1 tip to make your customers love you

I used to love the company Overnight Prints. They offer a great product at reasonable prices and with reasonable service. Until this week, I had no reservation about referring them to anyone who needed some printing done, and I saw no need to even shop around for any printing job I needed. But that changed this week, and for only one reason: they didn't do what was best for me, their customer.

Here's the story. On Sunday I learned of an event happening on Friday where I could promote Catch the Best to a group of people who would be interested in the service, and so I thought of getting a batch of business cards custom-made to hand out at this event. I checked their FAQ to find the turnaround times, and saw that if I had my order in by Monday, I could get 2nd day air shipping to have the cards in-hand by Thursday. So, I whipped up a design on Monday morning, got the order in well before the cutoff time, and looked forward to the event.

On Tuesday morning I got one of Overnight Print's periodic special offer emails. One of the offers in the email was for a free set of business cards -- just the thing I had ordered the day before. I emailed customer service to see if I could get that offer, seeing as how I had placed that order under 24 hours before they sent out that offer. I got no response.

On Wednesday I checked the order status to find that the processing had been delayed, preventing the order from getting to the shipper until Wednesday, rather than Tuesday, making the estimated shipping arrival day Friday. So, the cards would arrive too late for the event, squandering the promotional opportunity.

On Thursday I contacted Overnight Prints to see what they could do regarding a refund, since their processing delay made my order a waste. They offered a 10% discount on a future order. What?! I may never order from them again because of this, and they want to give me a discount on a future order? After a bit of venting on my part, I got the original order cost (but not the shipping cost) refunded, and a discount on a future order. Great, but I still won't have those cards for that event, will I?

So, what's the 1 tip to make your customers love you? Do what's best for them! If they would have simply noticed the delay in processing, upgraded my shipping to next day air for free to make sure I got my cards when I expected to get them, and sent me an email telling me that, I'd love them right now. I'd be blogging about how great they are, and raving about them to anyone who needed printing. Instead, I'm blogging about how I'm still not satisfied with the outcome I got, and how I'll shop around the next time I need printing, and how if I recommend them to anyone again, I'll be sure to include the caveat about not trusting them to deliver when they say they will deliver.