The difference between good and bad customer service

My suitcase got broken the last time I flew. I reported it to SAS who would replace it with a new. This post will however NOT be about SAS' customer service.
SAS couldn't replace the suitcase with one exactly as I had (since it had a pretty cat design on the outside, corny, I know, but very easy to spot on the luggage conveyor). So, SAS told me I could go to the store where I bought the suitcase, buy a new one and get refunded.

I had bought the suitcase at an accessories chain called accent, this April. I remembered I've seen the suitcase a few months ago, so I was hoping they would still carry it. So, I stepped in to an accent store, at a mini-mall in Stockholm. I asked the vendor lady about the suitcase (which I couldn't see anywhere in the store) and she confirmed that they didn't have it any more. I asked her if she could check if any other store had it in store (haha). She looked at me like a question mark and said: "No, we don't have that kind of computer system." OK, that is understandable, not all retail chains today have that kind of system. So I asked her if she could provide me with the phone number for the accent store in Östersund (the biggest town close to Duved, where I live) because it was there I'd last seen a suitcase like mine. Vendor lady picked up a paper with something scribbled on it, looked through it and said; "No, I just have a few phone numbers for the stores in Stockholm, you must use a computer to find the number yourself." At this point, I got a teeny bit annoyed and told her that maybe, in the future, it would be good to have a catalogue with phone numbers to other accent stores, in case customers would need them. I was on my way out when vendor lady half yelled after me; "Well, our headquarters tell us to tell the customers to go find the numbers themselves."

Picture from accent.se. It's not really my suitcase, but it's a similar one...

I got a bit more annoyed by this statement, and wanted to go to another chain to find my suitcase, but since I have a Samsung Galaxy phone, with unlmited internet access, I decided to check the phone numbers for the store in Östersund as well as the rest of the stores in Stockholm myself. I called Östersund without any luck, and also two other stores in Stockholm. When I reached the third, and last store in central Stockholm, a girl answered. I asked her about the suitcase and got the answer that they didn't carry it anymore. I was on the verge of saying "Thank you anyway" and hang up, when she asked me; "But do you want me to check if it can be found anywhere else?". And she didn't just do that. She took the time to find the article number for the suitcase, to check the computer system for which stores still had the suitcase in store, AND she gave me the phone numbers to those stores. I was amazed.

It all ended up with me calling a store in one of Stockholm's suburbs, having them hold a suitcase for me, driving over there and buying it.

So, I just wanted to write this post to show the HUGE difference between good and bad customer service. I could hardly believe that the two persons I encountered today actually work at the same company! So, this should go without saying, but, your reputation as a company all depends on how you treat your customers, and especially how you treat your customers when something has gone wrong.... Good thing for accent that they have someone like the last girl (don't remember her name though) to work for them, otherwise this post would have been much harsher in it's judgement... Thank you, nameless girl, for making my day! :)

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