An (Ugly) Customer Service Story

You’ve probably heard of Crocs – the company that makes the ugly (but rather comfortable) shoes. The company has become extremely successful from selling shoes that come in a lot of colors and are very comfortable. They’ve created a great brand and apparently they know a little bit about customer service as well.

Background
A friend of mine ordered a pair of black Crocs. The company sent her pink Crocs by accident. She called them and made them aware of the mistake. The company apologized and sent her a pair of pink Crocs right away. They also told her to keep the pink ones. She was surprised that she didn’t have to send them back and deal with shipping and handling and all of those annoying procedures.

My friend gave the pair of pink Crocs to another friend of hers (I was not offered the shoes, but if offered, I would have politely declined). She shared the story about how she got the shoes in the first place with her friend as well. I imagine my friend’s friend also shared the story a few times and I’m sharing it as well.

From Crocs’ view
It probably doesn’t cost Crocs too much to make the shoes and by letting the customer keep the shoes, they saved themselves the shipping and handling costs (which they should pay for if they make the customer send the shoes back) as well as the labor involved with adding them to the warehouse again, repackaging, doing the paperwork, etc. Returns and exchanges are usually a big hassle for companies.

Theme
My theme lately has been the power of creating a positive (or negative) buzz through customer service. When a company uses customer service to their advantage, it pays off. The customer is happy and they may very well tell others about the experience.

Companies should try to think of customer service as a form of marketing. In fact, to an extent, it already exists. The particular form of marketing is called word of mouth marketing and customer service has a lot to do with WOMM.

P.S. Notice the image and the Technorati tags there have been lately? Service Untitled is getting pretty fancy. I’m really liking Windows Live Writer.

3 Responses to “An (Ugly) Customer Service Story”

  1. Maria Palma said:

    Nov 22, 06 at 11:06 pm

    Yay! An image! It’s about time – Ha ha! No wonder I was so fascinated with this post. All kidding aside, that is a great story about Crocs. You made a great point about it being cost-effective for the customer to keep the shoes.

  2. Steve Remington said:

    Nov 29, 06 at 1:09 pm

    You know… I just had a conversation with somebody about these ugly (but rather comfortable shoes). There is a family that lives down the street from us who are all decked out in these croc shoes. It is even spitting snow and they are out walking around in these things.

    Mommy has green, daughter has pink (ack!). Dad has like a royal blue… (ack again)…

    The Croc family… They must be comfortable…

  3. Service Untitled » Managing Returns - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Dec 26, 06 at 4:28 pm

    […] For some more posts about returns on Service Untitled, check out this one, this one, this one, this one, and last, but not least, this one. They are examples of what approaches different companies take when it comes to returns. Technorati tags: Customer Service, Customer Service Experience, Shopping, Holidays, Returns, Customers « Firing Your Customers – Part 3 of 3   […]