Providing great customer service often involves giving some sort of concession in order to keep your customer happy. The concession generally comes in the form of a free or discounted product or service and is usually given to resolve a dispute, but is sometimes given in order to prevent one or to find out whether or not there was even a dispute in the first place.
The following are three specific examples of what companies have done for me in the last month to keep me happy:
McDonald’s – I’m Lovin’ It!
On my way back to work from a meeting one afternoon, I stopped at the nearest McDonald’s for their McDouble. For some reason my sandwich wasn’t ready in a timely manner, so I was asked to pull ahead and wait. I did so and waited for what seemed like a fast-food-eternity (about four minutes), before a smiling employee brought me my sandwich. She apologized for the delay and gave me a free small order of French fries to make up for the wait. She also handed me something I’d never seen before: a coupon good for any McDonald’s sandwich! It was a lovely, thick, business card-sized coupon stamped with a gold foil “M.” I would love to show you a picture of it, but it soon burned a hole in my pocket and I used it for their most expensive sandwich later that day. I’m lovin’ it!
Amazon Instant Video
I recently downloaded the Amazon Instant Video channel onto my Nintendo wii. I already had a Netflix subscription, but I figured I’d browse the pay-per-view selection. Sure enough, I found an obscure film I’d been wanting see for a while: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (Craven’s attempt to redeem himself after the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise became increasingly comical and ridiculous under the direction of others, but I digress). So I shelled out the $2.99 and watched the film, but unfortunately there where several instances throughout my viewing experience when the film would freeze and begin its annoying buffering sequence. To make matters worse, the buffering kept occurring during suspenseful moments—however I still managed to enjoy the film. A few days later, I received a customer service email from Amazon apologizing for the choppy transmission as well as notifying me that my account had been credited for the cost of the rental. One … two … free pay-per-view!
I recently received a customer service email from Musician’s Friend. The subject of the email was, “Gerald, Is This Goodbye?” It appeared that I hadn’t purchased anything from them in over a year and this email was an attempt to find out why. Did they screw up? Was I unhappy with them? Was I harboring some sort of resentment towards them and running all over town smearing their once good name? No, I had just been purchasing my musical supplies locally, that’s all. The email was an unexpected delight in that it contained an e-coupon worth $20 toward virtually any merchandise sold on their website.
But wait … the story gets better:
I went to their website, added just under $20 worth of items to my shopping cart, and proceeded to the checkout. I then punched in the e-coupon code, but for some reason only one cent was deducted from my order. My next step was to utilize the Live Chat feature on their website. Through instant messaging, I conversed with a very helpful and respectful representative who gave me the phone number of the proper support person to solve my issue. I called the number and spoke with an equally gracious representative who pinpointed the problem: in order for the $20 e-coupon to take effect, I needed to place a minimum of $20 worth of merchandise into my cart. I selected another item and was able to place my order over the phone, after midnight, directly with a native English-speaking representative. Now that rocks!