A Real Life Story of Delightful Customer Service – Strategy With RS

The Jet Airways flight was about to land in Mumbai. I retrieved my Titan Nebula watch from my bag, where I had safely deposited while passing through security at Dubai airport. The 1st thing I noticed left me disappointed – the glass cover was missing. More disappointment awaited me. As I was tying the watch I felt a ‘biting’ sensation on my wrist. When I turned the watch, to my horror, I found the back of the watch – steel case, too was missing. And to complete my misery the watch had stopped working.

By nature I am a solutions oriented person & so my mind started searching for reasons which could have led to disappearances of ‘glass & steel cover’.

Weeks before going to Dubai I had got the battery of the watch replaced at an authorized Titan Showroom in Belapur, Navi Mumbai. The mechanic had been able to open the watch but was not able to close the steel case. It required specialized skill. I was requested to come the next day & collect the watch. Next day I collected my watch in working condition.

As I looked at my wrecked watch I intuitively felt that clue to my problem would reside at the authorized store in Navi Mumbai.

I took the trouble of visiting the store again but in a bad mood. The store manager, Vivek greeted me with a smile. He listened patiently to my ranting – not once did he let his smile slip. When I stopped my rancor he did not deny my ‘allegations’. He took my watch & showed it to his technician. After a quick consultation Vivek advised me that they will order the ‘glass & steel case’ from the company – it would take 15 days for it to come form there factory.

But Vivek promised to revert in a fortnight about the progress made in sourcing these parts. As promised he called & informed me that the parts have arrived. He gave me the total cost of the parts & then said that he had advised his Territory Sales Officer about the possible cause of the problem, who on his own volition decided to reduce the cost on the of the material. And then Vivek added that the problem had occurred under his watch so he self penalize himself – he would bear a significant part of the cost, too.

I was shocked. A company employee putting money form his pocket to assuage an unhappy customer.
I visited the store again & as promised the watch was put back in working condition. But I paid the entire bill amount insisting that he contribute nothing to the repair cost. I felt that his behavior were more then enough a reward for me.

While waiting for the watch to be repaired my wife ended up buying a Raga watch from the same store!
Lesson for us: When a company offers service to its customers, on some occasions service level will fail. But the problem is not that the service level fails. But the acid test is after it has failed how quickly does it recover! In this case I suspect Vivek had self empowered himself. And because of that even when the service level failed he was quickly able to ensure that it recovered. And in the process he converted a dissatisfied customer into a Brand Advocate.

You should also empower your employees so that they too can ensure that when service level fails the recovery is fast & in the process they are able to covert dissatisfied customers into Brand advocates!

 

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In this series, Rajesh Srivastava, Business Strategist and Visiting Faculty at IIM Indore gives you a regular dose of strategy case studies to help you think and keep you one step ahead as a professional as compared to your peers. Rajesh is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kanpur and has over 2 decades of experience in the FMCG industry. All previous  Strategy with RS posts can be found here

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