When Marks & Spencer customer Bill Bennett complained that he had been overcharged for a sandwich he was told he would be sent a voucher as a 'sorry' from them. It never arrived, so he complained again and asked for a cartoon of a dinosaur to be sent too to compensate for his 'inconvenience' (don't ask me why - apparently his first letter of complaint was about a £1.10 'overcharge'!!). Anyway, he wasn't expecting a reply!
However, Steve Jones, a customer adviser sent him a £5 gift card, and a sketch of a dinosaur with a note reading: 'Please also find a picture of a smiling dinosaur, hand drawn. 'Unfortunately art was never my strong point, but I hope you will appreciate it.'
It's a great example of 'dealing with disappointment' and has some of the ingredients of 'delighting a customer' (appearing 'spontaneous', adding the 'personal touch', making the customer feel 'valued', exceeding expectations and creating a great 'talking point).
What's even better it's about someone taking responsibility and doing something - not following a manual, a procedure or a rule. That's about 'empowerment' and 'taking initiative'. (I hope that Steve was 'rewarded' by M&S for his (art)work!)
- How 'empowered' are your front line people?
- Are they encouraged to 'take the initiative'?
- What 'reward' do they get if they do?
Remember, creating great customer experiences, even when things go wrong, means that your business won't ever become 'extinct'!