I asked Rocky Mountain Soap Company, a retail store in the Mayfair Mall in Victoria B.C., about their idea of customer service and how to turn bad to good.
1) In one or two sentences, define good customer service according to Rocky Mountain Soap?
Great customer service is all about adding value to the customer’s day – over and above the benefits of the product that they have bought or might buy in the future. At Rocky Mountain Soap, customer service means listening to the customer, identifying their needs (not ours) and providing them with a solution or sometimes even just an answer to a question – this is the essence. People can buy soap or bath and body products anywhere. What we do is to try to show the customer the benefits of using out products – and so if we can educate the customer about an ingredient, product usage, potential concerns, like allergies, then we have done more than just sold them a product and it is perhaps more likely that they will come back.
2) From a retail perspective, what’s one of your customer service pet peeves?
While we strive to impart product knowledge to our customers, it can be frustrating if they are not listening. Listening is a two way street. If we explain that we don’t use an emulsifier in a product and that it must be shaken before use, this is for the customer’s benefit. We have a no questions asked return policy on all our products, but when a customer returns a product because they didn’t perhaps listen carefully to us, we feel bad, not for the lost sale, but for the lost opportunity for the customer to experience a great product. That being said, it is incumbent upon us, as product advisors to get the messaging right. At Rocky Mountain Soap, we honestly are not into sales pitches – and so perhaps, when guests hear stuff like product usage, they are misunderstanding that it is a sales pitch. On this front, we can do better.
3) Can you provide an example of how you turned a bad experience into a good one through customer service?
A customer came in and complained that a soap that she was using caused her to break out into a rash. We asked her a few questions and realised that she had eczema and had inadvertently bought soap with strong essential oils, instead of our pumpkin patch soap that is designed for sensitive skin – which happens to look similar to the citrus based soap that she had picked up instead. We refunded her money, gave her two bars of the pumpkin patch, explained “our” mistake and apologised. She came in angry, expecting to have to argue to get a refund. She left with a refund, the proper soap and a huge smile on her face. She is still a customer today.
The UpSOLD! (courtesy of @britt_morrow)
I ordered something online from Victoria’s Secret and waited about a month for it to arrive. I called them in a bit of a panic because I was leaving for Europe for a year in a week and still hadn’t received my item – turns out it got lost in the mail. They were very polite over the phone and sent me a replacement at no charge via express mail which arrived the next day.
I have had other experiences with them too to varying extents, all of which they have been nothing but polite and accommodating.
Solve Don’t Sell.
It seems so simple but so few businesses seem to get it. Solve my problem, don’t sell me a service. From my own experience and from becoming more attuned to the ups and downs of customer service since I started writing this blog, it has just become more apparent. The best service and relationships are built from pulling (the problem from the customer), not pushing (the product or service).
Pulling, not pushing.
Think of it like you’re about to walk in front of a bus. What would you rather happen?
Solve Don’t Sell.