A Tale of Two Experiences: Customer Delight and Customer Frustration

Customer service is a dinosaur. “Serving” someone or a constituency just isn’t enough. You have to delight your customer, client, prospect, patient or guest. Even my veterinarian has chocolate to suck on while paying your bill.

Your choices are to delight someone or disappoint them. That’s really it. You may say, “of course I don’t want to disappoint a customer”. If you are not delighting them, then you are disappointing.

Two recent experiences, one was delight all the way through the process and the other was surprise, and not the good kind, frustration and promises not kept.

November I was in Chicago and made three purchases at their flagship brick and mortar Michigan Ave. Neiman Marcus, the store that is supposed to be the holy grail of customer delight. One way they delight those of us from Ohio is to offer free shipping and no tax on all purchases. I had 60 days to return for full credit.

The items came after I returned home. NM supplies the address label and form for easy returns. You just slap on the label, tape up the box, and give it to your mail carrier. I returned one item the first week of December, expecting to see a credit on my January statement.

Five weeks after I sent the return back to NM, I got a call on my cell phone from New York City. A rep from the store Bergdorf Goodman was calling to tell me they were sending back my package, it had been sent to them instead of Neiman Marcus. The confusion began: I had purchased it from Neiman Marcus, Chicago.

Another week passed until the box arrived now from NYC. This is one well-traveled return. The first problem was that the address label was supplied by NM, not by me. The second problem was that I was now edging in on that 60 day time limit. The third is that I did not know where to start, my credit card company or the store.

My credit card company referred me to Neiman Marcus, assuring me that they would be a great help. After a quick internet search I found that both stores are owned by the same conglomerate.  NM had sent me a return label for Bergdorf. I don’t believe the client is going to question where the return is to be sent.

I called customer service in Chicago. Chrissy gave me her direct line to call her back on, except that she gave me the wrong number, not even a NM extension. She told me she would call me back in five minutes and did not call me back in 5 hours.

I believe the problem is on its way to being rectified, but I would not say I was delighted.

Moshe on the other hand had a great experience with an auto body shop. Of all places, can you imagine that! He had to have work done on his car. It was done a day early, no questions on insurance, the car was so well cleaned out it could have been sold as new.

It doesn’t matter your profession, retail or auto. Everyone has the ability to delight.

Is your goal customer delight or customer service or customer disdain?

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