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Service after the sale

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I dealt recently with a company that bent over backward to show how much they appreciate my business, even though my minor purchase likely didn’t even make a bump in their bottom line.

We’re in an economy where making a buck seems a priority for some companies. To be fair, in this economy that sentiment is often a survival measure and not necessarily an indicator of a company’s character. In any event, when a big company takes extra effort to please a small customer like me, even though it’s their larger-volume customers that make the difference to the bottom line, it’s an experience worth relating.

In last Tuesday’s blog (“Quick, but not dirty”), I discussed how I used oak staircase balusters as a no-lathe option for table legs. I liked what I came up with and wanted to try another table with balusters of a different profile. I’d already bought one in that other style with my earlier order so I could get a good look at it, so I just needed three more.

I received the three balusters quickly, but one was badly warped so I called the company – Stair Parts Only of Mentor, Ohio – to see about a replacement. The rep I spoke to requested that I e-mail him a quick photo of the bent baluster and that we’d move forward from there. Literally within minutes of sending the snapshot, he called me to personally apologize for the defective baluster, and said he was sending me a replacement immediately. This was late last Thursday afternoon; the new baluster arrived yesterday. Taking into account the intervening weekend, this was lighting-like service.

Keep in mind that this company probably deals in far larger volumes for its usual customers. I’m guessing a lot of staircase contractors order balusters numbering in double and triple digits; even a homeowner replacing a staircase would probably order a few dozen, and not a mere three or four like me. And yet I was treated like I was just as important to them as those big customers.

A lot of companies claim that their customers are important to them, no matter how big or small. I have no idea if this company makes such a claim or not, but it’s clear by the way they do business that its part of their core philosophy.

Even with the state of the economy, it’s nice to see that there are companies out there who still do business this way. Even for the little guys like me.

Till next time,


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