The Reputational Power of Customer Delight in Business and at Work
When we started Joel’s custom picture-framing business The Best Framing Company 20 years ago, we paid $50 for what has become not only the logo for Joel’s business, but also the logo for my business, Deb Best Practices:
I do love that “B” logo, and the happy serendipity of how our family’s last name works at several levels for both of our businesses, as well as any business that our son Noah may start in the future. While some colleagues have advised that I seek a logo of my own for my business, it is a mixture of sentimentality, family tribal identity and a bit of laziness that keeps me attached to our family “B” logo.
Last winter, I was chatting with a fellow business owner after our weekly service, and I noticed that he and his wife were wearing matching fleece jackets with his company logo artfully embroidered on the front. I asked him where he had gotten the jackets. “The Queensboro Shirt Company,” he replied. “I’ll send you a referral link; I get a $25 credit for referring new customers.”
I got the referral link, and there was a deal for new customers to get an embroidered messenger bag for $5; and embroidered t-shirts for $5. I bought the bag for myself; and t-shirts for all of us. I was pleased with everything, and Noah was especially pleased to get a t-shirt in his favorite color, purple.
Over the next year, as Queensboro ran sales and free shipping offers, I periodically added to our “B” logo wardrobes. We all wear them for customer-facing events like trade shows and networking exchanges, and it’s good company brand reinforcement all around. Like most businesses, Queensboro ran a Christmas sale at the beginning of December, and I purchased some more “B” logo wear, including a European-cut t-shirt for me in my usual size, another bargain at $5.
Our order arrived a week later, and everything fit true-to-size as usual, except my European-cut t-shirt: it was too small even for Noah. Europeans must be smaller these days. I emailed Queensboro, offered to send the t-shirt back in exchange for the largest size they had, as the shirt appeared to be almost 3 sizes too small. I received a cordial return email:
Good morning! Thanks for contacting Queensboro, and I hope your having a great day. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. In order to make things right, I’ve set up a replacement order for you, free of charge, and you do not need to send the other shirt back. Your new order number is xxxxx78, and an order confirmation has been emailed to you as well. Once you approve it, we’ll move forward with production.
Should you have any further questions, contact us at 800.847.4478 M-F 8AM-6PM EST. Thanks for choosing Queensboro, and have a great day!
Already pleased with my purchases to date, I was delighted with their prompt and generous response. I thanked Laura via return email with the same sentiment.
I received the replacement shirt a week later. It was still too small. However, I was grateful that they had tried to make the order right, and decided to leave it at that.
The next day, I received this email:
By now you should have received your Queensboro order xxxxx78.
Was it perfect?
If you haven’t received your order, please give us a call at 800-847-4478 or click to contact us via our website, so we can find out what has happened. We appreciate your business and look forward to working with you for many years to come.
President and Founder
The Queensboro Shirt Company
1400 Marstellar Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
phone orders: 800.847.4478
fax orders: 910.251.7771
Well no, it wasn’t perfect. But I didn’t want to be a pest, so I didn’t respond. They sent the same email a few days later – I still didn’t respond.
Then, as most businesses do, Queensboro ran a great after-Christmas sale, and I couldn’t resist. I signed onto their website to look through the sale items. However, the website wouldn’t allow me to shop until I pressed the red button flashing at the top of my screen asking me to answer if my last order was perfect, YES or NO. I still didn’t want to be a pest, as they had so cordially tried to make it right. I closed the tab and re-opened it again – the website still would not let me shop until I answered the question. I sighed, shrugged my shoulders and pressed “NO.” And then I shopped and ordered my sale items, as usual.
One morning last week, my business phone rang. It was Matthew calling from The Queensboro Shirt Company. “Hi Debra, I’m following up on the problem with your order xxxxx78 – was that shirt too small as well?” he queried. I was pleasantly surprised. Clearly, I had already demonstrated that I was a repeat customer even after pressing that “NO” button; however, here was Matthew, following up with a phone call anyway. “Yes, it was,” I replied. “And I do appreciate the effort you’ve made to replace the shirt, and now to call me. That style is just not sized correctly, for your future reference.” I could tell Matthew was typing, and then he responded. “Has everything else you’ve purchased fit correctly?” I nodded, even though Matthew couldn’t see me. “Yes, we’ve loved everything we’ve bought from you, and it’s all fit great. This was the one anomaly.” I heard Matthew clicking on his computer. “Did you like the 3-quarter sleeve shirt from the last order?” he asked. “Yes, it’s great, and it fits true-to-size,” I replied. “Great,” he said. “Tell me which color you’d like, and I’ll sent you that shirt as a replacement. We want to ensure that you’re satisfied with everything you purchase from us.”
I was overwhelmed with customer delight, and the paradigm shift: usually, as the customer, I’m the one pursuing the vendor when I’m not satisfied with their product or service, and I’m put in the position of spending time and energy advocating for my own customer satisfaction, doing the vendor’s customer service work for them. As business owners servicing customers ourselves, Joel and I are hyper-sensitive customer service advocates. For example, Joel re-framed a customer’s order recently, when Joel noticed that the frame moulding he ordered had a flaw in it. The customer was willing to take the order with the flawed moulding – Joel was not, and he re-framed the order in plenty of time to meet his customer’s deadline. “Matthew, that’s very generous of you. However, this will be the third shirt you’ve sent me for the same one order.” I could hear the smile in Matthew’s voice. “We want to ensure you’re satisfied, it’s absolutely not a problem.” “Well, thank you again – I’ll take the shirt in purple then, my son’s favorite color,” I replied. “Consider it done,” Matthew said. When I receive great service, I do like to give feedback on the spot. “Matthew, this has been the best customer service I’ve received in years, ” I continued. “You’ve inspired me, and I do plan on blogging about my experience with you this week. Please send me an email, so I can send you the link to the blog post.” “I definitely will, thank you for your feedback,” Matthew responded. I received this email from Matthew that same day:
It was so pleasant speaking with you earlier and I appreciate all of the
nice comments about our company. We really have a great group of people
that strives for excellent customer service.
I will certainly notify my colleagues about the blog posting.
If there is anything I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to
Take care and have a Happy New Year!
Customer Service Representative
The Queensboro Shirt Co.
It’s abundantly clear to me that everyone at The Queensboro Shirt Company, as Joel and I do in our businesses, strives for 100% customer satisfaction / delight.
What will you do this week – and every week – to create and build customer delight, in support of your (and your organization’s) reputation and success, in business and at work?
Tags: accountability, appreciative inquiry, business, customer service, engagement, entrepreneur, goals, gratitude, leadership, marketing, networking, reputation, resiliency, responsibility, retention, sales, selling, strategy, success