Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Let's start with Lego

The O'Donnell Clan recently had an issue with the Lego Company. My youngest son Aidan purchased an Indiana Jones Set with some of his birthday money, but when he got home he found an Annakin Skywalker head in the kit instead of Indy's. Needless to say, he was quite upset. So Tisha got on the phone with Lego and explained the situation. Here is how she related the story to me while I was in Canada (for the full story click here):

Well, I'm going to make a very long story short by saying first of all I can just imagine how insane this all sounds coming from a thirty six year old women. Now imagine the way I had to explain this to the very nice customer representative from the Lego company. I had to pinch myself a few times during our conversation. While other sensible people my age are solving the worlds problems I am saying,"No, Annikan has a scar on his face and has blue eyes, and Indiana has a beard and dark eyes. Yes, I have the part number."

I'm happy to say that Indy's head came in today with a very nice letter. Just click on the picture of the letter to enlarge it. The short of it was they apologized for disappointing us and stated that establishing the highest level of trust in the Lego brand is one of their most important goals. My wife and I were impressed with the speed and concern they showed while solving our problem. That's why I'm excited to brag to you about the Lego Company.

Now the Parking

I wrote what I wrote above to contrast one of Seth Godin's* recent posts about a problem he had with a parking garage in New York. This is what he said:

Two weeks ago, I left my car at (an expensive) parking garage in midtown New York. When I got back four hours later, I discovered that they had left the engine running the entire time. That, combined with the $30 fee and the nasty attitude of the attendant led me to write a letter to the management company.

The response: it was my fault. When I dropped off the car, I should have taught the attendant how to turn off my Prius.

What’s the point of a letter like that? Why bother taking the time? It’s not even worth the stamp. Does the writer expect me to say, “Oh, great point! Sorry to have bothered you. I’m an idiot! In fact, I'm so stupid, I'll go out of my way to park there again next time...”

From there Seth went on to offer some excellent advice on how businesses should respond to "opportunities" like this and I invite you to his blog to see what he wrote, just click here. But I'd like to make a point. One company saw an opportunity to make a good impression, and I wrote about it. The other company could only see a problem, and Seth wrote about that. My question for you is, what are people saying about your company? How do you handle situations like this? Do view them as opportunities or problems? How you handle customer complaints will make or break your reputation. Choose your view carefully.

A sharpener friend of mine once told me, "The most important thing you can do in the sharpening business get your customers to trust you. Once you've achieved that, the most important thing you can do is keep that trust. Do whatever it takes to keep that trust!" That's good advice for any business.

* Seth Godin is the author of many of my favorite books on marketing. To learn more about how he can help you in your business, visit his blog at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/.

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