My river house in the mountains of North Georgia just got fiber optic high speed Internet. In Internet talk, we went from 10 mpbs to over 100 and the capacity to stream TV instead of using a pricey satellite dish. But one of the older TVs needed a fire stick to interface with the Internet. We wanted a 4K, not a 1080. I called Target in Athens to inquire if they had an Amazon Fire Stick 4K in stock; they did. So, on our way to the river for the weekend, my wife and I stopped to buy the fire stick.
There was one on the shelf with a $49 price tag. I took it to the register. When the clerk rang up $39 on the credit card, I knew immediately it was the wrong item—a 1080, not a 4K. The nice clerk told me I could take the item and my receipt to customer service, get a refund, and purchase the correct one. The customer service line was long given the holidays, so I went to Lia, the store greeter and explained the situation. She listened intently.
“Walk with me back to the department and we can get you the correct one,” she said, “my smart phone says we have one in stock; the one you picked up might have been put on the wrong shelf.”
Then, magic happened.
“No wait,” she said. “You stay here, and I will go back and swap the one you bought for the correct item.” It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
When she returned with the correct item, she bypassed the long customer service line, and went to a computer to ring it up. “You will need my credit card,” I said as she passed me. But she was on a mission to make it all right. Returning with my receipt, she said, “There is no added charge for the higher priced item given the trouble our error has caused you; I am so sorry.” It took our breath away. I commented to my wife as we left the store, “This is exactly why Target is beating their competition.” So, what was the Lia secret?
She listened. She did not make me do extra work to correct their error. She cut through all hassle. She apologized for their lack of a perfect experience. She atoned for their error by not charging me $10 more for a higher-priced item. But the best thing she did? She worked for an organization that trusted her to make it right for the customer. Delivering a great customer experience is not complicated; it just needs to matter enough to make the customer the bull’s eye of your target and then execute!
Dr. Chip Bell is considered a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and service innovation and has helped many Fortune 100 companies dramaitcally enhance their bottom lines and marketplace reputations through innovative customer-centric strategies.