I like my customer service. Do me wrong, and I’m done. Pretty simple.
So just as often as I am want to point out bad customer service experiences, I’m equally want to point out good ones.
Last night was a good one.
I bought a pair of dress shoes from Men’s Wearhouse about six months ago. They are arguably the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. My one complaint is that the heel on those shoes is disintegrating. Last night after FHE, we ran into the local Men’s Wearhouse to see what could be done.
I was immediately directed to the store manager…
- Lesson #1–When you don’t have decision making power, get the customer to the person who can do that as fast as possible. Simply put, don’t waste my time when you know you can’t help me.
… who looked over the shoes. After a brief discussion, he offered two solutions: he’d repair the soles at his cost OR he would offer me a new pair of shoes at half price.
- Lesson #2–I know you can do something for me, and you do to. Offer it. Better than that, offer me a choice, and I’ll feel like you are really caring for me and watching out for me.
I was leaning towards the prior option, but I chose the latter knowing that I’d need those shoes while they were being resoled. As we talked about the options, the manager took the time to educate me on better shoe maintenance.
- Lesson #3–When warranted, educating the customer in a friendly, approachable manner can work wonders. I needed that information, I felt grateful to receive it, and because he had set up the experience to be a good one, I took it. All of it.
Instead of turning me back over to an associate, he personally helped me select a new pair of shoes.
- Lesson #4–Don’t pass the customer back down the food chain. Keep me with you. You’ve gained my trust and you’re working with me. Why make me redo all that with someone else?
He did as any good shoe salesman would do and brought out a range of options and sizes. As we were trying on the fifth pair, he mentioned that he would offer me a second pair of shoes on the current sale price (buy one, get one 50% off). I wasn’t intending on buying a second pair of shoes, but since he was already giving me the first at 50% off and offered the deal on the second pair as well, I took him up on it. The simple truth is that my life is going a direction where wearing dress shoes is going to be more common. Time to go that route with my shoes as well.
- Lesson #5–I might have a problem, but I’m still a customer. If you’ve done your part to resolve the concerns without putting blame or stress on my shoulders, you’ve put me in a position where I’m pretty open to options. Don’t push the sale, but if you’ve got a deal and reason to think I might be receptive, go for it.
On the way to the cash register, the manager pointed out shoe trees and their benefits. He again took the time to educate me on proper shoe maintenance, something I’m not all that educated on, and offered to throw in the shoe trees for basically free.
- Lesson #6–There are fans of a company and then there are raving fans of a company. The difference between the two is that fans like your products; raving fans like you. I, and others, will always buy products I like from people I like before I buy products I like from people I don’t even know. Think about your favorite stores. Why are they your favorites? I good pretty much guarantee that somewhere in that is a personal relationship with the people of the store, not the products.
In the end, we walked out with almost $300 worth of shoes and shoe trees for about $140. Total savings? Just shy of 50% off. Knowing the markup, Men’s Wearhouse still probably made money on the deal, but more than that, they gained a life-long customer and a very positive review.
- Lesson #7–Bad news travels really fast. Good news not as fast, but it does travel. Which kind of word-of-mouth advertising to you want?
As we left, I told the manager that he had presented a crash-course in customer service. He just smiled and said that he hated to see a customer go away unsatisfied. I somehow doubt that’s possible when dealing with him.
Oh, and a bonus lesson for the customer….
- Lesson #8–When your kid has a temper tantrum, does he get what he wants? No. If you have a temper tantrum in the store, do you think the store is going to bend over backwards to help you out?
When you have an issue, be polite, be calm, and ask for help. Be specific in your complaint, be honest in your assessment, and never make threats. If you can smile when greeting the first customer service rep, you’re on the right track.