Service and Trust
I usually blog about things that happen to me outside of eCommerce because so many times the experience can be valuable and I can apply it to help me run my business better.
For instance, I ran into some of the best customer service I have seen in a long time and felt I needed to blog about it here and also use my experience in my own business to improve trust and customer service.
I recently had some car issues and a local mechanic realized the problems were under warranty and he sent me off to a dealership. I had no idea I even had this warranty. I was happy to pay the $800 to the mechanic to fix my car, but he told me he wouldn’t feel right about making me pay for something that I didn’t have to. So here is a local small business sending a customer away because it is the right thing to do. I was shocked. He told me he hated sending a customer away – but I told him, don’t worry you now have a customer for life.
My experience at the dealership however was the exact opposite. I was told that everything from my rear bumper to my hood ornament was broken and the problem that was under warranty wasn’t the problem. I ended up finding an honest dealership in another town and they fixed my car.
In my business we don’t fix cars but we do provide favors and gifts for some very special events in our customers’ lives. Something that we do that I feel is honest and fair is we keep an eye on shipping costs. If a customer selects Next Day Air as their shipping method and we find out we can ship it Ground for less money we contact the customer. We don’t feel it’s right that they pay for expedited shipping when Ground will get the items to them in the same amount of time. Our customer’s reaction goes from shock to heartfelt gratitude. They also come back and shop again because they know we are honest and that we care about them. This is the same way I feel about my mechanic.
I walked away from this experience in awe of his honesty and ethics. He has won my loyalty for life and I hope to model his ethics in my own business with my customers. Oh and by the way, you better believe I have told everyone in town where the best mechanic is, and where the worst dealership is!
Jason Alberts says:
Demonstrating exemplary customer service is vital towards the success of all businesses, but especially small businesses. As a small business, your number one challenge is to get customers; once you find customers, your next challenge is to then retain them for future sales and a major player for bringing customers back is by making your customers happy and demonstrating great service. I’m sure the mechanic dreaded sending you away, but he was a good guy and made an extremely ethical decision. While he lost that potential $800, he will now receive good publicity and future sales. Trust is also very important regarding customer service and building trust will establish loyalty and eventually get you referrals even if you don't get the customer initially.
Trust is a big thing in a business. You not only provide service/product but also provide a trust as well. As you mentioned here your experience with mechanic, from this I believe a mechanic wants to build a trust with customer as he knows that once a trust then service or product automatically become successful.
Alok Chowdhury says:
Hi Kara - I'd like to add that trust is the most important thing that you can build online. Other than customer service, you can build trust by creating great content such as online magazines, blogs ..
A great example is Park and Bond who have created an ecommerce brand revolving around a magazine (or vice versa lol)...
I've said before: when you create compelling content, not only do you build trust, but also relationships. The greater benefit is that the content gets shared making Google notice.