It was almost midnight. My wife and I were about to throw the computer out the window and run it over not once, but multiple times with the family minivan.
Some things really test a marriage you see. Finances, 3,000 mile family road trip, and of course, trying to do something together on the computer. This time we were using Shutterfly.com to try and build a customized photo book to give as a gift to my in-laws as a thank-you present. In the previous week I had uploaded a bunch of photos to use for the book and my wife was diligently building it and adding some fun captions to the pictures.
All was going smoothly, perhaps too smoothly when it finally happened. We “thought” we had the photo book just perfect but when we clicked on ‘Preview’ it totally messed up the order of the photos in the book. After trying a bunch of different work-arounds it just wasn’t happening. The worst part was I had a 40% off coupon code that was going to expire at midnight and the clock was ticking.
My wife and I must have literally tried 20 different ways to rearrange the photos in such a way that they were displayed correctly. Shutterfly seemed to really dislike one photo in particular, and kept messing up the page it was displayed on and simultaneously adding it duplicate times to the book. Technology can be SOOO frustrating if you let it and on this fateful night my wife and I were, shall we say, not getting along very well. All because of a stupid website glitch. Which looking back on the whole dealio, seems really dumb.
So we were left with two options. Do we just submit the order and hope they get it right? Or do we wait until the next morning and contact them and hope they’ll honor the coupon?
We opted to hit the hay and try to contact them in the morning.
At about 6:30 a.m. my wife gets a hold of a live chat operator and begins to explain the situation to her. The operator then explains that the glitch is indeed on their end and she apologized profusely for the inconvenience. She fixed the photo book for us, honored the expired coupon, and even upgraded our order to free overnight shipping. WOW!
I was so impressed that I took a screen capture of our digital receipt (below). Our total ended up being $5.38 for a $30 photo book plus FREE overnight delivery which would have cost $18.99 otherwise. I think many companies fail to understand that by fixing a wrong, and taking full responsibility, they create very loyal customers who tell all their friends about their amazing experience. It seems like such an easy to understand concept but many companies instead choose to pass the buck or blame the customer.
Thank you Shutterfly for “getting it” and for making our experience a great one in the end.
Other Examples of Great Customer Service:
It is incredibly refreshing when a company goes beyond the call of service and exceeds your expectations. In the age of the Internet where everyone and there uncle goes online to complain, the examples of good customer service often go completely unnoticed. That’s the main reason I decided to write this article.
I took to the interwebs and threw out a HARO.com query to find some other examples of terrific customer service and what I got back did not disappoint. Here are 3 worthy of a BIG shout-out.
Caitlin Lopez from BFFL.com
“Just a few weeks back, a woman purchased one of our surgical bras for her sister who had undergone a double mastectomy. When the recipient received the bra, it was not what she had expected the bra to be and was unhappy. Her sister (the buyer) contacted us and told us the issues, and we immediately offered other options for the recipient. We in order to make the customer completely satisfied, we sent her the next best option and included some extra goodies in hopes that it would make her as comfortable as possible. Low and behold, a few days later we received a very kind email from her sister saying that she could not be more thrilled with the new items.”
She went on to say, “It is the little things that make people happy and you should always treat customers the way that you would like to be treated, with kindness and respect and to make things as easy as possible. If you want to be a successful businessperson, this is key.” Amen Caitlin.
Ursula Robertson-Moore from Uppercases.net
Uppercases.net is a small company that digitally prints Egyptian cotton pillowcases with unique and positive messages and provides a FREE service for military personnel that is just awesome. Ursula writes, “After the wife of a soldier asked us to print a personal message to her husband on the flip side of a pillowcase and we heard about how touched he was by it, we decided to offer this free option all the time. The result is that we have printed lots of cases with lots of personal, sweet messages. The extra effort is well worth it for everyone, as this makes us as happy as the customers who order them.”
David Bakke from Money Crashers
“I do a lot of online shopping, and I have always received great online customer service from Staples. I used to have to email my questions, but they now feature live chat. Just recently I wanted to purchase a laptop from Staples.com but I had a few questions. I needed to know more information about the warranty that came with the item, and it also had a rebate available for it and I had some questions on that. I had a few other questions as well. I used the live chat feature and a rep was communicating with me in less than one minute. There were very few delays during our conversation and the person knew the answers to all of my questions almost instantly.”
Kudos to Staples for having live chat operators who actually know what they are talking about. Also, if you are a business owner or manager looking at ways to improve your customer service, check out this great post from Money Crashers, How to Improve Customer Service in Your Business & Make It Great. Great article!
Ask the Reader: What great customer service experiences have you had recently? Feel free to leave a comment and a big shout to the company or service that made your day!
By Kyle James