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Changing Customer Loss Into a Win

Posted on October 26, 2010 , by Steve Bernstein

If you are going to lose money on the transaction anyway, would like to at least keep the customer?
Stew Leonard, President of Stew Leonard’s retail grocery chain told a nice little story in his keynote address this morning at NACCM. 
A customer walks in to the store with a $1 carton of Egg Nog, saying it tastes terrible and wants his money back. 
The rep takes a taste and responds:  “It tastes ok to me.” 
Customer: “Well the whole family hated it, and I’d like my money back.” 
Rep: “Sure, we can do that.  We sell thousands of these during the holidays and never had one coming back.  We’d like to make it right.”
Customer: “I’d just like my money back.”
Rep takes a dollar from the drawer and gives it to the customer, who in turn responds, “If I knew it was going to be this hard I wouldn’t have bothered coming back into your store.  I’m never coming back.”
Stew tells the crowd, “If I was going to lose the money anyway, wouldn’t it have been nice to at least keep the customer?”  Since that day the organization lived by the mantra of “The Customer is Always Right,” proudly displaying the rule on a large piece of granite at the front of every store. 
Keeping up with the likes of Walmart, Costco, and Trader Joes isn’t easy, and for over 40 years Stew Leonard’s has been able to grow and thrive.  Looks like Customer Experience at work.