Service today stinks! Ok, so that is a very general statement but overall I think most of us would agree that outstanding, WOW service experiences are few and far between. Take a moment to think about your most recent service experiences…whether it be a stop at the dry cleaners, a call to your local cable provider, your most recent restaurant trip, your last hotel stay or trip to the mall. How was that experience? Did the service you received leave something to be desired? I bet it did.
Well the good news in all of this is that if you are the provider of any service you have an outstanding opportunity to be noticed. You can do the little things that will provide you with the chance to be remembered. And to be remember in a positive way. To provide that WOW customer service experience that people will talk about and share…the ones that grow your business by enhancing great customer relationships. And the best news of all… that gap between average and excellent (the DIFF!) isn’t as big as one may think.
As a Quicken Loans team member there is a huge emphasis on creating that WOW experience for our clients, both internally and externally. And because of that I feel I am hypersensitive to my experiences as a consumer.
Recently I had an experience that I thought was worth sharing.
Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company founded through WOW customer relationships. And that starts with their founder, Yvon Chouinard and the culture he permeates throughout his company. You can read about Yvon and his culture in the book Let My People Go Surfing. Patagonia’s mission statement is to, “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” They were green long before being green was cool! And on top of providing great products and great service they have made a positive impact around the world through programs such as 1% For The Planet, a non-profit Chouinard co-created.
As part of their commitment to their customers Patagonia provides an Ironclad Guarantee in which they guarantee everything they make. The guarantee is simple or as we say it here at Quicken Loans, gump. You aren’t satisfied with your product for any reason? You send it back for a replacement or repair.
Over the years, I have accumulated several Patagonia products because of their durability, styling, quality and the service I receive when purchasing. Not to mention you can feel good supporting a company that does good in the community. I had yet to have any issues until recently. While on a recent trip one of the buttons ripped off a piece of luggage we had and a jacket I had recently purchased just didn’t fit right.
I contacted Patagonia customer support via email. They responded promptly! They clearly laid out a solution for me and made it very easy for me to work on handling my issue.
I simply downloaded a form they provided for me, filled it out and then sent the piece of luggage and jacket to Patagonia. They responded letting me know they had received the items and that unfortunately they were not able to repair them. SO they provided me with a brand new piece of luggage and a brand new jacket! Both were newer models than the ones I sent in. And the best part…I didn’t have to jump through 100 hoops to have my problem addressed. They didn’t ask me 20 questions or transfer me to 10 different departments. They simply took ownership of the issue and provided a solution! Seems simple right? But how many companies execute that simple formula? How many companies live up to what they promise? In my experience… very, very few!
Patagonia knows how to conduct business. They don’t take their customers for granted. They do that little extra to ensure they are happy. And I’m sure they know that happy customers remain customers and buy more!
And I am proof of that. The evening I received the email notifying me of the solution they had put in place for me, after I had told at least 5 different people about their great service, I had a decision to make. I needed to purchase a couple birthday presents for some upcoming parties. Any guesses on where I purchased those presents from?
The moral of the story here is that when you take care of your customers, live up to your promises and provide them with a WOW experience you create great relationships. Do the little things right and fill “the gap” and those relationships end up being mutually beneficial for both parties. You end up a happy consumer and the company ends up being profitable. A true win/win. And when you deal with Patagonia the environment wins as well…and that is something we can all benefit from!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Chris Klau has been with Quicken Loans for 8 years and really does know client service at its best. He and his team, The Mortgage Insiders, offer top-notch client service every day to all of Quicken Loans preferred companies and partners. Thanks for the expert post, Chris!