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.