Thursday, February 26, 2009

Moan 2...

"FedEx dropped a package on the front porch," Beth said. "Do you think it's from Moen?"

"So soon? I doubt it," I said.

Last week, I shared how I emailed Moen to get a replacement for the broken sprayer on my kitchen sink.

The problem: I didn't keep the receipt. But I did email a photo of the faucet. Anyone familiar with their product line would know the age of the model.

And apparently someone did. This week, Moen came through. I got my replacement sprayer. They also threw in a couple of new faucet handles. Nice touch.

I'm impressed. They've endeared themselves to me by their responsiveness.

A few ways Moen could have improved the experience:

1.) Email me acknowledgement. I didn't know they got my email with my mailing address or that they were working on my request.

2.) Include a note. It would have been nice if they included a personalized Thank You note in the package. But this may not have been practical since it shipped from a warehouse that might not have been near the customer service center.

Don't get me wrong. These are minor tweaks. Moen had already exceeded my expectations. (But there's always room for improvement. And good communications is good marketing.)

Next time I need a faucet, I may look at Kohler or Price Pfister. But I think I will be drawn to Moen by my positive experience.

I only begrudge Moen for one thing: ruining my Saturday. I'll likely be on my back contorted into some odd position pretending I'm handy while struggling to replace the old sprayer. Then I'll likely have an ache in my shoulder or back from the project and not sleep well that night. ;)

(Maybe they should have thrown in a bottle of Aleve!)

Takeaway: Customer service is as much a part of branding as advertising, public relations, or packaging. No publicity stunt can build customer loyalty as much as good customer service can. Although I hate to admit it, often "actions speak louder than ads".

Thursday, February 19, 2009


"Come here," Beth said standing over the kitchen sink. "I need your help."

When I walked up, she sprayed the front of my shirt.

"Hey!" I yelled. "That's not funny."

"I wasn't trying to be funny," she replied. "I can't turn the sprayer off."

Sure enough, the sprayer was stuck on. I squeezed the button a dozen times and it wouldn't shut off.

"Just turn the water off," I said. "And leave it there."

"And it will spray all over whoever uses the sink next!"

"Oh," I replied. "I didn't think of that. It would be a fun prank, though."


Or rather Moen -- that's who made the faucet.

I emailed Moen's website with a snapshot of the sprayer working without anyone touching it.

They emailed me back asking for another tighter photo and my mailing address so they could replace it.

I usually don't name names. But that's because I'm usually pointing out failure.

Moen has not failed. They have made good. In fact, they have made good even though I told them I don't have any documentation. (Who really keeps every receipt and warranty card?)

Whose faucets am I going to consider first when I remodel my bathroom?

I'll let you know if they come through as promised in the end. But so far, so good.

Takeaway: How do you handle warranty issues? Is customer service more about policing against abuse or "serving and protecting" your customer? Remember: for every customer that complains to you first, three will complain to others.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Honest Abe...

My family visited Springfield, IL in honor of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday yesterday.

The Lincoln Library and Museum are amazing. I learned there are over 16,000 books just in English about our 16th president.

Why is Lincoln's legacy so big? There are many reasons. But to me, one of the most interesting is that Abe was as honest as his reputation.

I heard that repeated again and again as I toured his home, past his office, visited his bank. and toured the Lincoln Museum.

Perhaps that says it all.

Takeaway: What do people remember about your brand -- and you? Do people think "integrity" or do they think something less? Want to improve you image? Improve your actions.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Got Your #.....

In good times, one way to grow your business is to buy the competition. There can be a lot to gain by acquiring their assets, staff, and distribution network.

In bad times, you might just buy your competition's phone number. Seriously.

Think about it. A competitor may be going out (Circuit City) or just cutting back locations (Starbucks). Their brand may be dead. Their inventory may be worthless. But their phone number and/or website domain name may be valuable.

This weekend, I wanted to try a new restaurant. My first choice was out of business: their number was disconnected. My next choice was a chain that closed the location near me: the phone just rang and rang.

If the numbers had been forwarded, I might have become a new customer.

The same is true for domain names. Search engines may continue to point to a website for months or even years after the business is closed.

Takeaway: Acquiring a phone or fax number, domain name or email address can be a cost-effective way of buying a new sales channel. Databases and email lists might also be worth considering.