time to go live you can imagine the pushback we received.
But all was not lost.
Each individual customer complaint (which there were thousands right after the launch) received an individual reply for their feedback. We did end up dedicating extra staff for this and used a great customer service cloud-based software, but I personally answered hundreds of emails in the first few days.
Nine times out of ten, the question “Is there something I can help you find?” solved the problem.
Within a week, the tide had turned. Many of our unhappy customers actually reconnected to let us know they had a change of heart and had come to like the change.
The takeaway here?
Relationships matter just as much today as they did in my great-grandmother Ester Mae’s rural community store. People want to buy from people they know and trust. Good customer service not only keeps your customers happy, but it builds trust – fast!
What have you done lately to make sure your customers are happy?