A couple months ago, one of our dogs (Lenny) became ill. He was almost 10 years old but it was still a surprise. Up to that point he was an incredibly healthy Basset Hound. (Sometimes too healthy!) Due to his condition we needed to feed him on a regular and frequent basis throughout the day and night. Every couple hours he needed food to keep his glucose level up.
So, to help him (and us) we bought an automatic feeder that would dispense his food on a pre-programmed basis. It seemed like a good solution so he could eat when he needed and my wife and I could sleep and work and do everything else we need to do throughout our days.
Unfortunately, Lenny didn’t make it long enough to make the auto-feeder useful. His condition was too far along. We had to euthanize him shortly after the auto-feeder arrived.
So, we had to return the auto-feeder. But when we looked at their website, their return policy was a nightmare. The first step was to email a request for a return authorization. Then once we got that we could ship the product back although they would deduct from our refund for shipping and they might charge a restock fee.
Plus, it would take 4-6 weeks for the credit to show on our credit card.
That was bad enough. But it gets worse. We never got a return authorization emailed to us.
So, after several phone calls that went nowhere, I sent and email explaining the situation about the product and our dog.
What happened next amazed me.
I got a call and an email telling me that UPS would stop by our house to pickup the auto-feeder. And they promised there would be no charge for shipping, no restock fee and they would credit our account within 24 hours of receiving the product.
And that’s not all.
A few days later they sent us a beautiful sympathy card because our dog Lenny had died. (It’s still on our mantle with the many other cards from friends and family.)
I became an instant fan of this company!
It’s too bad their upfront policies are so difficult. They make the company seem cold and difficult to work with.
But, after hearing our situation, their response was overwhelmingly warm, thoughtful and genuine. They showed they really do care about pets and their people.
My advice for this company would be to find ways they can bring that warmth and humanity to every contact they have with customers. Don’t just bring it out when a customer has a special situation.
If you want to keep customers coming back (and get them talking about you) then be wonderful all the time. Be warm, be genuine. Do things that surprise them (in a good way) every day, for no reason other than you can.
Do this and you’ll have customers lining up to be yours!