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Your Two Customer Service Questions
by Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

You're already aware, I hope, that each and every employee of your company is a "customer service representative," no matter what the job description says. Read this terrific customer-service story, and then consider the two questions at the end.

"I ordered a child's learning laptop computer for my daughter Mallory for Christmas through Amazon.com," says Susan Barnes, a payroll manager at MarchFIRST in 
Chicago. "Shortly after Christmas, we discovered that the laptop had a defect. I 
contacted Amazon, and the customer service was amazing. The young man I dealt 
with, Brian, was incredible. They did not have any in stock, nor did anyone else 
because the laptop was a hot item.

"Brian offered to credit my credit card immediately and send me a postage-paid 
container to return the damaged computer. I explained that this was all my daughter
had asked Santa for, and she would be devastated if we just returned it. Brian gave 
me the option of waiting to see if they would be able to get another one. However, he warned that the distributor, VTech, predicted it could be three months before a new 
one would be available. For the sake of my daughter's happiness, I said I was willing 
to wait.

"Brian gave me a phone number where I could reach him and said I could change my 
mind at anytime. In the meantime, he would contact me immediately if one became available.

"Two days later, Brian e-mailed that he had located a new laptop for Mallory. It would 
be shipped within a few days, along with a postage-paid container to return the damaged one. I was so surprised and impressed with Brian and his great customer-care skills that 
I e-mailed him, commending his great skills and asking that my e-mail be forwarded to 
his manager. Later, his manager confirmed my message. The moral of this story is: 
There IS a Santa Claus!"

YOUR TWO QUESTIONS:

  •   Do you motivate and empower your employees to provide top 
    customer service like this?

  • Could you pose this customer's problem as an interview question, asking 
    potential hires how they would handle it?

Patricia Fripp is an award winning speaker, speach coach, author, and expert on customer service. [email protected]  1-800 634 3035, http://www.fripp.com  

                                                          ExpertMagazine.com 2001

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