Your Retail Success

A case study in exceptional customer service

Your Retail Success

by Rick Kroetsch

People always seem to have horror stories of bad customer service experiences that they’re more than willing to share. Companies that go above and beyond never seem to get the same focus or attention. We love to complain but are hesitant to praise.

According to the Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) at Industry Canada, home renovation problems are consistently among the top consumer complaints across Canada. We have all heard negative stories or watched botched jobs on television shows highlighting the bad experiences in the industry.

The background

To give you some scope, my wife and I have gone through an extensive renovation of our home. It involved tearing out the kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, and walls—you name it, every part our house’s interior of has been impacted.

Our contractor and his team have handled all of the projects professionally with key attention to detail and positive attitudes.

The problem

Recently, we were out of town on vacation. While away, our next-door neighbour sent me an email on a Sunday night saying they heard water leaking in our basement and that when they went inside they found the basement floor covered in water. They shut the water supply off and cleaned up.

I forwarded the email to our contractor who was also on vacation with his family. He replied immediately saying they would take care of it.

He left his vacation spot at 4:30 the next morning to drive back to our house. He met his crew there, and they immediately dealt with the problem.

I also drove back from our vacation spot, arriving at our house at 10:30 am the same morning. The furniture had been moved, the flooring and baseboards removed and in a trailer on the way to the dump. Industrial fans and heaters were working to help remove the moisture in the floor.

It turns out that one of the connections to the water line (which had been working fine for about a month) had failed.

The solution

Our contractor took ownership of the problem as well as responsibility. He could have blamed the supplier of the water line connection, gotten at least two insurance companies involved, and left his customer stuck in the middle with a mess for weeks.

Instead he took ownership and responsibility, dealt with it immediately (on his family vacation time), and focused on replacing everything to get it back to its original condition (at his expense).

The lesson and the follow-through

That is how all companies should respond to customer service problems. Don’t point fingers and delay the process. Take responsibility—own it and solve it.

Word of mouth is a big component of any successful business. Make sure that your customers are telling great stories about your service to their network. Always take the high road and default to exceptional customer service.

Rick Kroetsch is the vice-president and associate publisher of Alive Publishing Group