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The Importance of Preserving the Customer

May 25, 2021

My daughter sent flowers to her mom on Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, her mom never received the flowers. My guess is the flowers were delivered, but to someone else’s mom.

When my daughter called the flower shop to get a refund, it took a while. The flower shop wanted to give her a credit towards a future flower order instead of a refund. Although my daughter eventually got her full refund, it took 30 minutes of persuasion for the flower shop to come around and agree.

But let’s look at this situation from the flower shop’s perspective. By refunding her money, the flower shop was losing a customer for life. Why would my daughter, or any customer, ever order flowers from them again when they screwed up an important delivery? Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but what I think they were trying to do was to preserve a customer. If my daughter had accepted the credit, then used that credit to order flowers later, they would have a renewed opportunity to provide their services at an excellent level, thus converting her to a satisfied customer.

I am a big proponent of doing what is necessary to preserve a customer. We all screw up and make mistakes with customers, resulting in their anger or disappointment. However, if we get another chance to make it right, we can demonstrate to the customer that we care about them and their satisfaction. Making it right with a customer when given a second chance may also separate us from the competition.

When my daughter told me this story, she was frustrated with the flower shop and how long it took to get her refund. She had every right to be upset. She will also never again order flowers from this company. But all I could think about was this: if they had handled the situation differently, maybe offered more of an incentive to make up for their mistake, they could have retained a customer. More importantly, they could have developed a customer who would tell others about their excellent customer service and efforts to convert a wrong into a right.