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Does your service team deliver limitation-free resolutions?

By Luke Duffy on Jun 24, 2015 7:46:00 AM

You know that piece of ripped, brown material that slightly resembles a bear - the one which your Mum gets out every time she meets one of your friends? Well once upon a time that was your favourite thing in the world. You'd never leave a room without it, let alone the house. Washing it was a big no-no as the smell comforted you, it made you feel safe. Nobody could ever understand how much you loved your little bear and nobody ever would. It was all you cared about in the first few years of your life. 


So imagine if one day you were lying in your cot and it wasn't there. Without the ability to talk or communicate concisely, how would you ask Mum where it is? You start to panic and furiously start rummaging around your cot. Maybe it'll be on the floor you think, you cry and wait for Mum to find it for you. "I'm sorry little one, baby lamb had to be thrown away. It was just too ripped and tatty to be kept any longer" - you don't need to understand every word - you just know your best friend is gone.

That's exactly what happened with one of our customers a few months back and immediately, the social customer care team's heart strings were understandably tugged. The Mum felt guilty as her baby just couldn't rest - he wanted his baby lamb back no matter what. So the team intervened. We got the details of the comforter - it was a product in our Chad Valley range. Perfect we thought, an own brand product shouldn't be too difficult to get hold of. A simple stock check, maybe a store transfer and we were onto a winner? Nope; discontinued. Groan. We need to sort this.

The great thing about having such an 'out-of-the-box' thinking team is that there's no limitations to how they process a resolution. The team aren't held back by the typical customer service old school processes (handling time is everything) - they're given the freedom to be themselves and treat every customer as if they were a family member. I think that is a really powerful statement. Would you sort out your Gran's delayed delivery? Of course you would or else you'd get no Sunday dinner!

So, the lamb. Discontinued and that's usually where it'd stop with the standard customer service agent - "We have no stock of this product and therefore we are unable to obtain one. I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused". But not the Social team. We've built up some great contacts internally and externally whilst growing in the world of Social and this was going to be a time when we called for a favour from one. We actually monitor the Chad Valley Facebook and Twitter pages so know the Chad Valley team quite well. The team contacted the Branding Manager to see what we could do; she passed the request over to the spares team. A couple of days passed and we heard nothing. We kept in regular contact with the Mum to see how her and baby were doing. He still wasn't sleeping but she was grateful that we were going to so much effort to get this sorted. 

The email arrived - the spares team had checked all over the country and there was no stock left whatsoever. OK this may be a little tricky now, designing things from thin air wasn't our forte - we're good but not THAT good. "I don't suppose there's another bear that your son would be interested in is there?"

"No, I've tried giving him different ones and he still doesn't like them. The baby lamb is the only one that can settle him down." 

We called the spares team directly and explained the story to them. They also felt sorry for the Mum and wanted to go that extra mile, especially due to it being on our Facebook page. Feelings aside, this could be a great win for our Social reputation. They called a warehouse in the Republic of Ireland and had them check over their place. "There's none in the standard racking, we'll check the clearance pallets."

 "We've found some. In fact, we've found a whole box." As you can imagine, the team were ecstatic. We got in touch with the Mum immediately and she was over the moon. The team arranged to have the entire box shipped over to the Mum's local store so she could buy as many as she liked. I think she actually ended up buying around 10 just to make sure she had enough spares! The little boy could finally sleep again and the Mum praised us all over Facebook and continues to sing our praise to her friends - the experience has turned her into a huge advocate for the brand. Wins like this make you really proud to work within the Social space.

About the author:

Luke Duffy is a Social Media/Digital Project Co-Ordinator at Home Retail Group plc. You can find him on Linkedin here, or follow him on Twitter here.

Topics: Customer Service

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