My colleague Frank Capek at the Concours Group is running a project collecting outstanding customer experiences, with a view to analyzing them. He asked for examples – so here is my favorite:
Back in the early nineties I lived outside Boston, as a doctoral student. The children were small and required a lot of small items whenever we were out and about, so I used to wear one of those photographer’s vests, with lots of pockets and good ventilation. Now they are hallmarks of the elderly suburban dork, but back then they were moderately fashionable.
One day I needed a some new shirts, so I called Eddie Bauer‘s order phone. I ordered the shirts, and then (since I am a certified nerd, known to do that kind of thing) struck up a conversation with the Eddie Bauer lady at the other end:
Espen: By the way, I bought one of those photographer’s vests about a year ago – that thing has been great, very practical, use it all the time.
Eddie Bauer Lady: Great – is it still OK?
E: Sure! Well, come to think of it, there was a small tear under one arm, but my wife mended it, so it’s fine.
EBL: I’ll send you a new one.
E: But .. I am not complaining, it is fine!
EBL: They aren’t supposed to tear like that.
E: Well, but I have been using it a lot…
EBL: Still, that’s not supposed to happen. Hang on a second [sound of furious typing in the background] .. hm… here it is, yeah, you bought it last summer, at $49. [more typing] Seems we don’t have that kind any more, we have a new one, costs $54, I’ll send you that.
E: Er..well, thanks!
EBL: No problem. Anything else, Sir?
A few days later the new vest arrived. Later, I was told that the customer service representatives at Eddie Bauer have a certain dollar amount, per customer, that they can use at their discretion. In this case, it cost Eddie Bauer a garment.
On the other hand, I have mentioned this incident in many presentations around the world, and now also in my blog, so I think Eddie Bauer got their money’s worth in customer satisfaction and free advertising. And I still shop there.
Anyone else with similar stories, or other outstanding customer experiences you want to share?