Every once in a while something happens that restores my faith in how smart businesses deal with their customers.
Today is such a day and the company is the folks at Wusthof. Let me relate the particulars and hopefully it brings a smile to your face as it did to mine. More importantly, hopefully there is a business point that’s helpful in your business.
As you might know if you read the screed, I like to cook. One very important part of the effort for me is having sharp knives. Over time I’ve actually convinced the other cooks in my home that keeping the knives sharp makes cooking easier and accidents less likely. While the knives get honed all the time, every so often they get a real, professional sharpening. Today was one of those days.
The Mrs. took many of the knives in our collection to the local Wusthof outlet which does sharpening. Most of our knives are that brand and we’ve been assembling the collection for the last 20+ years. She gave them to the salesperson who looked them over and said that she wouldn’t sharpen some of them since the handles were beginning to crack and they ought to be replaced. Since we never put knives in the dishwasher this must have been from normal use (although frankly I never noticed anything).
This is where my faith was restored. The salesperson informed my wife that Wusthof stands by their knives and she was going to replace all the ones in question. For free. After having the remaining knives sharpened, my wife walked out with 5 new knives – easily worth a few hundred dollars – and a shocked smile on her face. She never asked to have them replaced – we never even noticed anything was amiss other than they needed sharpening.
What is the official knife of me? What brand will I be recommending? Duh. But this is how customers should be treated, whether it’s a high-end knife or something else. Brand loyalty is a two-way street. It’s earned before it’s given and you have to stand with the customer, not oppose them. To any of you who will be receiving gifts from me in the near future, expect something sharp. To those of you trying to create fans, you can use all the social tools and run all the ads you want. Nothing can do so as well as one customer having an amazing experience and telling the world about how great your brand is.