As you may recall, I had my share of problems with my last laptop, which culminated in a bad customer service experience. I was sufficiently incensed to blog (see vent) about it here.
What happened next made me stay with Lenovo instead of switching to a Mac. First off, Mark from Lenovo posted a comment on my blog, asking me to contact him. He apologized for the bad experiences I had and scheduled for a technician to come to my house to fix my problem. When I had additional problems with my computer he jumped through hoops to get it fixed. At the end he send me a brand new computer – extending the next business day on-site warranty beyond what I had purchased.
So what happened that made me regain the trust in the company:
- Timely response to my problem with a genuine “I feel your pain” attitude
- No corporate speak – honest and transparent conversation to resolve my issues
- Wow me through customer service by doing unexpected things – in this case send me a newer and better computer without me asking for it.
At the end of the day, most customers know that products cannot be flawless. If they do end up with a lemon, their tolerance to work through the issue with the vendor is usually large – after all they bought the product because they have a certain affinity for the product and/or the company and so their default attitude towards that company is usually positive.
Unfortunately you can squander all that positive social capital in minutes by having a customer service rep with a bad hair day becoming combative with a customer calling to resolve an issue. That too will happen – especially in large companies.
The key is to minimize this negative people-effect by hiring the right people and by building a no-excuse customer-centric culture – much like what Zappos.com has been able to achieve. The other key is to have a swat team of people on staff who can jump in when the inevitable will happen – a complete system breakdown. Because even when that happens, you can and should try to recover that customer.
Lenovo just did it with me…thank you Mark.