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Cynthia Clark | April 12, 2012

Wowing Customers After a Purchase

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Nine West.jpgThe relationship with a company doesn't finish when money changes hands. Even if it's a retail transaction, often that's only the beginning.

Especially with increased competition, companies are under extra pressure to ensure that they not only satisfy their customers' expectations for after-sales service, but exceed them. Nine West recently did just that, and what might have been a one-time purchase may turn into a long-term relationship.

Last January I made my first purchase from Nine West: a pair of knee-high boots. Just a few weeks later the decorative button studs started falling out, and before I had time to secure them with glue I had lost a couple of them. Although I was able to find almost identical button studs online, I decided to email Nine West's customer service department and ask whether they had any replacements they could send me, mostly out of curiosity of how they would deal with such a request.

Within 48 hours Nine West replied in a way that positively surprised me. The company said that although it didn't have any replacement button studs, it would reimburse me up to $20 to have the boots repaired by a cobbler. Considering that I had bought the boots on sale for under $100, and the studs were less than $2 each, this sounded more than generous.

Additionally, Nine West never asked me to provide a receipt for the boots, showing that the company trusts its customers to tell the truth. I was only asked to send a copy of the receipt for the replacement studs and within a few days the customer service department sent me a gift card.

For $20 Nine West turned a first-time shopper into a loyal customer and advocate. Not only has the company wowed me by taking my request seriously, but it didn't try to find an excuse to not help me. Further, it gave me a reason to go back to one of its stores since I have a gift card to redeem, ensuring a win-win outcome.

More companies should emulate Nine West's customer service and find ways to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one. By exceeding their customers' expectations, organizations can ensure return clients who will sing the company's praises.

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