VIZIO TV - A Textbook Illustration of Bad Customer Service!
The sell price of this TV is $269.00. The manufacturer's cost of the TV is in obviously somewhere in the $100.00 range. In one of our discussions, a representative at VIZIO acknowledged there is a defect with the TV. They won't do anything about it, however, because their "policy" requires them to have this picture of the "elusive blurry line" prior to taking care of their defective TV.
So, what is the price of customer good will? In the case of VIZIO, it's not worth the cost of this TV. Instead of just replacing the TV and making a customer happy, they are instead wasting everyone's time while waiting for the blurry line to return when Grandma has a camera in hand. As a business owner, I fully understand the importance of having policies and procedures in place. But aren't there times when taking care of the customer is more important than an inflexible policy? Especially when solving the problem would appear to be a no-brainer. They acknowledge that the TV is defective. This isn't a case were the customer would benefit from lying. Grandma just wants the TV she bought to work.
There is a happy ending! In a textbook example of outstanding customer service, Costco rose to the occasion and stepped outside the lines to take care of this, by issuing a credit for the VIZIO TV. My grandmother now is very happy with her new Samsung L.E.D. TV and of course has told all her friends at the Senior Center how great Costco is and how much grief she went through with VIZIO prior to a stressful surgery. She's one feisty lady... and is ready take on her surgery knowing she can watch Wheel of Fortune on a quality TV!
So, how does this relate to our businesses? I'll always remember something I learned from SnugZ USA during a PPAI Leadership Conference. In a small group discussing business challenges and customer service issues, one supplier commented that he knew distributors were lying about problems on an order just to get some sort of a "deal." That's frustrating of course, but the response from SnugZ USA's CEO, Brandon Mackay, MAS was memorable. Brandon said they don't waste time with these issues. He explained that SnugZ USA empowers their Customer Service Reps to make the choice they feel is best and move on, adding that there is only so much capitol they can put in a day and it's not productive to waste it. This policy has reduced stress for the CSR's and created a more pleasant work environment. Brandon recalled that in reality, any adjustments they conceded to were a minimal loss and not worth worrying about.