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Customer Service! July 3, 2008

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Leadership.
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I had a startling customer service experience this week that is worth sharing.

I am a long-time reader of the Wall Street Journal.  I think the Journal is the last great newspaper in America, with an editorial viewpoint that resonates with my own political leanings.  It comes as no surprise to me that a paper run by conservatives is successful and profitable, in contrast to a certain other high-profile New York paper that positions itself slightly to the left of Karl Marx.

I have been distressed recently to see an uptick in spelling and grammar errors in the Journal.  Loyal readers know my feelings on such things, and I was not happy to see the Journal slipping to a level of quality normally associated with USA Today and its ilk.  I reached the end of my rope when earlier this week a Journal article referred to the owner of a Toyota dealership as “Mr. Yaris,” replacing the real name with the name of a Toyota model.

Knowing that they await my feedback on a regular basis, I dashed off an email to the editors.  You can imagine the consternation in the Journal offices when word got out that I had written; I can only presume they brought the whole operation to a grinding halt while my thoughts were shared across the organization.

Well, something like that must have happened, because in less than two hours, I received a personal response from the author of the article, apologizing for the error, thanking me for my concern, and assuring me that the Journal worked very hard to keep such things from happening.

Wow!  A real response to a (mildly) disgruntled customer!  Imagine an organization that reads their email so quickly, routes it to the responsible party, and ensures that a response occurs so quickly!  I was impressed, and wrote back to say just that.  Later, I found that they even listed the error in the next day’s corrections.

Does your organization handle customer feedback that well?  Are your people taking personal responsibility for their errors with their customers in such a professional manner?  If not, why not?

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