Two things happened to me during the time between Christmas and New Year's Eve that clearly defined what I call Good & Bad Customer Service. I bought a really cool Arc'teryx Winter Jacket for my wife. I was so excited I found the perfect color (she loves Arc'teryx - she has a few of their tops). The service at our local store was helpful and got me in and out ASAP. It's a high-end establishment, most of their prices are top dollar (even the sale items), but I like going there because they always have the best clothing.
Unfortunately, on Christmas morning, when my wife tried on the jacket, it was a bit too big. So we brought it back within a few days of purchase with the receipt. Guess what happened? The clerk immediately said, "We cannot give you a refund because it was a sale item. See the small (size: 5-point) print on the bottom of your receipt?" No I didn't and it wasn't elaborated during the initial sale.
To make matters worse, my wife and I went through the store looking for a suitable replacement, but it was virtually empty due to the holidays. I wanted my money back - I had the receipt, I had the merchandise in perfect condition, and virtually everything in the store was on sale at that time.
So what the store was really saying to me was, "NO! Bad Customer! You must play by our rules!" So I put on my best Rich Gee smile and politely asked for the manager. After 5-10 minutes of terse negotiation and haggling, he finally gave in and refunded my money.
The Result: I will never purchase anything from that store again.
New Year's Eve was a different story. Every year, I take my family out for a hike during the day (even in bad weather) and then we go home, shower, and dress up for a night at a local, but highly rated Indian restaurant (our favorite food). Now you probably know most (if not all) restaurants jack-up their prices for New Year's Eve or have 'special party menus' which are the same items for much higher prices.
Not this restaurant. In fact, they had the same pricing they always do, but in addition, they offered free dessert for my whole family — no charge — wishing us a very happy new year. So what the store was really saying to me was, "YES! We love you! We appreciate your business!" Now, how much did those desserts really cost the restaurant? To be honest, with all the food and beverages, I spent almost $200 for our meal (and we had leftovers for the next two days!).
The message I'm trying to illustrate and convey is this:
When you interact with your clients and customers, is there any time during the relationship where you say, "NO"?
And more importantly, do you find yourself setting up opportunities to say, "YES"?
It's sometimes the difference between a very happy and satisfied customer and no customer.
What do you do in your business to deliver delightful customer service?
P.S. Arc'teryx is still a great product, we will just purchase it at a different store.