Anyone in the Twitter world has probably seen this phenomenon. I had seen it, but never experienced it first hand – until today. My 5-year-old had a pair of popular outdoor shoes we bought for him in May, which broke about 3 weeks ago. The part that broke was the plastic ring that held the strap tight. He had worn them pretty much every day all summer, but these are $50.00 kids shoes. These are supposed to last a long time. My husband has a pair of the same shoes, adult sized, that he has had for 4 years. These are the 3rd pair, in ever-increasing sizes, I’ve purchased from my older son, and have already purchased 2 pairs for my younger son. When they broke my husband and I had no doubt that the shoe company would deal with them and replace them. My husband called their customer service department and they told him to take a picture and send it via email to their warranty department. More than 2 weeks later — nothing. Zilch. No response. This leads us to believe that:
- They have so many warranty issues they can’t handle them and are incredibly back-logged
- Dealing with warranty issues is not a priority for this company.
Both these assumptions are NOT good for this company. This company is close to losing a very lucrative loyal customer, one that has already purchased 6 pairs of these shoes (1 for hubby, 5 for kids) and someone who would most likely continue to purchase new pairs for the kids every summer. I am a customer they want. In fact with baby #3 on the way I see many, many purchases of these shoes in the future – if their reputation as good quality, well made, excellent athletic sandal stands. If these are shoes that are now losing their quality, and will start to break just months after purchase, and the company doesn’t deal with me…. you can consider me a lost customer.
So I decided to give them a last chance. I told my husband to get me the picture of the broken shoe, and posted it up on Twitter with an @ message to the shoe company’s Twitter account. Lo and behold, less than 3 hours later I had a response, and an offer to replace the shoes immediately. This is the kind of service I expected from this company in the first place. The question is, why did they ignore the normal customer service route they sent us on, and only respond once I tweeted? In Twitter of course, my complaint is public, vs. the private complaint when I emailed their warranty department. Here is a company that produces an excellent product, and seems to care about customers. But their customer service process is broken. If only those of us who tweet can get good customer care — then they need to fix their process. Don’t get me wrong though – I love the personal attention I can get from companies via Twitter. But I know those days are numbered. At some point there will be too many people doing the same thing and Twitter won’t be a good communication vehicle. So companies like this need to fix their customer service issues NOW. If I had not received a response from this company they would have lost my business and loyalty. And believe me as a mother of 3 boys — they don’t want to lose my business. I will be a repeat customer every year, and as soon as the little one gets to walking age, will be buying 3 pairs of these shoes every year – as long as quality and service hold up. I am their IDEAL customer – a repeat purchaser who will be spending about $120-$150 per year with this company. They don’t have to spend marketing money to lure me in – I’m in. They just need to spend some customer service money to keep me. And which spend do you think brings the faster ROI?