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Customer service: can’t it always be this easy?

January 9, 2008

Bailey’s Christmas gift was the Lamborghini of dog beds from an online company called, Drs. Foster & Smith.

As the product marketing people put it: “Not even Cleopatra enjoyed this level of comfort.” So what the heck, Bailey’s getting a bit long in the tooth these days so why not splurge and let the hound enjoy “the overstuffed clump-resistant MiracleLoft® polyfil for an incredibly supportive sleep.

Well, 10 days later and I notice a 6 inch tear at the seems.

My initial reaction was frustration given the newness of the bed. Then I was just plain annoyed at the thought of dealing with customer service and then the return process: having a return label sent to me; me having to ship back the large bed (28″ x 48″); waiting for the new one to come; the phantom double charge on the credit card. You know how it goes.

Withing minutes I went from a mindset of “I’ll never buy anything again from Drs. Foster & Smith” to “Wow – that was easy. I will definitely be back and purchase from them again.”

To make a long story short, I called the 24×7 customer service line (spoke with Mary, English was her first language..) and within 5 minutes I have a new bed on the way to our house. Just like that. No questions and interrogations like I experienced when calling StainSafe to come clean my couch. No up-selling of products and services that Citi Cards is famous for when I call. Just a plain and simple defective return transaction.

It’s too bad that incidences like these are the minority and no longer the norm.

As product quality becomes commoditized across many industries (i.e. telco/cable, airline, home services, etc), companies must then divert the resources to its customer service arm, not away from it. And if the perception of poor customer service boils over, there’s little PR can do to repair the damage done. Just ask Comcast.

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