I’ve talked about customer service recovery on this blog before; the act of rectifying a mistake your company has made with a customer. We’d all like to be perfect but a slip up every once in a while is inevitable. It’s how you deal with that mistake that makes the difference, and often you have to do something memorable to win the customer back.
Recently we’ve been doing business with FedEx and we happened to owe a payment, so they sent us a bill. Only problem was they sent the bill to our company’s former address. Obviously we weren’t able to pay this bill because we never received it, so rather then try to track us down through the pick-up and delivery addresses which they have on file, someone decided to send our bill to a collections agency….I’d also like to add that this bill was for something like $25.00. After the issue was brought to our attention, my business partner, Craig, gave them a call to sort out the mistake. Initially, he spoke to the accounting side of operations where he was told ‘the bill was too small for them to deal with so they sent it to a collections agency and it was out of their hands.’. What a blow! Long time customers (over 20 years) and they brushed Craig off like a piece of lint from their shoulders.
Well, Craig’s a pretty mild mannered guy but this really got to him, so instead of calling accounting again, he called customer service to complain. Boy, did they turn over a new leaf fast. Customer service apologized and even wrote off the bill, which was a nice touch, but after what Craig had been through he was ready to stop doing business with FedEx all together. But—and this is the part of the story where customer service recovery comes into play—the next day at work this huge basket filled with chocolates and cookies and all kinds of other goodies was delivered to the office by FedEx. This basket had to be valued somewhere around $50.00, double the bill we’d owed them, and attached to the basket was a sincere and tasteful apology letter. That’s how you do it! They took the time to individually acknowledge that our business was important to them, and apologize for the situation. Sure, it may have cost them a bit of extra money, but they kept a client and a business partner, and truely turned a sour customer experience into a sweet one.