Recently, iStockphoto had a bit of a row after trying a somewhat misguided method of trying to deal with global currencies. The details of the iStockphoto pricing snafu are covered at MicrostockDiaries.com, but the point of the whole thing is what the owner (or the business) does when confronted with a wrong, or at least the perception of one.
Whether it the customer truly has been wronged or not doesn’t matter. How you handle the wrong is what really makes the difference.
In iStockphoto’s case, they not only refunded the difference from what some customers perceive as double charges, but they also let the commissions on the original charges stand as paid. Sometimes mistakes cost money. In the short term, this one certainly did, but in the long term, it’ll pay dividends.
Earlier today, a customer of my wife’s online business emailed noting that one of the tins he received wasn’t as full as the others. After explaining that the others were actually overfilled and that normal filling to meet the net weight on the label is not “full to the brim”, I told him I’d be sure he received a second tin in the mail just to be on the safe side.
You see, it’s our fault that the customer’s expectations weren’t set properly, not the customer’s. It doesn’t matter whether the tin was right or not. What matters is how it was handled. If I did nothing but explain the issue away, and even if the customer weighed the tin and found it correct, the customer would be happy and nothing would be said about it.
However, sending the customer another tin just because will not only reassure him that he will be treated right in the future, but it will also get repeated to the customer’s friends. And it’ll motivate folks on this end of things to make sure that expectations (“settling may occur” and similar verbage) are properly set so that a second tin doesn’t have to go out every time.
What’s the most memorable problem resolution you can recall by a company, either as a customer, as the vendor who put it in place, or as an uninvolved bystander?