The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When It Goes All Wrong, You Make It All Right …
October 14, 2009, 6:08 am
Filed under: Comment

Have you ever heard of the phrase “The customer is always right”?

Pretty sure you have – and whilst I don’t necessarily agree with it entirely – it is a mantra spouted out by many companies all over the World, and yet based on my personal experience what they should be saying is “The customer is always right unless they are dissatisfied with something”.

There’s loads of companies like this … including the ones who publically pronounce their goal is to ensure satisfied customers, like HP, AMEX and IKEA … however that is a post for another day because today, I want to write about a great customer experience I’ve had, and yet it all had the potential to turn into a disaster.

Last week I decided to purchase a multi-gadget charger from Singapore Airlines.

Whilst I am generally good with making sure my plethora of electronics are full of juice, I’m travelling more than ever at the moment and I just want the reassurance that I’m not going to be in the middle of nowhere without the ability to connect to the outside World.

Yes … yes … I know that sometimes being able to ‘disappear’ is a wonderful thing [which is why I hate the fact airlines are allowing mobile phones and internet access in flight] however I want to choose when I am ‘offline’ rather than have it decided for me.

So anyway, I bought this product – a Lifetrons – and packed it in my bag to check out later.

A few hours later, when I got home, I decided to take a closer look at what I bought and after carefully unwrapping the outer packaging, I saw what can only be described as a sexy multi-gadget power charger.

You didn’t think this sort of thing could be sexy did you?

Well you’re probably right, but being a sad bastard it worked for me [see the pic above] … and I immediately set about ‘testing it out’.

All good … all very, very good.

Anyway, I wondered where I needed to put the batteries to ensure the machine always had enough juice to keep to resuscitating ‘technoxygen’ starved gadgets, and blow me – I couldn’t find it.

After looking and looking [which didn’t take long because it’s so bloody small] I did what no man does and turned to the instructions. [Sorry guys]

It was there that I realised the thing charged up via USB and that there was a special cable in the pack.

Except there wasn’t.

I looked and looked and looked.

I tried the multiple different attachments … but no, nothing, nada.

In short, I had a unit that would not charge up once it had used all its power charging up other things. Pah!

Now the thing is, these sorts of thing irrationally bother me … and as it was late, there was no one I could rant at … so with an impending trip coming up, I decided to see if I could order the missing item on Lifetrons website and talk to Singapore Airlines in the morning.

Good news, the cable was available for individual purchase and even better, there was an outlet in HK … so having parted with US$25 and leaving a note on the order form explaining my dilemma, I went to bed.

Next morning I get an email from Lifetrons confirming the purchase.

Except there was something different to this email.

You see whilst they were confirming the purchase, they said they couldn’t possibly charge me because ultimately this was a situation they had to take responsibility for, despite me purchasing it through a totally unrelated retailer.

But there’s more.

Not only were they going to send me the item, by courier, for free, they were going to include a little ‘travel pouch’ as an added apology.

And then they tried to call me [my phone was on silent] to say sorry and how apologetic they were.

[When they couldn’t get through, they sent me an email that expressed real genuine concern for my experience]

Christ … all this for a product that cost about SG$140 [3 quid 73 pence in ‘real money’]

When my brand new VW Golf GTI decided to shit itself after 6 months, I got nothing except a load of excuses and a long, unapologetic wait … and yet here is a brand I’d never really heard of going all the way to ensure I would be satisfied with their product and their brand and it’s worked because here I am saying Lifetrons are a bloody great company who make great products and have absolutely outstanding staff like Customer Service Manager, E Cheung.

To say I am a satisfied customer is an understatement – I am an enthralled customer – and yet, in reality, what they have done is nothing more than what all companies should do so it’s actually quite sad that a company who believes their responsibility doesn’t stop once the product has been made should make me feel so good about them.

But I do … I do a lot … so to all you HP, AMEX and IKEA’s out there, why don’t you stop annoying your customers by continually proving your words are often nothing more than just empty marketing statements and get Lifetrons to advice you how to build a real relationship with your customers because nothing makes people believe more than when something goes wrong and a brand fights to make it right again.

Of course half the problem is that companies don’t empower their staff to be able to ‘fix stuff’ when it goes wrong.

