I have this friend, let’s call him Fred* (*name withheld for obvious reasons), who buys DVDs from Metro Walk. When new stocks arrive, Fred* gets a text from the seller to come by. Fred* gets discounts on every purchase. The seller lets Fred* know if it’s a good copy or a bad copy while he’s buying. And if it so happens that the quality is still bad upon watching at home, Fred* can return the DVDs and replace with new ones. There was even a time Fred* watched the whole DVD, didn’t like the plot and the seller still let him return it. Now, if every other company trusted its customer like the Metro Walk DVD sellers do, then they’d probably get the same level of loyalty as Fred* does to his trusted seller.
Metro Walk is the closest example I can think of to Apple Customer Service. I’ve taken advantage of my Apple Care Insurance plan 2x in the last 7 years and I am very happy that they really replace parts without any hassle except for the wait.
On the other hand, there are those companies that are stingy with customer service. A few weeks ago, our 6-year old GE refrigerator wouldn’t get cold. I called their service department. They sent a service guy to check but he said he didn’t have parts so he would come back. He charged me P350 for the assessment. He came back for the repair, charged me parts and labor amounting to P4,000 and again another P350 for the visit. Hey, I bought a P40,000 refrigerator and you can’t even waive P350??
Then this week I called Sky Cable 2 times. The first to report a signal loss. The second was to ask for one of our extensions to get cut. On both occasions, they told me that they would charge me P300+ for a service fee. I’ve been a subscriber for 7 years (not counting my account from my mom’s house). Can’t they allocate a certain amount for free service every year?
In my own company, Aquasana Store, we really decided from the start, our customer service would be great, patterned after the U.S. manufacturer. Delivery and installation of our filters are free. If our filters need additional attachments to fit your shower or faucet, our installer, Mang Efren even buys the parts for you, if he has time. We do free ocular visits for customers who want a Whole House filter. After your purchase, if you join our Water For Life program, you receive an auto-reminder every 4 months to replace your filter, 20% off replacement cartridges, free delivery and a lifetime warranty with no questions asked. Even if you break the filter on your own, we will replace. Initially, we were worried about the policy but after 2 years of implementation, we’ve only experienced very few requests for replacement – about 1% – and they were valid replacements. We have had few customer complaints, which we address quickly. This policy has worked well for us and if only the big-named manufacturers could do the same, then their customers would be really happy. Some may think that we price higher to cover for customer service costs but we don’t. Our prices are at par with U.S. prices (we just add local tax) and our filters cost even lower than other filters.
Unfortunately, most companies don’t trust customers. They think everyone is out to get them or find a way around the system. My suggestion to you big businesses: don’t penalize the 99% of your customer base for the possibility of the 1% gaming the system. Your customers take the time to think about buying your product and pay thousands for them. Don’t you think you should return the favor? Hey, if Metro Walk can do it for a P40 DVD, maybe you can too.