A great many years ago, I bought a pair of boots in the US whilst on holiday. I rarely wore them and they tended to sit in the back of a cupboard most of the time. After I had owned them for about 10 years I got them out to wear and found that the soles had started to perish. This was a very well known brand. I wasn’t particularly impressed, so I wrote to their UK Head Office. I got a nice letter back and was asked to return the boots. In the covering letter I enclosed when I did this, I mentioned that I had bought the boots in the US and would be happy with a repair. Given the age of the boots I also said I’d be happy to pay (as I figured this would be cheaper than replacement.
Almost by return, I got a letter of apology back. They had sent the boots to the lab for analysis and concluded that the quality of material used did not meet their high standards. Consequently they were sending me a brand new pair of replacement boots free of charge and also enclosed a cheque for my postal costs.
To say this exceeded my expectations was an understatement.
To this day, I have always got at least one shirt, jacket or pair of footwear in my wardrobe from this brand. I always look at their clothes when I am passing in John Lewis…
What did this pair of boots cost them? I don’t know, cost price and some postage. What did they get in return? A lifelong customer and a brand ambassador. To this day I still associate them with a high quality company that really does go the extra mile. Because, that was my experience. I have also relayed this to people many times.
How many organisations think like this when they have customer service challenges? How often does short term gain win out over long term relationships? I am not a slave to this brand, and it is probably co-incidental that I buy their stuff, perhaps I am of an age that the style suits? However, by doing the right thing, I have continued to buy their products and tell the story of how good they are…. 25 years later.
If your organisation isn’t able to do this, is it trying hard enough?
By the way – what is the brand?….. Timberland.