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  • Jay Zweibaum

Customer Service: A real life case study

Customer Service is hard, Great customer service is rare!

I love my fitness tracker and was disappointed when it broke after less than 18 months. So I called the company and explained what happened. They were apologetic and offered me a decent 25% discount on a new one as the warranty had already expired...OK, so not great but I was relatively appreciative.

After considering, I ordered my new one and used a gift card that I had to buy it, but the subtotal was not all inclusive so I didn't cover the total cost. I got an email and updated the card to a different gift card.

Unfortunately, after a few weeks, my new device hadn't arrived so I called to find out what happened. They said that the order had an error but they were able to push it through. They re-processed my order and THEN the tax amount changed. They couldn't explain why this occurred. At this point, I was getting frustrated and said I would give them a different card for the difference. NO, they can't do that (wait, what, everyone can take multiple payments).

So I asked them to please just credit me $2 and push my order through -- after all, this was not my mistake. After talking to 2 more layers of support, I reached the top and they just said NO! They even said that they reached out to HQ and that the answer was a firm, sorry, NO!

Can't take two forms of payment and won't credit $2 -- Do you want my business? Am I being unreasonable? No sir, but we have already provided you a 25% discount and that is it.

It turns out that the fitness company has very tight controls on their customer service process, which I understand. But, they are not empowering their customer service teams to truly create great experiences for their customers. It appears that they would rather save $2 than to have their customers remain loyal and share their amazing customer service experiences with the world.

Truly great customer experience is hard. Having an enlightened leadership team that values long-term customer relationships rather than short term gains is imperative to being world class. Truly building brand loyalty comes with a great product AND great guest experience. That winning combination is almost as rare as the famed unicorn.

Who do you think about when it comes to great customer experience? Nordstrom, LL Bean or Zappos, for instance?

I finally ordered my new device (solely for current economic reasons), again, with a credit card -- do you know what happened? Another error message and it didn't process. I called them out on Twitter and do you know what they said? Sorry, nothing we can do! It seems to me that they are missing the point or actually do not care.

What do you think about customer service? Is it important? If you have a great meal but the service stinks, do you go back? Have you had similar experiences lately?

To truly be a great customer service organization, this company needs to update their software to ensure that orders don't get hung up in processing and that there is more flexibility in payment options. Additionally, by empowering their employees they will drive towards better outcomes and better experiences. Finally, customer service protocols should never get in the way of great service. Again, providing the ability for an agent to "make it right" will only result in happier and more loyal customers.

It wasn't that the agents weren't trying to be helpful, it was that they were incapable of solving the problem based on the controls installed.

If you value great customer service, it makes sense to shop or visit places that do too. And always, thank you for your interest!

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