From time to time I will praise a local business that gives good service and / or goes above and beyond to offer exemplary examples of fortitude in trying to correct an issue.
This isn’t to say a large corporation cannot do the same but due to their large size and the diversity of their employee pool it can be a crap shoot.
When “they” get it wrong, I let them have it. When they get it right I should scream just as loudly and that is why I have written this post.
This was my recent experience with Staples (online) which has a store location here in Wallingford (the email I sent to Staples Corporate is below).
SUBJECT: Premium Customer Service Received regarding my Staples Pink Mesh Chair order
To All concerned,
I wanted to take the time this morning as I commute in to work on Metro North to NYC to express my thanks to Tracy Combs (primarily, as I worked with her directly and extensively) as well as Matthew Robinson who assisted in helping me to resolve multiple issues with my order of the Staples Pink Mesh Chair.
To be completely fair, Staples lost money on this order. Between the courtesy credit to part of my order for the troubles and the amount of “manpower” dedicated to resolve the issue, this was a cost to the corporation.
I want to offer a little back ground on the issue because it was not something simple to address so please bear with me on the lengthy email. I promise you, it’s worth reading every word to fully appreciate the entire situation.
My wife and I recently bought our eight year old daughter Angela a desk for room to work on her laptop I repaired (second hand) and to do other school work. When I logged on to the Staples website to let her pick out her chair this is the one she wanted:
So we went about placing the order on Saturday September 6th and received an email stating “Expected Delivery: September 12, 2014”.
Much to our surprise on Monday the 8th we received an email that Order 9712990805 was out of stock, the order was cancelled, and that the item is expected to be back in stock in 5-7 business days. I didn’t tell my daughter and I was a little disappointed after it showed in stock but it happens so I just would re-order it.
On Saturday the 13th I went back online to see the item in stock again (the same way it was listed prior and shown above as “In Stock Online”) so I placed the order (number 9713268047). On Monday the 15th I got the same form email that the chair was out of stock, the order was cancelled, and that the item is expected to be back in stock in 5-7 business days. I contacted support via email and asked them to NOT cancel the order but to just fill it when the chair came back in stock but they couldn’t do that as it was already canceled and they had no way to override the system automation. I also asked “why is this still showing as “In Stock Online” but I never got a follow up.
I asked my daughter at that point if there was another chair she might like as there was an issue with ordering this one and she looked around disappointedly but really was set on this one (although she did choose another one). I try to look at things pragmatically but when it comes to some simple things like a favorite whatever that is going to make my kids happy (my daughter or any of the three boys) I try to make it happen. We don’t spoil our kids but we know life can be a tough ride so the little niceties – we like to try to deliver on them.
So with that mindset, on Wednesday the 17th I decided to try the order again (9713439416) and it was cancelled – again. It was at that time I called the service center and began dealing with Tracy Combs. She is the epitome of customer service. Throw away whatever training manuals you use presently to train staff and let her write them. She took my call, listened to every word I said, understood the problem from a practical sense (ordering and fulfillment). She was genuinely empathetic, understanding that I was emotionally upset over the whole scenario – from the amount of time and effort I put into this and due to the fact my daughter was set on this chair. Tracy was sympathetic to the problem and made zero excuses – she looked over the three orders and didn’t know why (at the time) they were showing available for ordering and kept cancelling out. She engaged Matthew to help her as she was going to be out for planned time off and he stepped in and followed up over the weekend and into Monday.
On Monday the 22nd I tried the order again (9713589090). Tracy basically “watched” it enter the system and fail out. She had followed up prior and found out the ordering system issue (internal pricing error) and escalated it so that it could be corrected. Basically because of that pricing error, the chairs WERE in stock but the orders were being cancelled because of that issue. She was hopeful that it was corrected for this order but it wasn’t.
She continued to work on the issue over the week and on Monday the 29th we entered order 9713834969 which was finally successful as the internal pricing error was corrected.
All the work and effort produced this result on the evening of Wednesday October 1:
As I said before, Staples lost money on this order. Between the courtesy credit to part of my order for the troubles and the amount of “manpower” dedicated to resolve the issue, this was a cost to the corporation. What Staples has gained is my further loyalty to a corporation that takes the time to care about one customer despite having hundreds of thousands of others.
I’ll make sure to let as many other people that I can know about this as well.
In the meantime I wanted to make sure the people that helped make my daughter happy, that helped resolve the issue to make that possible, received my personal thanks and that people in Staples Corporate knew these details as well.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email in its entirety and I hope everyone has a great week and weekend.