Friday, May 29, 2009

Customer Service Please

It's been a while (almost a year) since I've blogged here, but something happened today that reminded me just how important customers are to Legends Of America, and how being a fanatic about customer service is a rarity in today's business world.

Kathy and I both are sticklers for good customer service. Someone pays too much for shipping, through no fault of their own, we make sure to refund the difference asap. Someone has a complaint about a product they received, we do everything we can to make it good. Someone finds a problem with the web site, whether it be incorrect information, or a broken link, we do everything possible to correct the issue as quickly as possible, or help the user understand the information better. The bottom line is people have a choice, and we want to continue to be that choice for our readers and customers.

Last week I bought a new laptop for our business at the local Micro Center. I added more bells and whistles, including a 3 year platinum protection plan, winding up spending over $2500. I left it there to be upgraded and didn't get a chance to pick it back up until a couple of days ago. The service people were very nice and friendly, and my overall customer experience was good.. until I got home that is.

After taking out the computer box from the bag, then opening the box (these details aren't important until next paragraph), I found that the technician had apparently forgot half my power cable. I had the power adapter, just not the other end that plugs into the wall and adapter. Not a big deal, I'm sure they are a dime a dozen, but since I already spent quite a bit of our technology budget on this one laptop, I figured I would call and request that they find the missing cable. The tech that answered was courteous and went to the back to find it, but couldn't. No problem, he said they would get me another one and just come by the next day to pick it up.

So today I went back to Micro Center to pick up my cable. After getting a blank stare from the young gal up front, she had her supervisor go to the back to investigate. Not too long after he came back up with a power cable for my adapter. Happy ending right? It could have been, except for the fact he just couldn't take responsibility for their mistake. He said, with a scowlish grin on his face, looking at me like I was trying to pull a fast one for a freebee, "Your power cable must of fallen in the parking lot when you left, but here is another one". Well now, that would be a trick since it was packed neatly in a box, then in a bag. I'm sure that power cable just rolled right out of the plastic and the box and the bag since I must be very irresponsible with how I hold things while I walk through a parking lot.

My point is simple. This very small statement from a supervisor turned what could have been a good customer service experience into a sour event. I could have very easily walked away with the memory of Micro Center being very helpful, courteous, and responsible (which overall they were), however my memory now is that one statement, putting the blame back onto me, the customer, instead of simply apologizing and handing over the cable with a smile.

I'm sure this is written about ad nauseam, but business owners should be more critical of their customer service. While I don't expect top notch treatment at the local burger joint, I would have expected a little better after spending that much at a computer store. I think it makes it worse to get it from a supervisor, as the employee's surely look to him for leadership and knowledge. Is this the kind of knowledge you would want your employee to gain? Despite the fantastic service I received otherwise, do you think this store will be my first choice when making my next computer purchase?