Monday, 12 December 2005

Customer Service like it ought to be

We've all heard or experienced the horror stories surrounding customer service. Whether it's the trouble of just contacting the service, the impossible procedures you have to follow or the hassle of getting your money back. Dealing with customer service can be a real pain. And that's why it's so refreshing to tell a story about a very positive experience.

I'm talking about the customer service at bol.com (a sort of amazon, but they just sell in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and China). I've been buying books there for about 4 years now (and with the expansion of their stock, also my Creative Zen (not an Ipod kinda guy) and other gadgets) and never had any trouble with deliveries untill about 6 months ago.

I ordered "Tishomingo Blues" from Elmore Leonard and received the order a few days later. To my surprise it contained what could be discribed as a "used book". Let's just say that my first indication that something was wrong was the tear in the cover and a list inside the cover with a little index of the people who loaned it from a library in Williamsburg, Virginia.

I went to the site and easily found the email adress to send my complaint to. And whatta you know, next day I received an apology mail, enclosed with the information on a free shipping adress to which I should return my erroneous order. I send it the next day and received another email 3 days later informing me that they had received the shipment. I also was told that I could considder the invoice I received with my order to be null and void. If I had one little quip about the service it would be that I had to order the new copy myself. But well, you can't have it all. And I had the same experience a couple of weeks ago with a faulty JBL Creature II which I could return to them with the same ease (although, truth be told, it took a little longer for them to respond to my original mail) and with no costs attached. So this may not be a fluke. It proves it can be possible to have a great customer service as a company.

And it's also true what they say: people who have had a satisfactory experience with a customer service will become advocaters of the company itself. I find myself telling friends, family and acquaintances of my experiences and the positive look I have towards bol.com. And what does bol.com get from this. Well, more business from me to begin with...

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