Does Your Customer Service Policy Support You or Your Customer?
My son Jake is 8 years old. He loves his little cars and trucks – 252 loves at last count!
Every time that he receives birthday or holiday money, it immediately burns a hole in his pocket and he wants to go to the local big box toy store to buy some more.
On a recent trip to the store, he splurged and bought a $15 truck, trailer, and race car combo that he just “had to have”. When we got home, we discovered that the packaging was more than just fancy packaging. This “toy” was really meant to sit on a shelf and be displayed just like a trophy.
Well, for an 8 year old, this toy would not do. It had to go back. There was no way that he could have something just sitting on a shelf and not be able to play with it. So we taped the receipt to the packaging and set it aside for our next trip to the store.
Ninety-two days later, I found the toy sitting on the top shelf of a closet. Somehow, we had forgotten to return the toy. That same day we went to the local big box toy store with unopened box and receipt in hand. When we arrived, we were immediately told, “sorry, we do not accept returns after 90 days”. I tried to talk my way through it. I asked for store credit instead of cash. I even made sure to have the poor innocent face of an 8-yr old beside me. No such luck. The rule is the rule and we are two days late! (So much for turning the frown upside down!)
Two days! What difference does two days make? I understand policy. I even read the fine print on the receipt and it said the same thing. I get it. But if you are still stocking and selling the same item, and it is the same price (yes, I checked), then what difference does two days really make? Especially if we are willing to accept a store credit?
On our way home I started to think about this experience. How is YOUR customer service? Do you bend your policies? Or are you stiff and rigid too? In the mortgage industry, we may not have products that our customers can return, but we do have to deal with customers. What is your rule for returning phone calls or emails? Do you keep your professional partners updated on loan status? Do you attend your closings? Do you thank your customers after the transaction? Have you implemented a customer retention program?
The good thing that has come out of this lesson: After wasting $15 on a useless toy, Jake is now understanding that Amazon.com is fun to shop at too and you do not have to leave the house!
Sorry big-box…..I understand that the rules are the rules. But it was only 2 days and a $15 toy!