Yesterday I wrote about how AT&T wireless treated me to show how some companies are putting the “service” back in customer service. Today, I’d like to present another great example and it comes from a different perspective.
The company is Carl’s Golfland, an online retailer. At least, I thought they were just an online retailer. Turns out they’re one of the oldest golf retailers around and they were chosen for the 27th consecutive time as one of Golf Digest‘s Top 100 Golf Shops. Carl’s is the only off course golf store to be named 100 best every year since the inception of the award. I suspect this might have had something to do with the service. More about that in a second.
They were recommended to me by a golf buddy who knew I was looking for a golf show that’s difficult to find, at least at a reasonable price. I went to the site, placed an order (great prices!) and received a confirmation mail almost immediately. Very good ordering and communication experience. However, the next day I got another mail – the shoes I had ordered had, in fact, been out of stock when I ordered them. As happens sometimes, the computer inventory hadn’t kept up with the physical inventory (I had this happen every so often when I was running an online store – it’s tricky). The note I received could not have been more pleasant and included a few proposed solutions – same shoe different color (with a link to it), a discount on a better shoe (with a link), or wait a few days for the inventory to restock. Since I needed the shoes quickly, I chose the different color (which I actually like better now that I have them).
The series of email exchanges were not with “customer service” – it went to an individual’s email box (thanks Tim!) and he promised me he’d make sure they got to me quickly (which they did a day later – no charge for what I suspect was upgraded shipping). They turned what might have been a big negative (first time customer, incorrect inventory, delayed order fulfillment) into a positive (I will be ordering from Carl’s again and have already recommended them to another golfing buddy). I suspect that their main business is still in bricks and mortar has something to do with this. It’s hard to look customers in the eye and blow them off (especially if you’re not in NYC or another big city). The fact that the store is rated very highly makes me think they emphasize the customer and this has carried through to their online store as well.
That’s something to think about – do you treat customers you know from cyberspace differently than the ones you’ve met in person? Why is that so?