Can a Service Issue Win a Customer for Life?


One of my least favorite things to do is having to report and deal with an issue with a service provider. I simply dread it. Past experience has made me feel like I will have to justify the problem. I spend time planning what I’m going to say to convince the business that I actually have a service issue and that they are responsible.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to deal with problems with two businesses—a lawn care company and a garage door company. With both businesses, I felt that their service technician had messed up. One burned my yard with chemicals and the other repaired a garage door opener that actually should have been replaced. Much to my surprise, both businesses were easy to deal with and delighted me as a customer!

Take Ownership

Both businesses took ownership of the service issue. They didn’t try to cover for their service technicians’ mistakes. I was delighted! I didn’t have to convince them nor did they make me feel defensive.

Offer an Acceptable Solution

Both businesses immediately offered an acceptable solution. The lawn service credited my account for two service visits and any reseeding costs if needed. The garage door company didn’t charge me for a service call and credited me the entire repair charge on the purchase of a new garage door opener. Again, I was completely delighted!

Take a Long-Term View

These small, locally owned businesses most likely lost money on me. They were willing to give up the short-term profit to gain my long-term loyalty. Research supports this, finding that if a business resolves a complaint in the customer’s favor, 70% of the time the customer will come back. It worked in my case. By quickly taking responsibility for the service issue, both businesses have earned my trust and loyalty. I know that they will acknowledge and quickly resolve any problem.

These small businesses likely do not have much of a marketing budget. They rely very heavily on word of mouth recommendations. As a very happy customer, I will recommend them to my friends and neighbors. The amount of money they lost on me will be returned many times over in my word-of-mouth referrals as well as my repeat business.

Here’s proof: Kudos for outstanding service to Unique Lawn Care and Northside Garage Door Systems (Central Indiana).

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