Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Know your buyer's dream not just the need

It is important for a company to not just think of its customers as people who get what they paid for but instead as people who get "the story" they paid for. This story (via kim) is a great example of that.

From consumerist.com:

Ritzy Fifth Avenue jeweler Tiffany & Co. failed to ship Chris' grandfather a bracelet for his wife in time for Christmas. We expect a certain level of service from high-end stores, but Tiffany's extravagant amends caught us by surprise.

My grandfather ordered an engraved Tiffany silver bracelet as a surprise Christmas gift for my grandmother. He had custom engraving put on the bracelet, and had arranged for the bracelet to be delivered to my house about 2 weeks before Christmas. Two weeks after the order (when we should've received the bracelet), there was no bracelet. We gave it another week, and the my grandfather emailed Tiffany customer support. He received an automated response stating that because of the overwhelming Christmas rush, he needed to contact customer support via their 800 number. Of course, the 800 number was impossible to get through to also.

My grandfather, being the laid back man that he is, wasn't really angry, but he wanted to know what was going on with the bracelet. Tiffany customer service ended up calling him on the Friday before Christmas. As luck would have it, he was out fishing, and my grandmother talked to them, thus ruining the surprise. When he returned home, he was able to actually get through to the rep who called him earlier. She informed him that because of a Christmas rush they were not expecting, the bracelet would not be arriving before Christmas. To make up for the fact that they had ruined the surprise and would not be getting the bracelet to my grandfather before Christmas, they would be giving him the order FREE. He asked to clarify, asking if they just meant the shipping or the engraving free, but no, the ENTIRE COST of the order was FREE. Of course, he was blown away (after all, this is a $255 bracelet, plus the cost of engraving and shipping).

Tiffany ended up shipping the bracelet on Saturday, overnighting it to my house where I received it on Monday. There was no invoice or such in the box, so we were still wondering IF the bracelet was actually going to be free (with the final call coming from the credit card bill). Sure enough, when the credit card bill came that would've contained the charge, there was absolutely no charges from Tiffany.

So, it's nice to know that there are indeed some companies who want to keep their reputation that treat their customers well.

Sometimes you get the service you intended to pay for. For Tiffany, which stocks $210,000 bracelets, $255 isn't much to keep the customer happy and willing to consider larger purchases.

Good job Tiffany's.

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