I love bidding on e-Bay - it brings out the thrill of the chase in me and permits me to exercise my bared-teeth hunter instincts in quite civilized ways. I can even feel my heart thumping at times, while I am calculating when to place my bid seconds before the auction ends.
As my almost 4-year old daughter is obsessed with enacting the Disney princess roles, I was excited to bid successfully on a Snow White costume for her size. It arrived several days later and I stashed it away. I was saving it as one of her rewards in our "five gold stars for desireable behavior" reward system, so you can imagine her and my disappointment when we pulled out the costume as her reward and discovered that it was way too small.
I e-mailed the seller, and promptly received this reply on a weekend day:
I am so sorry you're not happy with the costume. I have a daughter that is almost 2 and very small, still wearing 12-18 months so I know how the size they say something is doesn't always matter. I just wrote what the package said the size was and I never opened it. I don't want you to be unhappy or her not to have a dress so you can just send it back and I will refund your money because unfortunately I don't have any other sizes. Again I am very sorry and hope your daughter finds a dress you are both happy with and I hope this has not upset her. I will send her a little gift. Thank you....
I was delighted. Not just a pleased customer - a really delighted one. All because:
- She addressed me by my name, not just "hi"
- She apologized right away
- She made no excuses to justify the "error" - just offered a simple explanation
- She used a "story-telling" technique, however brief, that I could relate to about her own daughter and her struggles with the sizing of clothes for kids
- She expressed her empathy for feelings I and my daughter might have had even though I had not expressed such feelings in my e-mail - I had been quite factual
- She offered a token of her caring by way of a small gift for my daughter to offer some form of remedy
- She repeated her apology
- She used simple language that rang with sincerity
Will I do business again with her should the opportunity arise? You bet I will! And I will send others to her online store, given a chance.
What small steps could you be taking to delight your patients, clients or customers in response to their grumbles about your services, or product?