Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A word about customer service

We have just released our new Pattern Catalog and our design team is finally breathing a heavy sigh of relief.   We worked for many, many months on this catalog and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out.   It was a fantastic day when the boxes of new catalogs arrived! 

Or I should say -  the day the second batch of catalogs arrived.  The first batch was not bound correctly.  But took care of the mistake and reprinted our whole order with the correct binding. They did it rather quickly and with very little hassle.  This is truly the mark of a great company - how they react when problems arise.

As most companies do, we have always had the philosphy that we need to take care of our customers and give them superior service.  Every company out there will probably agree that their business could not survive if they didn't treat their customers well.  And in this economy, that is more true than ever.

We have not written this down or put it into any kind of official policy.  It has simply been the type of work environment that has developed throughout the years.  We have always held the belief that if we make an error, we take responsibility and we do whatever it takes to fix it as quickly as possible.  In most cases, our efforts result in a satisfied customer.  

Of course we have had (and will have) very few instances where unless we invent a teleportation machine and can beam the replacement tiles across the country the same day we get the call, the client will not be happy.  We are sorry when we are unable to meet expectations.  But we do the best we can within the constraints of our production process (and the laws of physics.)

"I'm a tile maker, Jim!  Not a miracle worker!

Our technique includes a number of steps that are solely human-driven.  So naturally some mistakes, like printing on the wrong type of stone, can happen.  And maybe we have to overnight eighty pounds of replacement stone tiles, so the client can keep their original installation date.  Ouch!  We cringe a little when we have to do something like that.  But we suck it up and do it, because if it is our error, it is the right thing to do.  In the short-term we might lose money on that order.  But in the long-term, we have gained irreplaceable goodwill from that client.

Gravity is not our friend
We value our relationships with our customers and we do our best to work with them to give them what they need.  Ninety-eight percent of our orders ship out with no problems.  But how we handle that other two percent is what will set us apart in the minds of our customers.  I personally feel fortunate to work for a company that understands that the "bottom line" (a.k.a. $$$$$$$$)  isn't the only measure of success.

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