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Customer Satisfaction: How far is too far?

When it comes to customer satisfaction how far are you willing to go to make/keep the customer happy? - by AZBroker
I'm willing to perform as agreed. Nothing more. ;) - by Jackie
As far as I can without compromising my dignity, ethics, or pocketbook! - by Irene Morales Ward
As far as I can without compromising my dignity, ethics, or pocketbook!
Good answer. I agree. - by RainMaker
As far as I can without compromising my dignity, ethics, or pocketbook!
I agree with Irene, and I'd add that I will do as much for a customer as is within my definition of my services. For example, if I was a web designer and my client wanted me to actually write her copy, but I had decided to focus just on design, I wouldn't go outside my strategy just to please that customer. I might, however, hire or refer her to a writer.

Make sense?

We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship -- Omar Nelson Bradley

Terri Z - by Terri Zwierzynski
If you're referring to problem resolution, I'd do whatever is necessary, assuming that the customer believes they have a legitimate problem, even if it affects my pocketbook.

If it seems like the customer is just out to get something for nothing, I'll draw the line, of course, because I know they'll never be able to make a case with other people if they're asking for something unreasonable.

There are statistics that go something like: a satisfied customer will tell 2 other people, but a dissatisfied customer will tell 10. It's very difficult to regain a reputation.

So, if I give them a discount on their next purchase, and they're happy, so be it. I want happy customers. And, of course, the best way to avoid problems in the first place is to make very sure you and your customer are communicating about expectations and results! - by KSA-Mktg
If you're referring to problem resolution, I'd do whatever is necessary, assuming that the customer believes they have a legitimate problem, even if it affects my pocketbook.
That would go too far for me.

If there "is" a legitimate issue then I'll make it right but for me the client's beliefs or perception have no impact on what "is" legitimate. - by AZBroker
That would go too far for me.
AZ - I didn't say I'd let someone walk over me. Guess I was thinking about a time when I sold signs. And, maybe a customer got upset about the color of the lettering. They wanted red, and they got red, but to them, it looked more like orange. Neither of us did anything wrong, and a reasonable person wouldn't make a big issue of it.

But, if someone was really upset, guess I could have told them that it was just too bad. What I would most likely do is to say that I was sorry that what the manufacturer called red wasn't their idea of red, suggest that for their next sign, we should look at the colors so they could pick the one they liked, regardless of what the color was called.

Most people would accept that, but if someone was going to walk out mad, I'd offer a 10% discount on their next order. Problems like that didn't come up very often. And, if the small discount on their next order kept them coming back and referring others, I considered it a marketing expense!

You may still disagree, but just thought I'd clarify. :)

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
You may still disagree, but just thought I'd clarify. :)
Your example sounds legitimate to me. :) - by AZBroker
As I see it, "Customer Satisfaction" is subjective by nature. To remedy this, "objective" metrics could and probably should be adopted. - by Gilbert
As I see it, "Customer Satisfaction" is subjective by nature. To remedy this, "objective" metrics could and probably should be adopted.
I agree. This "metric" or measurement of satisfaction could be tied to specific objectives or outcomes. This will keep the surprises down to a minimum at the end of the project. - by SalesGuy
When it comes to customer satisfaction how far are you willing to go to make/keep the customer happy?
If you're in sales, how far can you go? It's important that you create and manage good experiences for your customer. It's equally important to keep all of your promises. Lastly, I think it's expected that you would act on behalf of your customer to resolve problems with the company you represent or their service.

Regarding "how far", those are finite responsibilities for salespeople. It seems that the question and most of the previous replies involve owners or managers of a company. Hopefully, any company, large or small, would have a solid policy on customer satisfaction so that the salesperson would not have to carry that load.

Nordstroms is a famous exception. They allow all employees to make decisions regarding customer satisfaction. But I don't think most companies could pull that off. - by Gary Boye
It depends on the expectations of your customer. That's why it so important to clarify what your customer wants and expects BEFORE the sale is completed.

The size of the client and their purchase(s) is also a factor. I'm willing to do more to please my large accounts compared to a small customer.

Ultimately, the question to ask is, "Does it make good business sense to do...?"

Cheers!
Kelley - by Kelley Robertson
Great Question.

I would do what I can to please the customer, but once it reaches a point where it is outside of my business objective, customer management and marketing objective, then I would weigh the ramifications of further actions.

Once there was a customer who wanted a replacement of a tire. The store didn't sell tires, but the customer insisted that the tires were bought from the store. That store decided to replace the tire even if they didn't sell the product...

The Store ... NORDSTROMS!

Follow the lead of Success. - by cs_obd
Great Question.

I would do what I can to please the customer, but once it reaches a point where it is outside of my business objective, customer management and marketing objective, then I would weigh the ramifications of further actions.

Once there was a customer who wanted a replacement of a tire. The store didn't sell tires, but the customer insisted that the tires were bought from the store. That store decided to replace the tire even if they didn't sell the product...

The Store ... NORDSTROMS!

Follow the lead of Success.
Yeah, what Ritchie said. :) - by Gilbert
The Store ... NORDSTROMS!

Follow the lead of Success.
As far as I'm concerned, Nordstroms wrote the book on customer service. We don't have one in our area, but whether, I've been in Santa Barbara , San Francisco, or Seattle, I have never been in a Nordstroms without buying something. The same spirit of helpfulness that is part of their service policy also exists among their sales professionals.

The employee who creatively solved the tire problem was able to do so because Nordstroms has a policy that allowed him to do so. Most companies do not have a policy like that. - by Gary Boye
That is very true. Leaving customer satisfaction to the whims of your sales team is not a good practice.

A true systematic, overall organizational approach is in call when tackling this idea. If customer satisfaction, better yet, customer management systems is not in place for the entire business, then all the efforts set forth will not be quantifiable and it will be difficult to gauge what is acceptable and what is not. - by cs_obd
Great Question.

I would do what I can to please the customer, but once it reaches a point where it is outside of my business objective, customer management and marketing objective, then I would weigh the ramifications of further actions.

Once there was a customer who wanted a replacement of a tire. The store didn't sell tires, but the customer insisted that the tires were bought from the store. That store decided to replace the tire even if they didn't sell the product...

The Store ... NORDSTROMS!

Follow the lead of Success.
Bah Humbug! That sounds like an employee couldn't figure out how to handle the situation so he/she gave away the farm.

In that particular situation the lifetime value of the client might have made up for the hit to the bottom line but I'd be surprised if the typical Nordstroms, or any typical department store, employee would use that as a guideline for making such a decision. - by Jackie
Yeah, it's an unusual situation, and there are probably many stories out there that have the same correlation to the Nordstorm's Story.

The important "lesson" I derive from the story is - customers are the reason we have for-profit businesses, and without them we would be nothing. So take care of them, and nurture them, and help them grow along side your business. - by cs_obd
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