How many chances do you give a retailer

I recently had an unpleasant experience with a retailer. I purchased a product which cost a few hundred dollars. Upon receiving it, I found the product to be faulty. I immediately sent an email to customer service and asked how to resolve the situation. After several days of waiting for an answer, I called their toll free number for assistance.

After speaking with the customer service representative I was told that I should expect an email with further instructions. The solution I proposed had to be run past a supervisor, so I could not get an immediate response. After waiting one full week, I contacted the manufacturer of my product with my dilemma.

Within 24 hours I received an apology and was ensured that a replacement part was being shipped to me. My interactions with both the retailer (my phone conversation) and manufacturer were pleasant, but the retailer came up short. Before buying I researched this retailer and found that they had hundreds of satisfied customers and came highly recommended.

The full story, with detail, will come at a later date. For now I’d like to know if you would give this retailer a second chance based on their reputation, or would you never look back?

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Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - I’m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

3 thoughts on “How many chances do you give a retailer

  1. Chances are I will never use the same retailer if I had a bad experience with him. However, I might give him a second chance if there’s not much competition (e.g. only two specialized shops in a small town).

  2. In an ideal world, retailers get it right for their customers, first time, every time.

    Unfortunately, every retailer is dependant upon a range of uncontrollable variables from the manufacturers, distributors and shippers, to the weather, import/export restrictions and currency fluctuations (to name but a few), to ensure that goods are available to ship out to customers as promised.

    The bigger the retailer, the greater the chance that an order will be ‘handled’ by a greater number of individuals. The chain between the customer and the originator of the product becomes increasingly more fragile as another link is added.

    Employee sickness, insufficient experience or training, work overload, mis-communication all have the potential to come into play no matter what the philosophy, values or integrity of the company.

    Good customer service means thinking laterally about customer service; in order to consistently exceed customers’ expectations, first we have to recognize that every aspect of our business has an impact on customer service, not just those aspects of our business that involve face-to-face customer contact.
    Over time, good customer service attracts – and retains – more new customers than promotions and price slashing. A satisfied customer will return to buy more, and will recommend new customers – a customer whose complaint is not addressed, won’t.

    In a four year research study of approximately 600 firms across the UK, it was found that the percentage of satisfied customers who planned to maintain their relationship with a particular firm could fall as low as 21%. The main reason customers leave is lack of trust in the company. Usually as a result of poor communication and/or responses by employees to customer concerns. The probability to re-sell to lost customers is between 20-40%, and the probability of success for new prospects is between 5-20%. Therefore, a company that focuses on attracting new customers rather than on retaining existing customers, will potentially lose considerably more money in seeking out new business

    Customer service has to involve superior, unexpected service. In a nutshell, it means doing what you say you will, when you say you will, how you say you will, at the price you promised-plus a little extra tossed in to say “I appreciate your business.”

    Research from Great Brook [Bolton MA] has shown that customers who have received poor service, which was subsequently resolved efficiently and effectively, are significantly more loyal to a company than customers who have never had reason to complain. Therefore immediate acknowledgement of the problem coupled with a sincere apology and speedy resolution are the key values to complaint handling, resulting in positive word-of-mouth about the company.

    My conclusion? It isn’t about offering the retailer a second chance based upon their reputation, but based upon the retailer’s willingness to admit when (almost invariably human) errors are made, commitment to working with the customer to resolve the presenting issue, and to utilize each presenting problem as an opportunity to address the internal systems and procedures to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence.

    Helen Oster

    Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

  3. Helen,
    Thanks for the information. While I’ve only had to deal with customer service a handful of times over the years, its great to find a company that goes out of their way to take care of things.

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