Whether this is because they don’t trust their employees judgement or morals … or simply hate the idea of paying out … is open to debate but for me, a company that has faith in their products DOES empower their staff to make things right because it means it simply doesn’t happen that much, which is in complete contrast to the way many companies operate their customer service departments, which is basically to regard them as a cat litter tray for angry and frustrated customers comments and complaints.

Anyway this isn’t the case with Lifetrons, so to them and E Cheung, I salute you – and as people who regularly read this blog will testify – I don’t do that very often at all.

18 Comments so far
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if people still actually read this blog, your gwyneth paltrow oscar speech of gratitude might be worth something to that gadget company as youre harder to please than a fucking woman in a bridal shop.

still its nice to know someone actually gives a shit about their customers and reputation, even if theyre in the nerd porn business.

wouldnt know if that charger thing is sexy because i have a life but we all know you wet your fucking panties over anything with a digital display so you probably want to shag your fucking microwave.

and im first to comment so everything is back to normal in the poxy world.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re learning.

Comment by John

who is dodds? better mean campbell but what hes learning is debatable.

Comment by andy@cynic

Of course.

Comment by John

“Many companies regard their customer service departments as a cat litter tray for angry and frustrated customers”

That’s one of the best descriptions I’ve heard.

I once took my computer into HP to be fixed because after 4 months it failed. They were really good at the service centre and if they hadn’t lost it I’d of felt good about them but it disappeared and for 6 months they didn’t take responsibility or offer me any solution. I will never buy HP again.

Great to hear there’s a company that wants to build their brand on quality and service. It’s one thing to say it but another to do it and I like “sexy adaptors” so I will buy one now.

Comment by Pete

pete and rob are single handidly ruining any pretentions lifetrons had of producing sexy stuff. planners: the trenchcoat pervs of adland.

Comment by andy@cynic

The trenchcoat pervs of adland.


The other bit might be fair enough though. 🙂

Comment by Rob

Responsibility leads to loyalty.

Comment by Lee Hill

You say that Lee, but as far as I know, you haven’t yet acknowledged Tubular Bells was an annoying piece of sonic sludge! 🙂

Of course you’re right … at least in the way you and I define ‘brand loyalty’ … which is not just about the volume/frequency of purchase, but the volume/frequency of purchase regardless of there being a high proportion of equally [or more] distributed alternatives at a similar [or significantly lower/higher] price point.

Oh my god, I’ve swallowed a brand consultant book. Sorry.

Comment by Rob

Whoa! E Cheung making the most cynical of cynics turn soft! hehe

Andy… “wouldnt know if that charger thing is sexy because i have a life” was pure gold! LOL

Comment by Age

I bet they immediately attended to your problem, because someone at Lifetrons must read your blog, and alerted the entire staff to treat you with extra care or they will publicly be named & shamed: D , and can loose all hope of ever [ in the near future]ever regaining credibility 🙂

Comment by bhaskar

I read your blog regularly….and i appreciate the speech….:)

Comment by swati

It makes a big difference when brands give customer service levels that actually match what they promise. It’s even better when they go above the call of duty, we should salute these companies and make them successful so that everyone else has to follow.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I should show this post to someone internally.

Comment by Bazza

wow. your blog brought tears to my eyes. thank fucking god for one company to have the balls and courage to stick to exercising fundamental basic human appreciation. and you know what? well done you for doing something about it too – most would just bitch that the cable was missing and influence another on that mindset when they could take the initiative and find out a solution. chances are lifetrons will and are doing something about it as we speak. i bet if companies took a good look at how their business is being run rather than infect the public with their service or product – they’ll find the answer to their profit margins. someone just has to have enough balls to slap them with a wake up call. sorry speaking from hong kong here. miserable city.

Comment by sky tao

what a happy post. now i m happy, too 🙂

but seriously, i had not heard of lifetrons before. they won a red dot. anyway, i guess everyone who read this post now thinks all positive about lifetrons. well, i do. just because they dealt with one small usb cable missing the ‘right’ way.

Comment by peggy

yes you fucking should baz, starting with the fucker who denies the new iphone screen can crack/smash/exfuckingplode.

thatll be your boss then. 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

Like you I’m blown away by great service and I like to make people aware of great companies at every opportunity.

Comment by Charles

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