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Your Two Customer Service Questions

Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

You're already aware, I hope, that each and every employee of your company is a "customer service representative," no matter what the job description says. Read this terrific customer-service story, and then consider the two questions at the end.

Patricia Fripp
Patricia Fripp
"I ordered a child's learning laptop computer for my daughter Mallory for Christmas through Amazon.com," says Susan Barnes, a payroll manager at MarchFIRST in Chicago.

"Shortly after Christmas, we discovered that the laptop had a defect. I contacted Amazon, and the customer service was amazing. The young man I dealt with, Brian, was incredible. They did not have any in stock, nor did anyone else because the laptop was a hot item.

"Brian offered to credit my credit card immediately and send me a postage-paid container to return the damaged computer. I explained that this was all my daughter had asked Santa for, and she would be devastated if we just returned it. Brian gave me the option of waiting to see if they would be able to get another one. However, he warned that the distributor, VTech, predicted it could be three months before a new one would be available. For the sake of my daughter's happiness, I said I was willing to wait.

"Brian gave me a phone number where I could reach him and said I could change my mind at anytime. In the meantime, he would contact me immediately if one became available.

"Two days later, Brian e-mailed that he had located a new laptop for Mallory. It would be shipped within a few days, along with a postage-paid container to return the damaged one. I was so surprised and impressed with Brian and his great customer-care skills that I e-mailed him, commending his great skills and asking that my e-mail be forwarded to his manager. Later, his manager confirmed my message. The moral of this story is: There IS a Santa Claus!"


1.  Do you motivate and empower your employees to provide top customer service like this?

2.  Could you pose this customer's problem as an interview question, asking potential hires how they would handle it?


Award-winning speaker and in-demand speech coach, Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE offers fresh, usable ideas on getting, keeping and deserving customers. "Meetings and Conventions" magazine calls Patricia "one of the country's 10 most electrifying speakers."
Like to know more about Patricia?

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