Now That’s GREAT Service!

My home phone rang and a voice said, “This is Costco. We notice in our records that in August/September you purchased a 3-box pack of Good Earth Caffeine Free Sweet & Spicy Herbal Tea. These have been recalled because some have been found to contained salmonella. Please either go on line to the manufacture for details or return them to your Costco store for a full refund.”

I went to the cupboard and pulled down the three boxes, and indeed they had the “sell by” date that the call referred to. I was very impressed!  Costco has millions of customers purchasing multi millions of products everyday. How did they find this tiny sale? And how did they find it for a two-month-old purchase? The call really got my attention. Not just because I obviously want to return the tea, but because of the deep customer care and the outstanding crises management they displayed.

Since I cover the topic of customer service in my speeches and seminars, I am particularly aware of great service. Good examples and stories like this one are worth their weight in gold.

A Quiz….Let’s Benchmark this Example

 A great way to improve your organizations customer service ratings and crises response is to continually benchmark against other companies or organizations. Go outside of your industry and look for ways to capture a fresh look of great service.  Take some points from the Costco example and make a list you can use as a customer service benchmark tool.

  •  What is your policy to address an emergency situation similar to the GoodEarth Tea problem?
  •  Do you have a culture of awareness and care like this example?
  •  Do you have the technology to search every customer/client record for purchases as small as a box of tea?
  •  If you do, how would you handle the problem; send an email, a letter, go on television and announce it?

The Gold Standard 

The gold standard for emergency actions was set on October 2, 1983 when James Burke, J & J’s CEO came on  television to announce that someone had tampered with Tylenol capsules, resulting in the deaths of two people from  cyanide poising. He described a dramatic program of recalls that was instigated immediately. Every B school in the country, and probably the world, uses the Tylenol story to teach crises management, corporate responsibility and personal accountability. If you are not familiar with this story, just go online and put in “Tylenol cyanide crises” and you can read the details.

You can never review your crises policies and plans too often. When you take the kind of instant actions of J & J and Costco you move into the record books of over the top world-class service, customer care and crises managment!

© 2010, Dr. Sheila. All rights reserved. On republishing this post you must provide link to original post.

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4 Responses to Now That’s GREAT Service!

  1. patriley says:

    This was a great read that also conveyed sound business advice! I look forward to your future posts.

  2. Jeannine Drew says:

    No wonder Costco is such a success. I’ve experienced their great service firsthand many times. Others that stand out (partly because great customer service is so rare): Crutchfield (incredible tech support, knowledgeable staff), Lands End (they’ve answered the phone after one ring every, as they promise, every time I’ve called, whether night or day); Bed Bath and Beyond (will happily take expired coupons), and Ogio, which replaced a part on my three-year-old golf bag free of charge (didn’t even charge me for shipping). Sheila, please keep spreading the word about great customer service, and how important it is to customer loyalty.

  3. Rico Newby says:

    An exciting discussion is worth comment. I feel that you simply should write far more on this topic, it may possibly not be a taboo subject but typically persons aren’t sufficient to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

    • Dr. Sheila says:

      Hello Rico, thanks for stopping by the blog. I am very passionate about the subject. So oftern we give just lip service to the idea of true service! I am posting another today on service. See you soon. Dr. Sheila

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