Saturday, 31 December 2011

How to create raving fans....

There's a theory I learned back when the subsidiary of EDS I worked for was doing QA/QC/Leadership training, called the Raving Fans theory of customer support (I recommend the book, by the way).

It's really very simple: it says that spending relatively small amounts of money, time, and effort to do that bit extra for your customers is worth the same as spending many times its cost in marketing. If you screw up, customers will let their friends know, loudly and often. If you just deliver according to expectation, no-one bothers to mention it. If you go the extra mile... magic happens. And it really isn't rocket science.

A few examples (bear with me - this is about wargaming, honest!):

  • A while back I bought a second-hand Marshall guitar effects unit from my local music store, and happened to ask if they had the manual. They phoned Marshall, passed me the phone to a nice lady who asked for my address. Less than 24 hours later, free of charge, a manual (for a product on whose sale Marshall were making no money, remember) dropped through my letter box. Cost to them, one large letter stamp, one manual. About a fiver.
  • I buy guitar strings from Strings Direct. Why? Because the first order I placed on a friend's recommendation was for a dozen sets: twenty minutes after I placed the order online, there's a phone call from Tony at Strings Direct, to say they've only got three sets in stock - the rest will be on their way as soon as they arrive, no extra postage. The three sets arrived the next morning. The rest arrived the following day. Cost to them, one 0.5kg parcel, one phone call - maybe £1.50?
  • I ordered a set of drumsticks one evening, online, this Christmas for my son from Newcastle Drum Centre - they called back the following morning to say they weren't in stock, but there were some equivalent ones for a little bit more: they'd cover the difference, but would that be OK? Cost to them, one phone call and about £2.
In all three cases, they've probably spent under a fiver, and in return they have bought themselves a loyal customer who is going to sing their praises (like I am now) every time the subject comes up, to everyone they know. In the first two of those cases, I've been singing their praises for over a decade, and I don't intend to stop. 

(As an aside, the reason I'm not an eBuyer customer is they had a chance to do this, to rectify a mistake of theirs, at the cost of maybe £3 to them, and blew it. Which is also why they don't get a link from here, and why they didn't get the hardware business from one of the biggest single-sport websites in the world. And that was most of a decade ago.)

What's this got to do with wargaming, I hear you ask? 

Well - if you remember the unboxing shots I did for the Napoleon At War figures, you'll note I mentioned that there was a cavalry figure and an artillery limber missing. It's nice to know that Man At War read my blog, and even nicer when a couple of days after the post I get a forum PM apologising for the missing pieces and asking for my address. They arrived just before Christmas! From Spain! 

So, I'd just like to use this opportunity to say a big thank you to Ricardo and the rest of the guys at Man At War for going that extra little bit. You have a raving fan here.

1 comment:

  1. Good customer service isn't about being perfect all the time. Mistakes happen even in the best run organisations. But its how a company deals with problems that makes all the difference to most customers. Its a bit of a cliche but every problem really is an opportunity in disguise.

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