Have you ever stopped to think about the importance of customer service? It is one of those things that doesn’t seem to matter much until you have a problem. What’s amazing is the lengths some companies will go to in order to convince you that their customer service is excellent, only to find out the opposite is true when you finally have an issue.
I recently had an issue with the customer service department at a big box store that shall remain nameless, but let’s just say the experience left me feeling like I was the TARGET of some kind of cruel joke. I purchased a set of Legos from this retailer, which was on sale and the last one at that particular store. When I got the set home, it was missing over 60% of the pieces. I called another one of this retailer’s stores that still had them in stock, explained the situation, and was told I could come in and exchange the Lego set. To make an extremely long and frustrating story short, I was bounced between two different locations repeatedly by this retailer’s employees and was told I could not exchange it because the second store was charging more for the item. I was told my only recourse was to call Guest Services the next day.
So I did. I was sure that this retailer cared enough about the experience of its customers and would immediately attempt to make things right. But after spending 45 minutes on the phone with guest services and speaking with a rep in one country and a supervisor in another, I was told that the only real recourse I had was to write a letter and mail it to corporate headquarters. Keep in mind that all I wanted to do was exchange an incomplete item for a complete one.
So I decided that I would call Lego directly and see if they could help me get the missing pieces. From the moment the Lego rep answered the phone, I felt as if she actually cared about my frustration. I explained to her that I was certain that this was not a problem at their factory, but rather more likely someone taking pieces out of the box and returning the item. The rep explained to me that I was correct since it’s nearly impossible for a box to leave their factory missing that many pieces seeing as each Lego set is weighed before it’s shipped. She also said that it was unacceptable for me as a consumer to have deal with the trouble the retailer was putting me through. She apologized for all the frustration I had with the big box retailer and said she was going to do everything she could to make things right.
That was the end of it. No need for a supervisor and no assumption that I was trying to pull one over on her. She showed genuine concern for me and my family. She knew that I did not blame Lego for this, but she still wanted to make sure that neither I nor my children were disappointed and was willing to do whatever it took to make things right. If one employee at the big box store had shown even a tenth of the concern the Lego rep did, I would not be as upset. But apparently the retailer felt it was better to treat me as if I had been the one who stole the pieces out of the box. I was asking for an identical replacement! It would make no sense to ask for that if I had already taken out the pieces I already wanted.
The customer service that Lego provided is the kind of customer service that turns consumers into advocates. There is plenty of competition out there and price doesn’t really separate the retailers as much anymore, but customer service does. While I will be shopping at a different big box store, I will only be buying one brand of building blocks.
Do you have your own customer service horror story? Or perhaps a story about really good customer service. Share with us, we’d love to hear it!