One thing that we noticed when moving here is that customers’ needs are not always given the priority they merit. We’ve spoken to other expats who share a similar opinion. It seems that a good portion of frontline employees are simply not empowered to do their utmost to help customers resolve an issue.
Of course, we don’t want to generalize. In the months that we’ve been here, we certainly cannot say that we have been able to get a good snapshot of the entire London customer service experience. However, we did get a good idea. And especially the first weeks were very tricky. For example, when one of our phone lines wouldn’t work, we were repeatedly told to wait another day – and that response remained consistent even a week after the new line should have started working. It took a meltdown in the middle of a busy store to finally get them to issue a refund.
So, we’ve lowered our expectations, which is another way of saying we really expect nothing. We’d rather be positively surprised when something great happens than expect it and be disappointed.
And we were positively surprised recently. Because we love cooking, we have accumulated quite a collection of kitchen equipment, some shipped from the US and the electronics purchased here – why doesn’t the whole world adopt the same voltage? One item we purchased here is a Cuisinart nut and spice grinder. We use it regularly to, well, grind nuts and spices. One of the great things about this piece of equipment is that it came with an extra grinding bowl, which comes in extremely handy during busy cooking sessions when we need to grind different ingredients, especially if we don’t want to mix them since they’re being used in different dishes. And the bowls came with lids, so we can even store our ground ingredients rather than dirty another container.
Anyway, we really like this grinder so you can understand our disappointment when the base of one of the bowls cracked, rendering that one useless. Of course, we still have a fully functional bowl, and with a price tag of £50, we didn’t feel like replacing the whole grinder. Although we tried to find a replacement bowl, but weren’t successful.
Instead, we tried our luck emailing Cuisinart’s customer service team and asking whether they sold parts. We got a reply within hours asking for more details, namely where and when we purchased the grinder and its serial number. The reply back came immediately – we were asked to provide our home address so that they could send us a replacement.
We were stunned, in a good way. Cuisinart could have easily sold us the bowl, but they just said they would replace it. This, we thought, is a company that understands that a good after-sales experience can win a customer for life. Next time we are thinking about purchasing a new piece of equipment, we will certainly keep in mind that Cuisinart not only answered our inquiry quickly and efficiently, but also catered for it perfectly.
Yesterday we received our replacement bowl. We have a fully working grinder again. And we’re thrilled. While we understand that it might be impassible for every company to replace broken items, answering questions and pointing customers in the right direction is not only appreciated, but should be expected.