Can I have a replacement part, please

Just over a month ago I contacted the manufacturers of my cycle roof rack to say that a part had broken when I was putting the roof rack on a different vehicle. “That’s fine – could you let me have your address?” I did and was then told that a new part would be with me in the morning. And it was.

I fitted the part to my Mont Blanc cycle roof rack carrier and it worked fine once again. They are great cycle carriers and have the added advantage that, because of their nice deep slot for the front wheel, they hold the bike upright while you are attaching the supports as you put it on the roof. This makes the job very much easier.

I already knew this before I contact them. And would happily have paid for the damaged part. The fact that they didn’t ask for money, that they had a “no problem” approach to my call, and that the part was dispatched immediately merely confirmed my belief that I had bought a great product from Mont Blanc.

Merely…

And again

I have told others about this but I have never mentioned it on Twitter nor in the Pegasus NLP Blog. And I was reminded of it a little while ago by a Tweet from a friend @LouiseEbrey who, this evening, mentioned on Twitter that she too had received great service from a supplier – Duo Boots.

She contacted them today and asked if she could obtain a replacement button for the boots which she had bought, wait for it, three years ago. Again the “no problem” response and the button is now in the post!

Great service, yet again.

The common denominator?

What have both of these got in common?

  1. the “no problem” approach to customer request
  2. the immediate response that solved the problem
  3. the friendliness – the interest in the customer/caller
  4. the lack of a charge for the replacement part.

But they could have  made money by charging!  Yes, they could. And would still have received customer goodwill. But the customers wouldn’t have become advocates.

And customers who become advocates or apostles or proselytisers for a product are priceless!

Customer apostles

Apple (not, by any means, my favourite company – but that’s to do with my personal values) know this and aim to exceed customer expectations. And they do and it works.

I have used RIM/Blackberry phones for years – and continue to do so but only because of the tactile keyboard. I wanted to add a new e-mail account to my BlackBerry about 90 minutes ago. Not having the password with me in order to login to my settings I had to request that a new one be sent to me.

It has still not arrived.

That’s the kind of customer service that creates customer advocates and proselytisers – but for the competition!

(I changed to Samsung/Android a few months later – for a number of reasons).

It’s a new game

It’s amazing how few companies are able to recognise how dramatically things have changed in the last 5-10 years. It’s no longer enough to have a good product. Or a good marketing department. Or a big advertising budget. Or a good advertising agency.

The new game, prophesied by online guru Seth Godin about 10 years ago, is immediacy of interaction with individual customers – and doing so because you’re interested in them. And because you recognise that they have their own personal networks.

To make it in the future you have to be interested in and be able to communicate with your individual customers. And you have to give them what they want – quickly, easily, and in a friendly manner. Because if you don’t there are, or certainly will be, lots of other companies snapping at your heels.

Oh, and  thanks to Louise for reminding me to be an even more enthusiastic apostle for the excellent Mont Blanc cycle carriers (I was using mine this morning and 9 months after buying them still wonder at their great design).

Yebbit, is this sort of thing really that important?

Well, I’ve just checked and on her Twitter account Louise has just under 1000 people who follow her messages. A few hundred follow mine and and this blog is popular.  (And I learned a few days after writing this that Louise also mentioned her experience on the LinkedIn Yorkshire network of which she is a member – one of 9,000 members!)

Which means that both companies –Mont Blanc cycle carriers and Duo Boats are getting lots of free, and unsolicited, and sincere, and unpaid-for publicity as a result of their “no problem” approach.

Yes they could have followed a more pedantic, mercenary, “computer says no” approach and either said ‘we can’t help you’ or ‘there will be a small charge’.

And I’m sure both of us would have paid up happily – just to get the issues sorted. But would we have become apostles for the suppliers?

I doubt it.

It’s the new game – this business of making customers happy.

5 Comments

  1. Louise Ebrey on 25th January 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Thanks Reg, you’ve beaten me to it. I was planning to blog about this in the morning.
    You’ve done such a good job I’ll have to ensure I have a different slant

    Louise



  2. Reg on 25th January 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Hi Louise,

    You’ll do your version/angle and it’ll further add to the ‘rich tapestry’ – be sure to leave a note/link of/to the article here so people can follow the saga

    Reg



  3. Louise Ebrey on 26th January 2012 at 10:35 AM


  4. Karen Joergensen on 29th January 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Hi.
    Very interesting – and I agree with you! 🙂 What I come to think of is, when working in a public daycare institution, can I/we use the same common denominator? Or is it a different area, that calls for other demoninators?
    Greetings from Karen



  5. Reg on 29th January 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Hi Karen:

    If you already use Twitter you simply add @pegasusnlp to your list of ‘Following’

    And if you don’t use Twitter you will find an article expanding on the previous week’s Twitters/Tweets(!) on this blog.

    Be sure to either use the RSS feed or sign up for email alerts – see the sign-up box in the top right hand of this page

    Reg