I'm a recent subscriber to Netflix-that wildly successful nationwide, online DVD-by-mail rental service. This amazingly simple business model has already captured my attention-and my credit card. I've been happily receiving and returning postage-free movies from them for the last two months.
Last week, a much-anticipated movie arrived in the familiar red envelope. When I tore it open, I found the disk was damaged. Not just scratched, but broken in half. Deflated (I'm impatient to a fault), I booted the computer and waited for the Netflix site to load, trying out various excuses I might offer to avoid having to pay for the damage.
I immediately went to the "help" menu, where the short index included exactly the heading I wanted: "I have a damaged DVD."
One click took me to a list of the three disks they'd most recently sent me, with a link to "Report a problem." Clicking again took me to a "symptoms" checklist (skips, won't play, cracked, broken). I selected "broken," and then the first amazing thing happened:
They thanked me!
They thanked me for reporting the damage, asked me if I would please return the broken disk so they could get credit from the studio "in order to continue to keep our prices low."
No stern warnings. No place to type my excuses. No blame.
Hey, stuff happens. Thanks for letting us know.
And then, they took a second step, the extra step that separates the extraordinary business from the ordinary: They asked me a question to which they already knew the answer.
They took something they would do in the ordinary course of business, dressed it up as a special service, and gave me the choice of accepting it.
I call it the "But-Wait-There's-More" Delivery System.
First they took my damage report in a no-blame process, then they asked me a simple question that gave this hapless, movie-less man complete control of the transaction.
One simple question.
"Would you like us to send you a replacement disk right away?"
That's exactly what I'd like you to do!
I clicked "Yes."
I don't know how many hundreds, no, thousands of times I've said it, and the countless times our coaches have repeated it to our clients, but here it is again-just for you:
"Client fulfillment means client fulfillment!"
What you think is a great service or benefit doesn't matter one wit when it comes to impressing a client. What keeps your customers returning is their perception that you are offering them a great service or benefit.
And by the way, perception (your clients') always trumps reality.
And here's the supremely beautiful part: What your customer perceives to be great customer service is usually something you do everyday-unasked, unprompted, and without drawing attention to it-because it's just the way you do it. And your doing it may be the single biggest reason your client comes back to you.
Netflix dazzled me by giving me the choice to accept something they'd do anyway.
What do you do everyday in your business that can move you from ordinary to extraordinary just by shining a light on it?
- "Would you like us to deliver that?"
- "Would you like us to wash your car before we return it?"
- "Would you like us to send you an E-mail confirming your order?"
- "Would you like us to send a replacement right away?"
Yes. Yes. Yes. And Yes.
And thanks for asking!
Please provide comments about your experiences providing and receiving amazing customer service. Also please comment on the role that systems played in delivering that experience.