As a publisher, I hope you realise excellent customer service is critical. Excellent customer service is not only good practise but also the decent thing to do. In today’s world businesses live or die by the quality of their customer service.
I’ve recently been reminded of two experiences of wildly different qualities of customer service. They have illustrated to me (again) how important customer service is in today’s world.
Mophie (A Disaster)
I purchased a Mophie portable battery for my MacBook Pro. All seemed good and the battery performed as expected for the first month or so. Then it died. This was annoying, but such is life. I contacted Mophie via their online chat help thingie. After running some tests, the lady helping me confirmed the battery was indeed dead and needed to be replaced.
Of course, she couldn’t do that herself—even though she was in customer service—so while I had her on the “line” I raised a warranty return for a faulty battery on their website…to be informed I had to pay the delivery charges on both the faulty battery and the replacement! For a £140 portable battery under five weeks old.
When I queried why I had to pay to return their faulty product, I was told it was company policy. So I asked for clarification: is it Mophie’s company policy to charge their customers to return their faulty products? Turns out, it is!
As you can probably guess, I declined their kind offer. Instead, I decided to return the device to the Apple store where I purchased it.
Apple (A Success)
The next day I took the battery back to the local Apple shop. I explained the situation to one of the shop’s blue-clad minions and in under ten minutes (we had to wait for a manager to arrive with his magic refund machine), I had a refund—no hassle, no drama.
The Big Question
Based solely on these two customer experiences, which company do you think I’ll be spending my hard-earned money with in the future? And, as a follow up, which company’s products do you think I’ll never buy again?
My customer service philosophy is simple: put yourself in the customer’s position and work out what you would reasonably want in the same situation. While it might be inconvenient, annoying or costly to fix the customer’s problem it’s the right thing to do.
Imagine this: a customer contacts you and has a problem with one of your products. Perhaps their PDF is corrupted or their book has fallen apart or been damaged in transit. Maybe the product’s electronic files are incompatible with their device of choice. Some of these might not be your fault, but as the customer, how would you want the situation resolved? Would you expect to pay more to fix the problem or would you expect the company to make it right?
I suspect your answer to those questions will directly correlate to your long term success as a publisher.