Turning Problems into Opportunities

Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
Problems can be an opportunity for organizations to show that they really care about their customers.

Customers have become accustomed to receiving great service from the companies they do business with. Brands like Amazon and Zappos have spoilt us into expecting great service from every other organization we do business with.

This means that bad service is no longer tolerated, and if we don't have any other choice, we let everyone know that we don't like doing business with a particular company. On the other hand, it takes a lot more than good service to wow us. Only absolutely amazing service will stand out, leaving customers positively surprised and turning them into loyal customers and even advocates for the brand.
Outstanding service is even more appreciated by new customers who feel that a company they've just started doing business with is going out of its way to make sure they're satisfied. This happened to me recently when I made a joint purchase from Diapers.com and Soap.com, sister companies that are subsidiaries of Amazon. I made an order for a gift for friend's baby shower from Diapers.com on a Tuesday morning and added some items from Soap.com to be eligible for two-day free shipping. Surprisingly, the Soap.com order arrived that same evening.

But on Thursday, the day when the gift was supposed to arrive, I used the tracking number to check the shipping status and realized that the delivery had been rescheduled for the following Saturday. Since this would be too late for the baby shower, leaving me without a gift, I immediately emailed the company, asking whether they could overnight me a replacement and I would return the original when it arrived.

Customer service replied in less than 10 minutes, apologizing for the delay and explaining that since the item, an adorable star-shaped coin bank, was being shipped by one of their partner companies, they wouldn't be able to overnight me a replacement. The company, however, decided to send me a full refund to make up for the inconvenience.

I was blown aback by the immediate reply and the company's willingness to apologize and try to make it up to me. So when the package was delivered later on that day, as originally expected, I immediately emailed them back to let them know that the refund was no longer needed. Again, I received a quick reply, saying that the refund had already been processed. "Don't you worry about it, just consider the item a gift from us," Byron S., the customer care representative, wrote. "Besides, the order should have never been delayed in the first place," he added.

The result is that rather than remember the slight shipping glitch--which wasn't even Diapers.com's fault but a tracking error by the shipping carrier--I think of Diapers.com as a brand that really wants to make sure that its customers, even first-time clients like myself, are satisfied. With their quick response and willingness to make things right, Diapers.com has created a brand advocate.