My $10 Salt & Pepper Shakers

Last week I read this article on customer service. Liene recounts Randy Pausch’s story of going to Disneyland as a child, and accidentally breaking a set of $10 salt and pepper shakers he and his sister had just purchased as a gift for their parents. Because his parents were impressed at the way the store replaced the set for their chagrined son at no extra charge, they ended up bringing a lot of business to the company. Liene made the point that businesses should not stubbornly adhere to policy at the expense of customer service.

Well, I just had a somewhat similar experience. Earlier, I told you that my custom stamp arrived the wrong size. Even after many deep breaths and counting way past 1000, I was still furious. I called the company, and as politely as possible, let the poor customer service rep on the other end have it. As I told her, there are a few things that are sure to make a woman go utterly beserk, and messing with her wedding is one of them!

She told me that the best they could do was to create a new stamp, and I’d have it by Monday. Which, since I’m leaving early next Wednesday for Costa Rica, and we’re sending our invites before I leave, simply wasn’t going to work. And they told me that Saturday delivery wasn’t available for our area.

I ended up speaking to the company owner, who was wonderful, accepted full responsibility for the mistake (the file I sent was correct, they resized it for reasons unknown), and started checking around to see what she could do. She told me that she would call me back within 15-20 minutes. I will admit to a littleĀ skepticism — how often do companies actually get back to you as soon as they say? — but within 10 minutes, my phone rang. She had managed to get Saturday delivery with UPS, and said they would ship my stamp later today (normally a two day production time), and I’m supposed to have it by 2 pm tomorrow.

Turns out she had recently gotten married herself, and she understood how important it was to me to have this right, as soon as possible. Now, I’m sure that what the first woman I spoke with told me was their policy. However, the owner definitely took Liene’s advice — she was willing to go above and beyond the policy in order to provide good customer service. As a result, I’ve gone from being just about ready to denounce them in every forum I could (and I’m not exactly the “letter to the editor” type) to having a favorable impression of the company, despite the error.

So, today I’ll work on what I can (like the envelopes, which have their own story!), and tomorrow, hit the ground running to wrap things up!

Published in: on April 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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