I realize that I just posted about the importance of customer service but after what I experienced yesterday, I deemed it worthy to write about it once again. Customer service and how you handle a mistake is every bit a part of marketing as your printed collateral and website.
“mea cul·pa: noun \ˌmā-ə-ˈku̇l-pə, ˌmā-ä-, -ˈku̇l-(ˌ)pä\ : a statement in which you say that something is your fault”
That’s what Tiny Prints, the well-known card printing company, just sent me a letter about. Mea culpa. My bad.
Please allow me to explain what led to this letter. I had ordered my Christmas cards from Tiny Prints this past holiday season. It was probably the 5th or 6th time that I’ve used them and have LOVED their quality, design, and awesome customer service. But when they fell down on that third bullet this holiday season, I truly thought that this would be the last time that I ordered from them.
The ordering and timely delivery of holiday cards is vitally important, especially this year when the timeframe between Thanksgiving and Christmas was so short. It seemed like we all had 2 weeks to pull it all together! It appears that even large retailers had a difficult time fitting it all in because for the first time since I’ve been using them, Tiny Prints did not deliver on time. Not only that, but their website wouldn’t allow for tracking of orders and getting through to their customer service department was virtually impossible. I’ll be honest; I look forward to sending out my Christmas cards every year and I experienced a small bit of panic at the fact that they wouldn’t arrive at all. In the end, they did arrive in time for me to mail out and Tiny Prints gave me 30% off my order as retribution.
That in and of itself was a pretty fair exchange. They acknowledged that they made a mistake and without having to ask for it, they took steps to try to make it right and regain my trust. I thought we were done.
Flash forward to February 20 when I opened my mail. Much to my surprise, there was a letter from the General Manager of Tiny Prints, in which he admitted that they did not “live up to their very high standards” during the recent holiday season. And enclosed was a $50 gift certificate that I may apply to another order, with an expiration date of 12/31/14. Which means that I can use it during this year’s holiday season. They could have made the effort and sent a gift certificate with an expiration date of July or September. But instead they recognized that the holiday season is when most people use them and they are allowing its usage during that critical time. I’m sure that’s going to equate to a rather hefty financial blow to the company but they did the right thing. They took action to regain my trust. And contrary to what I believed back in December, I will be ordering my 2014 Christmas cards from Tiny Prints once again.
Lesson: It’s not about the mistake that you made, it’s about how you handle correcting it. Marketing 101!