Customer Service

Posted on 23rd March 2017

So this customer calls and he can't string his Frammock.

Rachel passes me the call, "He thinks his cords are too short".

And, as it happens they are. 

Indeed this customer is a susperstar - he's got on with it, hasn't waited for the weather to improve, but has dived right in there and got back in touch.

His speed and confidence mean we end up sending correct length cords to just 2 customers, one of whom hadn't opened his box yet.

What a star, this customer is.

But none of us know this now. 

And in truth, I'm not treating him like a superstar, because my first thought in this situation (to this day (despite this blog)) is that what has happened here is "user error".

Did Rachel convey as much as she transferred the call to me?

And if she did perhaps he started it.  Perhaps he was unsure that his cords were too short.  

(The next guy who rang said he'd pulled so hard his hands bled.)

Guy#1 did not mention bleeding hands, so he hadn't pulled that hard.  He'd given up. And called us. Lovely, but perhaps she picked up on some uncertainty in his voice.

Of course here comes the second thought wave -the customer is right: I've seen bolts without threads, nuts that won't take a bolt, we know that things can go wrong, we don't check each cord length. Maybe he has a short cord.

He does but "They are both the same length" throws me back ashore, I mean - what are the chances? - they are both freakishly short.


Unless they are all too short - now I'm really worried, swept into the painful world of "lead times".

A becalmed warehouse unable to ship, I am clinging to User Error like it floats.

So I check the stock which, it turns out...

Is fine. (hang in there).

So worry is washed away and normal service is resumed, it was a customer error. Again.

Yes.  It is usually you.  We all make mistakes*, us more than you but, there are so many more of you. 

And yes, I suppose you could argue that all mistakes are our mistakes, we do try to own them, but that's in the real world, where we send a pair of replacements.

In here - in the head - it's fair I think for us to proceed, to continue, "knowing" that we did our bit.

It's Guy#2, just a day later who brings the ice bucket to the happy head with his bleeding hands, and I am found in the box of cords trying to figure out what is going on - I must be going mad, the cords are FINE!

Ah, says Mick - there is another open box of cords.

Now that's a surge of relief, an explanation floods the brain like nothing else

AND, those cords are too short - but you knew that already.


* Amazingly** its the same week that a customer rings, very disappointed with the instructions. (The Instructions are fine, we failed to include the Net in his box). He has been trying to fashion a net himself from the cords.  

** Retail seems to work this way, the threadless bolt and the contracted nut went out within a week of each other.


Photo by MichaƂ Parzuchowski on Unsplash

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