Two years ago, I read a blog entry by Joel Spolsky on customer service that really hit me.
I liked it then; I like it now. The entry that I read two years ago was Seven Steps To Remarkable Customer Service. Joel is now more famous than ever, with four books on software development under his belt and a host of national speaking engagements to boot. As I reread the blog from 2007, I realized how timeless his comments were.
The one step that I want to talk about is step seven: greed will get you no where. Today, in this down economy, I've been listening to many of my customers speak about tightening their return policies--being more suspicious of returns, etc. Joel describes his company's return policy, how liberal it is and what it does to the customer attitude.
If we crank down on returns and make people wait and re-verify refunds, I can see the level of stress that is caused to the customer as well as to the support staff rising. Tightening return policies and being greedy are only going to cause customer defections, not profits. Does that small amount of revenue recovery really help profits?
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the companies who really make things like returns difficult. I can think of Circuit City and what happened to that company... which is for another blog entry.