Now that is great customer service!

Posted on October 23, 2013


happy customer
Yes I am (cheap) frugal, but I broke down and got a LLBean Visa card. With this card, I get free shipping both ways, plus I earn points for LL Bean stuff. Who needs free airline miles when you can get free LL Bean stuff?

Recently LLBean offered 15% off all purchases, plus I had four $10 coupons (becaue I’ve bought so much stuff over the past year.) Time for a little shopping spree! Mom and I set out bright and early for the Dedham LLBean store. We were the first ones in the store. Mom found some stuff, as did I.

Check out time. The cashier greeted us with a smile and mentioned it was her first day, so she might be a little slow. No problem. I’ve worked in retail and know how stressful it can be. I handed her the 4 coupons. She said one was a duplicate so only three would go through. Okay.

I get the receipt and before I left the store, I checked it. I didn’t see the 15% discount, so I went back in line. I got a different cashier this time and I asked him about the discount. He quickly looked at the receipt and called over another cashier. They both agreed that the 15% discount was calculated as part of the special promo discount that was the $30 coupons spread out over all the purchases. Okay, makes sense to me.

As I was driving home, I started doing the math in my head. Something is not right. There was no 15% discount taken, promo discount or not. I got home and got out my trusty calculator and saw I was right. Oh darn, another trip back to LLBean to get this straightened out. I don’t have time for this.

So, I tried a phone call to the store first. I explained the missing 15% discount to the phone person; she immediately transferred me to the store manager. A cheerful, “hello, how can I help you?” followed. As I explained the problem, the store manager quickly said, “This is certainly something we can take care of over the phone. If I can trouble you for some additional information, I will take care of it. First, please give me your phone number so I can call you when it’s done.”  Wow – not,” I’ll look into this and get back to you,” but “I will take care of this.” Wow, just wow.

I got to thinking some more about the $10 coupons. As I looked back through my records, I see that I did indeed have four coupons, not three. There was no way that one of the was a duplicate. The initial numbers may be the same, but they were all different. Oh darn, I just lost $10.00.

At the bottom of the LLBean receipt there is a link to a customer satisfaction survey. For kicks, I decided to fill out the survey. I must admit, I was less than complimentary about my experience at the store and the loss of a $10 coupon.

Well do you know that within 15 minutes of completing the survey, my phone rings and it is the LLBean Customer Service Manager. The first thing she does is apologize for my bad experience. She said the cashier was new and that she should have called over a manager when doing the coupons and the discount. She then goes on to say that for my trouble, she is giving me 20% off my purchases, not 15%. She also located my missing $10 coupon and applied that to my purchases as well. She has emailed the new receipt. She then asks me if I have any questions or if there is anything else that I wanted to discuss. Wow again, no double wow.

I have always loved LLBean products. Now, I love the company too. They have a customer for life.

This story is a perfect example of why LLBean is so successful. Other businesses, both large and small, can learn a lot from them. To be a successful company:

1.  Treat customers like you want to be treated.

Be attentive, polite and solve their problems.

2.  Develop trust with your customers.

People are human and I may have more problems with LLBean.  But, I don’t care because I know they will take care of things.

3. Listen to the customer.

Every employee at LLBean puts the customer first.

4. Hire employees with a positive, can-do attitude.

Everyone I spoke with at LLBean was eager and happy to help. Not only that, but they DID solve my problem.

5. Delight the customer.

The outcome I was expecting was the 15% discount off my purchase. The 20% discount was a nice surprise. I really thought the $10 coupon was a lost cause.

6. Train your employees.

Based on the response to my phone call and feedback survey, I am sure that LLBean will make sure new cashiers are better trained.

On the flip side, customers have a responsibility too. When I called the store, I didn’t yell, scream or become abusive. I gave as many details as I could. The same was true when I filled out the Customer Feedback form. I even listed the coupon numbers. So, if you want good service:

1. Be polite.

Being firm is okay, but yelling and screaming won’t get you anywhere.

2. Give as many details as you can.

Give dates, times and anything else you think may help the company solve your problem.

Do you have any great customer experiences to share?  It seems we always hear about the bad ones.

Smiley face photo is courtesy of HD Wallpapers.

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