May 2019 was the time I last vented my frustration online about a horrible Hard Disk replacement experience I had been through. I also promised a follow-up if something related happens again. It didn’t take much longer to happen. Another hard drive of mine failed last month, and I had to submit an RMA request for it. The hard drive that failed this time was from a different company, Western Digital. These two replacement experiences fell in stark contrast to each other and became a perfect example to understand how to deal with customers.
Well, if you want to be that ‘be different’ company and for some particular reason and want to drive your customers away, then sure, head over to this hilarious article. But if you are in for the long haul, then just see what these guys at WD did right. It turns out; they carefully implemented all the to-dos for excellent customer experience displaying a stellar example of how things need to be done.
Less Waiting Time
After being welcomed with a much-needed breeze of AC on a sunny day, their office felt like heaven. A well-organized stack of numerous hard drives was on my left, and few guys dressed in the company’s shirt were standing on my right, strangely smiling as if they were waiting just for me. The soothing fragrance of a freshly mopped floor was one of those unnecessary details that added up to the experience which I am so excited to share.
The three replacement counters in front of me had a short queue each. One of these smiling guys approached me and asked me to join the line, as I was waiting in the queue, he verified my documents. The waiting time was brief, and I successfully submitted my HDD for replacement. This whole experience was the complete opposite of what I had in May, where I had to wait in queue for almost an hour and wasn’t given any satisfactory service. I agree the staff might be the problem, but it spoiled my impression of them anyway.
Verifying my documents beforehand saved the time of the executive behind the counter and also prevented me from wasting my time in the queue if my documents were incomplete. Fortunately, this time, they weren’t.
There were two things that you can learn from this; Firstly, if possible, reduce the waiting time of customers by dividing the waiting queue into several small queues. Secondly, allowing other employees to assist each other, which in turn makes your organization’s operation much smoother and efficient.
It was very simple for him to come and approach me with a smile, but that small action etched a great first impression in my mind about him and the staff. Those friendly initial greetings established the tone we had for the rest of our conversation. The thing that pulled my attention the most was his concern to help me solve my problem. He genuinely listened to my concerns and happily answered everything I inquired about.
In the end, he also made a comment about my phone, “Nice phone, man! I’m saving up to buy this one too.” Even though that was completely unnecessary it helped me in getting more comfortable with him.
I would ask you to recall your last poor customer service experience where the attendant hearing your queries actually showed interest in them. I bet you can’t remember anything like that. The point here is that, customer personnel who actually tries to understand the concerns by making the conversation customized and breathable eventually sets a personal connection with the customer. Which, if not always, could solve the most difficult of situations.
Utilize your Expertise
This time, I also wanted to buy a new Hard Disk. Considering my budget and type of requirement, the salesperson picked five different drives for me to choose from. If I was given a choice to look myself from that overwhelmingly big rack of drives, I’m sure I’d have ended up with a Decision Paralysis. Even though I consider myself a techie to some extent, but my knowledge stands nowhere near the expertise of these guys. Getting a second opinion is very advisable. This surely helped me in making the right decision and helped them in making a sale.
The reason customers seek support during a purchase is that having an expert’s recommendation removes the ‘what if’ factor from their mind and helps them in decision making. Compare this to what I experienced when I went to purchase a Computer Monitor a couple of years back. I went into the shop, and the salesperson simply placed several monitors in front of me to choose from, that’s it. He didn’t tell me much about them, and as expected, I was dumbfounded. I left the shop shortly due to indecisiveness. I was ready for a purchase, but it felt like he wasn’t interested in selling. That’s a missed opportunity, I must say.
The whole replacement process of the earlier mentioned company was an absolute mess. I was first required to drop an email to their customer care in which I had to prove that my HDD was indeed failing. After wasting time there, they asked me to fill up an RMA request form, print it out and paste it on the inside of the box which I was supposed to pack my hard drive in. Even after all that I was supposed to drop this HDD to their hostile office myself.
I do understand these customs are made to prevent forgery, and WD did the same thing, but the difference was in the time I spent in the process. With WD, it took me less than a week to get my drive replaced with brilliant customer service both online and offline. Whereas, I wasted a whole month getting the replacement from the other company. Me getting my drives replaced with this company shows that I’m already a committed customer but the pace at which WD solved my issues ensured that I’d buy from them again. Which I shortly did.
Make Waiting Pleasurable
While waiting for a brief amount in the queue, I was offered water and even coffee. The AC’s were at full blast, and the whole office had a peaceful environment, in contrast to what I experienced earlier, where only one counter had the luxury of a working fan. I was sweating while waiting in the queue, and the loud noise of packaging was banging my ears like anything. WD understood, if the customers are going to spend some time waiting, then it should be a pleasant experience.
Stay True to Your Word
WD promised me that replacement drive would be delivered within two days and it actually did. A simple thing to do, right? The other company made the same duration of promise, but the delivery took nine days. In the end, they even stopped responding to my emails. If your company sets an expectation and doesn’t adhere to it, there will be problems.
Even though the WD hard drives are a bit costlier in comparison to that company, it didn’t hurt me much. I’m already assuming they’ve taken this extra premium to serve their customers better. For me, it was worth it.
It is just a simple thing to understand. If you make it easy for your customers to do business with you, your business would not only prosper, but your customer’s experience will improve as well.
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