Do you realize how much customer service affects your reputation and brand?
When a consumer purchases a product, and everything goes as expected, their view of the product brand is hardly influenced. If that same consumer purchases a product and then discovers an issue or defect with that product, their view of the product decreases of course. However, if that same company then solves the problem in a fast, easy and friendly manner, the consumer’s view of the brand increases enormously. This part of the sales process is called the “Follow-Up” stage (more about this in the future).
While I am not suggesting that you sell a defective product or service that will invariably require repair work on your part, consider the Apple iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 had a hardware problem that resulted in dropped calls and reception problems. While Apple never wanted to admit there was a problem, it eventually offered a rubber bumper that helped prevent interference when touching the lower left hand corner.
When they finally offered a (free) solution, Apple had much happier customers. Imagine how much happier their customers felt about having an iPhone that now worked correctly when they used it, compared to the happiness they would have felt if it had worked correctly from the beginning. Consumers now perceive the brand in a much better image because when they DID have a problem, it was fixed swiftly and efficiently.
What incentive was there for Apple to fix their product (if they suspected there was a defect) when they knew that publicly having an issue and then solving it would have a much more positive effect on their brand?
I have experienced this interesting concept first-hand as well. Thankfully, when I purchased my car, I also bought the extended warranty through the dealership….
Recently, I had a bit of a problem with water leaking into my car, not a dealership fault, but not my fault either so it fell into the realm of the extended warranty. I took my car into the dealership on 5 different occasions and never once did they complain. (Yes, it was annoying that they couldn’t fix it the first time! But at least they kept taking it back until I was satisfied.) They have done their utmost to keep me as a happy and satisfied customer and even threw in a free service (even though I have never used them to service the car – in fact, I have never spent anything at the dealership beyond the initial purchase price of the car over a year ago).
Interestingly enough, I now have a more positive view of the dealership despite the issues that the car has had. This is because they have been so willing to take my car back, check it, and fix it without complaint. Even I laugh at how I now feel a greater sense of loyalty to them.