The Definition of ‘Above and Beyond’ Customer Service

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There’s service, great service, outstanding service . . . and then, once in a blue moon, there’s totally blow-your-mind service.

Over the past month, I’ve had a dose of the latter – courtesy of one Kerri O’Hara, in the local Noel Leeming store (i.e. electronics retailers). (NB:  I don’t know Ms O’Hara outside of Noel Leeming, and I’ve only started going to that store in the past couple of months since being installed back in a house I own in the small South Island coastal town of Oamaru.)

This amazing display of customer service started when, after a run of unsuccessful attempts at purchasing (a workable version of) one of those new-fangled juicing-blender gizmos that are all the rage, I bought another dud . . . this time, from Noel Leeming. Well, actually, not a dud this time, to be fair, but one that (I didn’t realise when buying it) doesn’t have an “on/off” button i.e. when you slot the blending container into place, the wretched thing starts vibrating violently, right there under your hand.

Technically, it wasn’t faulty at all, but a horrid design, and the absence of the “on/off” button should definitely have been made clear when I bought it. But again, it wasn’t actually faulty. So I anticipated some drawn-out, self-justifying tussle when I rang to ask if I could return it.

An Employee Who Understands ‘Customer LTV’

But I hadn’t counted on getting Ms O’Hara on the line (i.e. a retail employee who clearly understands the concept of Customer Life Time Value):

“Yes,” she agreed. “That model’s frightful, isn’t it? No problem at all with bringing it back. Could you tell me what you are looking for in that sort of machine and I will research the best option and the best price for you?”

Seriously? That’s service, I thought.

So I cited the boxes I wanted to tick. Next day, in plops an email detailing a shortlist of the options she had found, and researched, for me. There followed a further exchange, during which she obtained another couple of pieces of information . . . and into the local store I trotted and purchased – by my own volition – a top of the line, Rolls Royce version of the juicer in question.

Based on her excellent research and communication, I had made the decision to up-sell myself. (Are you listening, retailers?)

One month later:  I had to replace a damaged DVD player. A quick phone call to my new “go-to gal” generated a prompt return email, with a range of options, all explained, all neatly laid out, with the merits of each one debated by function and price.

And that’s not all.

“The Panasonic DVD player can be taken into (name of local service provider) and multi-zoned for free . . . and I would be happy to deliver it to them and collect it back from there for you.”

But wait, there’s more.

Back to the Blender

If you happened to have read my article, ‘Your Call Will Be Recorded for “Quality & Training” Purposes’, you’ll know the outcome of my attempt to buy a spare set of blades for the earlier-mentioned juicer-blender.

Ms O’Hara asked if I’d taken delivery of the blades (i.e. she’d given me the supplier’s phone number in a previous email exchange). When I explained that I hadn’t, and the reason that particular little sale didn’t get completed, back comes the response:

“If you can advise me which model you have – i.e. the ‘BL480NZ-70 or the -30’ model – I can have the item ordered for you, and delivered direct to your address.”

From the customer’s perspective, does it get much better?

And again, if you’re a retailer and you’re wondering if all the effort (either by yourself or by your employees) is worth it, don’t forget to take in my article on Customer Lifetime Value.

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