Many companies have great service and many have great products. Combine them together and you get a company that really excels. So, what happens when you have a great product, but the customer doesn’t want it? What is your return policy? Is it “the customer is always right”?
I had two recent experiences that showed how some companies stick to their money back guarantees, no matter what.
Last weekend, I went to the REI garage sale. If you have never been to one of these, they are a real treat. Twice a year, they put out all the returned and rental items at massively discounted prices. You have to be an REI member (which costs $15 for a lifetime membership – pretty cheap, I think) and you have to compete, fight with, ok, negotiate with about 300 other people for great deals. You don’t really go with a list of what you want, but rather, just see what you can get without being crushed by others. I sometimes just shop in the aisles where people have dropped off items that they find out don’t fit – hiking boots, clothes, you name it.
As I was looking through a massive pile of approximately 300 shoes, a woman next to me remarked that she couldn’t believe how many items were brand new and barely worn, yet someone had returned them. You see, REI stands behind their products and will take any item back, no matter what. Liek Costco, everything you buy is tagged to your membership number and they can look it up and give you back your money instantly. The good news is that I got a pair of aqua-sport shoes that normally retail at $80 for about a quarter of that – and they appear to be unworn.
Why do I write this? Because REI offers a money back guarantee, no matter what! I have seen people bring back equipment and clothing that appears to have gone through a wood chipper….and get their money back. They stand behind their product!!
The second occurrence actually happened to my wife. She bought some hair products from Ulta – a chain salon – and after using quite a bit of the product, decided that it did not work for her. She took it back to the salon and walked out with a full refund. Happy customer!
Sure, REI’s tents cost more than Wal-mart and Ulta’s haircuts are $100, but they stand solidly behind what they sell. We sometimes only associate customer service with how the interaction plays out between the customer and the company, but we must recognize that the actions of the company’s employees are driven by the policies.
Set good policies and good customer service follows.
Thanks for reading,