Thursday, May 14, 2009

Writing the last chapter

I've just been on the receiving end of superb customer service - and it felt great!

I have spent several weeks selecting wallpaper for my bedroom. After getting down to a shortlist of 3 I went to the local Resene shop who offered - yes offered - to obtain large samples so I could pin them up and see how they work with the light and furnishings etc. Great idea - and a service - which I gladly accepted.

This week I saw that Resene have a 40% sale off wallpaper, so I placed my order. Within 4 hours I was telephoned and told that my chosen paper was not being made any more. I was a bit disappointed, but mostly annoyed that I was going to have to start choosing all over again.

"No no" the man said, "Leave it with me and I'll see what I can do". So I called in this morning expecting to lumber home with another 6 sample books. Nope.

That lovely man had a bunch of samples he'd sorted out for me which were very close to what I had tried to order. I picked one, which I think is actually nicer than the one I had originally picked, he rang through to confirm supply, then placed the order. It won't get here this week but he would still honour the 40% discount.

That is great customer service.

That is the sort of customer service I expect our librarians to deliver. I shudder when I hear a customer told that a book is not available sorry, and then they watch the customer leave empty handed. What I want to see is that opportunity used to open the door to a conversation about what we do have that the client may be interested in.

I am reading restaurateur Danny Meyer's book on management (which I heard about on Twitter) and he talks about writing the 'last chapter'. He argues that when something goes wrong in terms of cutomer service there is a golden opportunity to write a great last chapter to the story; people always tell others when things go wrong and you can author a great ending to the story which reflects well on you! Make it right, but do more than that, make the situation better.

In the Resene scenario this morning I have got a better wallpaper, at a great discount, and the shop saved me time - and I am telling the story.

In the library example a client could leave having discovered a bunch of other great authors or a new section in the library, all in super quick time, and you can bet they'll tell their story too!

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