It’s Christmas, so if you’re a retailer with a customer service department, you’re probably slammed. If you’re a customer, you’re probably VERY stressed about making sure all your online purchases are going to get where they need to go in time. I know I am. So there’s a really good chance that somewhere on either side of that equation some really amazing things might happen–good or bad.
I’d like to share another example of some really GOOD customer service.
As some of you know I’m a musician and take it pretty seriously when I’m not working on PR and social strategy. I also have some pretty musical kids and try to enable that obsession whenever they ask. So when my middle son asked for an unusual instrument called a cajon, I was all in. So I went to the Guitar Center web site to order one. Easy peasy, done in 3 minutes, order confirmed. Until the next day.
I subsequently received an email informing me that the item was backordered with an uncertain delivery date. What WAS certain about the date was that it would be sometime in January. It was getting pretty late in the game for canceling and searching elsewhere, so I was more than bummed. I called their 800 number and was told that yes, these were backordered and there was nothing they could really do short of canceling the order. Then something really cool happened. It’s called integration.
I decided to call the closest Guitar Center I could find, in Richmond, VA. I asked whether it was possible to fulfill a national web order at a local store, expecting to get the usual answer–NO. A nice guy named Tim then asked me for my order number, which he plugged into a computer where he was. Up came my cajon, still on backorder. He then said “I think we have a few of these in stock, and by the way, you might want to consider the next size up, that’s more popular. Either way, I would be happy to send you what I have from here. It would get there by Friday.”
See, their system is integrated. An order placed one place can be fulfilled somewhere else with no friction, no hassle, no disappointment. The warehouse may be empty, but the stores aren’t. I am thrilled, Carter gets what he wants under the tree, and everybody wins.
Now, was that so hard? EVERY retailer with multiple locations and a web store should integrate like that. Good job, Guitar Center–I’m now a loyal buyer and evangelist!