The other day I was reading a woodworking forum post in which the poster was raving about the great service he had gotten from a well known vendor of high quality woodworking tools.
It seems that the handle of one of his expensive new chisels had split down the middle at the first mallet blow. He called the vendor and was told that a replacement would be sent that day along with an RMA ticket and shipping label for him to send the broken one back.
What was noteworthy about this was that the customer was completely blown away by the fact that he had been treated courteously and had received such good service. This, it would seem, has become something of a rarity.
Odd because if you talk to anyone who has been successful in business, they will tell you that service is the most important thing.
I have never had an official written service policy or any formal guarantee or warranty. When people have asked me about this I have always said "You have a problem, you call us." Now I have to plead guilty to not always offering "no questions asked service". And there have been many times in which I was convinced that the problem was caused by something well outside the bounds of "normal use".
But there have also been times where I went back and replaced a broken drawer slide or door hinge as long as five years after the final payment had been made. And I can say this much with certainty: those customers who received the best service were invariably the ones who came back for more work or referred their friends to us.