The Future of the Customer (Next Month)

It all happened in a matter of minutes late one Sunday evening at my desk.  I was on-line ordering promotional visors for our new book from Stitch America in Bremen, GA.  I had selected the visor color, style, and words to be stitched in a particular font and thread color.  After loading in my credit card information, I sent off the order into cyberspace.

I was about to turn out the light to go to bed when I received a text message on my smart phone, “Mr. Bell, are you still up?  May I call you about the order you just placed?”  I responded, “Yes.”  Within less than a minute, the phone rang.  “This is Tonya.  Thanks so much for your order.  I want to give you super-fast turnaround, but I want to make sure you get exactly what you wanted.”  I was thrilled someone cared on a Sunday night about an on-line order.  “The font size you have chosen will be too hard to read.  May I suggest doubling it?  I can send you a PDF photo showing the front of the visor in actual size.”  I agreed, hung up the phone, and went to bed.

When I turned on my computer early the next morning there was the photo from Tonya.  With it came a short email note, “As soon as you give me the word that this is the best-looking visor you have ever seen, I will get it into production.”  Two days later I got an email and text message from the production department that the visors were finished and being packaged for shipment.  Later that day, I got an email with a photocopy of the tracking order.  Two days later a follow-up email came indicating that their system showed the order had been delivered.  And, then, Tonya called again.  “Are you totally thrilled with your order?”  I totally was!  But, the Switch America service made me want to give up shopping centers forever.

We are in the era of self-service and automation.  It enabled me to place an order when I wanted to and the way I wanted to.  But, Stitch America left all the people-serving-people in their cyber-technology.  They made me feel valued and important.  And, they made my order seem like the most important work they had done all year.  It was new old-timey service at its finest.








About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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