How Surpassed One Customer's Expectations

dir="ltr">When a customer leaves a negative review about a product, they don’t necessarily expect much to come of it—perhaps they’ll be able to sway a fellow consumer or two to spend their money elsewhere, but it’s unlikely that their own problem or disappointment will be resolved. But one customer of, a pet supplies e-retailer, got a pleasant surprise when she left a negative review about a product sold on the company’s site.

Customer “Mariangel” was disappointed by a kitty litter she purchased, and she left a review explaining that it wasn’t suitable for her long-haired cat. Soon after, she received an email from a customer service representative, even though Mariangel did not criticize in her review, ask for a refund, or even request to speak to a representative.

The agent not only apologized for the bad experience and—without being asked—processed a refund for the purchase, but she also recommended alternative litters and asked for photos of the customer’s cat so that she could be included on the company’s “Furry Wall of Fame.” The e-retailer demonstrated what it means to go above and beyond on customer service, and other companies should borrow a page out of its playbook, one expert says.

“The customer service agent isn’t just solving the problem of the refund, but taking the extra step to help Mariangel solve what might be the bigger problem–that she doesn’t have a litter that works for her cat,” Dan Gingiss, host of the Experience This! podcast and author of Winning at Customer Care, wrote in a blog post. “This wasn’t necessary or expected, but it’s a great example of going above and beyond in customer service at little to no cost to the company.” 

By proactively acknowledging and correcting a poor experience that someone had on its site, likely created a customer for life. “The company wasn’t afraid of a complaint and didn’t look to hide it. Instead, it embraced the opportunity to surprise and delight a loyal customer whose expectations were not met, thereby retaining an important customer,” Gingiss wrote. “Though this particular transaction didn’t work out quite as expected, Mariangel knows exactly where she is buying her next bag of kitty litter.”

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