A Case for Responding: Good Customer Service Drives Loyalty

Posted by Dana Vaille on Wed, Mar 21, 2012

Customer Service CMBCustomer feedback is a popular topic these days, and it makes me think about my own experiences and how companies’ responses continue to shape my perceptions.  I might have ongoing positive experiences with a company, which, clearly, results in fairly positive perceptions.  So what about when I have a negative experience?  What then? 

Recently I had a really good customer service experience that resulted from giving some pretty negative feedback.  I purchased a laptop bag at what I felt was a reasonably high price, but I loved the bag so it was worth it to me.  Imagine my disappointment when after only 2.5 months, it broke (under very normal wear and tear).  Imagine my further disappointment when I found out that the warranty was only good for 60 days… I was so frustrated!  So I thought about it, and decided to write to the company.  I politely explained the situation, acknowledged that the warranty was expired, and told them my goal was really just to communicate the issue and my disappointment—I paid good money for a bad product, and I really hoped that they would strive to develop a better quality product in the future.  

To my (very pleasant) surprise, not only did I receive an apologetic response, but they also acknowledged some recent manufacturing issues they had recognized due to ongoing customer feedback.  The company had actually decided to change manufacturers to address the problems customers were facing.  That response alone would have been sufficient for me…they were proactively addressing the problem.  But then, in addition, they offered to replace my laptop bag once the shipments arrived from the new manufacturer.  A great bonus! 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized what this company did right and what stood out:

-          They responded

-          They used manners (thanked me for my business, apologized for the problem, etc.)

-          They offered a resolution

I realized how much of an impact those three little things had on me.  I felt really good about the service I received and, despite the problems I experienced, felt better about the company I was working with.  At the end of the day, I was ultimately less focused on the problem I had experienced and more focused on the resolution… knowing that this company was listening to their customers, and acting on the issues.  Their actions made me want to continue purchasing from them and supporting their products. 

What it comes down to is that companies are, at the core, human… product development, customer service, and all the other pieces of the companies we love (and sometimes hate) are human, and they do make mistakes.  What matters is what they do about it.  So what good is my customer feedback?  In this case, it’s what is keeping me loyal. 

Posted by Dana Vaille. Dana is a Senior Project Manager with CMB's Financial Services & Insurance practice. 

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Topics: Customer Experience & Loyalty, Retail