The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Kick-butt customer service transformed me

Want to know how to make a customer loyal? And how to get the most out of your relationship with your customers?

It’s simple. Do what Patagonia does.

Here’s a quick, real-world experience I just had and it blew me away and made me a Patagonia loyalist for life.

Article is continued below

Background:
I bought a shell jacket from a local mom-and-pop Patagonia retailer to keep me warm on wintery dog walks around the neighborhood (though I did have visions of Antarctic expeditions when I saw it on the rack for sale). ""

The product’s been great – you can see just the collar of it here, at my StartupNation profile.

Here’s what happened:
About a month ago, I ripped the arm of the jacket on a screw sticking out of a fence along the sidewalk where I walk our dogs. The material was torn 3 inches right to left and about the same length up and down – it was pretty nasty … though I must admit, it did look worthy of a good duct taping and then a great story to accompany the duct tape, like, "it happened when the glacier fissure swallowed me on Antarctica."

I called Patagonia to ask what I could do to patch it.

To my surprise, the telephone service person (playing a role so often reviled by frustrated consumers) instructed me to send the jacket back to them and they’d repair it free of charge and ship it back to me, free of charge.

Earlier this week, I received the jacket back, and it’s like new.

The simple gesture of fixing a product that a customer had damaged has lifted Patagonia to legendary status in my book. Now I’m so inspired that I want to tell the world about it and buy my gear–Antarctic or urban–from Patagonia as long as they’re in business.

What a great customer service experience and customer transformation. In fact, I don’t see myself as a "customer" of theirs anymore. I see myself as a member of their community. Those are the kind of people I want to affiliate with, be identified with, and it’s with a whole new layer of pride and meaning that I wear their logo on my jacket.

I’ve posted about Patagonia’s social agenda in the past, too, if you’re interested:

http://www.startupnation.com/blog/entry.asp?ENTRY_ID=32

The question, in closing is, can you transform your customers, too, somehow? Try, because if you do, it will pay dividends…

Rich

About the Author: Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to [...]

Lineage2, Aion, Blade And Soul