Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a customer service representative!
I don’t think that store clerks, customer service reps, and sales people realize that the power over good and evil is theirs to control. They hold the keys to the Emerald City and don’t even know it.
I may be mixing a little comic book and Wizard of Oz action into my story here, but my point is that these people can make or break a customer’s experience in one phone call, store visit, web response, etc. Customer service applies to more than just retail outlets, though. Restaurants, entertainment establishments, and service providers all offer their own form of it.
I’ve had more than my fill of the good, the bad, and the crabby when it comes to customer service; but, it’s amazing what a difference a little positive, proactive customer service can make.
To illustrate, let me tell you about an experience I had recently.
The Big Man wanted an iPhone 4s for Christmas. He didn’t really need one (IMHO), but he’d been drooling over them for weeks and dropping hints big time about how much he wanted one.
It was a couple of weeks before Christmas and I decided to call around to a few stores to see who had the best price. To my surprise, most stores were out of stock. It seems the iPhone was a hot ticket item for Christmas 2011. I could have shopped earlier, but I didn’t want any notation about a new 2-year activation to show up on our wireless bill because the Big Man would see it and have confirmation of his “surprise” Christmas gift.
After calling several stores, I found success at our local Radio Shack. The sales clerk told me that while they didn’t have one in stock at that store, there was one at another area store and he could have it shipped here. He told me that it would arrive at the local store early the following week. When I asked him to PLEASE not sell it to anyone else, he assured me that he couldn’t because the phone was reserved in my name in their inventory system.
The following Monday, I did not receive a call letting me know the phone had arrived.
I did not receive a call on Tuesday.
By Wednesday morning, just a few days before Christmas, I was starting to get worried and called the store. I was told that the salesperson I had spoken with was not in at the moment but he would call me that afternoon.
By 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, I still had not heard from him, so I decided to visit the store myself.
My salesperson had just arrived. I watched him check the computer for my phone and noticed a look of panic start to come over him. Finally, he looked up and told me that the phone wasn’t showing up in the system anymore. He had no idea what might have happened to it.
I asked him to call the other store and check on the phone.
We learned that the phone had been sent to my local store with the district manager and was then sold to another customer. This led to some confusion as to whether the phone that was sold was actually the one I ordered or another phone.
In any case, the salesperson said there was nothing he could do.
It was 4 days before Christmas and I was out of luck.
I left the store, sat my car, and took to the Twitterverse to vent my frustration.
To my surprise, I immediately received a response to my tweet from Radio Shack on Twitter.
I sent them the details of what happened and heard from Radio Shack’s Social Media Manager almost immediately.
They wanted to make things right. He told me he had an iPhone sitting on his desk at that very moment and would like to overnight it to me if I would send him my mailing address.
This Chick was not born yesterday. I was skeptical. I searched the sky for flying pigs and didn’t see any, but I sent him my address anyway.
When the doorbell rang the next morning, my heart started to beat a little faster. It was FedEx delivering a package.
I opened the package with shaking hands and nestled inside was a brand new iPhone, an emergency battery charger, and a handwritten note from the Social Media Community Manager wishing me and my family a Merry Christmas.
I was floored.
I looked in the package again and couldn’t find an invoice.
There wasn’t one! It was just the phone, emergency charger, and thoughtful note.
I was in tears. I could not believe it. With one tweet, one email, and one package, this manager at Radio Shack’s corporate headquarters had completely turned around a bad situation and saved my Christmas present to my husband.
It was an unprecented act of kindness and generosity and I was overwhelmed. I tweeted my happiness to the world.
The Big Man and I told everyone we know about what happened, and everyone agreed that Radio Shack really came through for us.
The world may be filled with the good, the bad, and the crabby, but Radio Shack is a superhero.
Thank you, Radio Shack. You rock.
Chickaliciousness: Fantastic 5 for superior customer service.