A tale of two retailers

Shopping bagWithin the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to make two rather expensive purchases – one from a US retailer and one from and Canadian retailer. Both were complex and involved dealing with customer service reps. With both purchases, the respective retailers made errors on the initial orders. But it’s what each did afterward to correct the situation that speaks volumes about the difference in customer service.
Retailer A – the US retailer – responded to me by email (my choice of contact method), apologized profusely several times for the error, corrected the situation immediately and gave me a sizable credit on my account for the inconvenience. They even followed up after I got the product to make sure I was satisfied. Blown away!
Retailer B – the Canadian retailer – took my phone call at the customer service centre, looked into the situation, had to check with the manager, and had to verify my “story” with the original salesperson before correcting the error. No apology, and the fact that they had to check up on my story and call me back was a little insulting. Totally unimpressed.
This, gentle readers, is the difference in customer service training, perspectives and, frankly, systems that exist between many retailers in  the two countries. Based on my experience, US customer service staff have the latitude and authority to fix the situation and make the customer happy. It’s called customer recovery, and US retailers do it very well.
On the other hand, the Canadian customer service rep didn’t even acknowledge that the error was theirs, and had to check with two other people before calling me back.
I know there are great Canadian retailers out there. Some need step up their games when it comes to dealing with their customers. After all, they need us more than we need them – especially, since it’s getting easier all the time to order online.
Do you have customer service stories to share?

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