Nordstrom’s Knows What I Want

I had searched my make/model of MacBookPro on Amazon for a replacement battery and after selecting a “brand new” battery at a low price, I ordered it.

When it came, it clearly wasn’t the right model. Disappointed.

I returned it because Amazon Prime is great about refunding your money with zero shipping charges either way.  I wrote a negative review about the product listing itself, because I was disappointed.  

What would have made my experience better was if there were more pictures of the item, maybe with the back of the MBP pulled off to see where it goes and also- most importantly– part numbers.  

The merchant has since included part numbers with all its listings.  

They reached out to me to ask my permission to send me a FREE battery that matches my MBP model.  I was surprised… and very delighted.  I said “Ok, sure.  I really appreciate that.”  I gave them the model number and my address.

I thought to myself: “If they do this, I will update my review or do a new review and say how they went the extra mile for me.  Let’s see what happens.”

The next day, they Emailed me back saying that they don’t carry that model…

And, pointing out how their listings now have part numbers…

And, asking me if there is anything else they can help me with…

And, would I be willing to remove my review or update it based on this latest experience…

I just shook my head in disbelief.

I sent them an Email back citing the infamous Nordstrom’s Tire Return story.  Recounting this story from almost 30 years ago when I first heard it in college, I was inclined to look it up on Snopes.  There is some debate about whether it is true or not and if so, to what degree.

Doesn’t matter.

The story represents what is in the mind of ALL customers.  It is literally a textbook case of ultimate customer service; that is what people want.  At a minimum, customers have a need they are trying to satisfy.  If the need is met, there is maybe a 50/50 chance that they will return as a customer.  

If the customer’s expectation is exceeded, then brand loyalty is strengthened and they will not only be a return customer, they will evangelize the product and brand to others.

If expectations are not met (or worse, negative expectations are met/exceeded in the negative direction) then no amount of additional cajoling will bring that person back to the realm of potential evangelist.

In this case, once the merchant promised to send me a “free, brand new battery that does match my model of MBP”, they should have gone to whatever length they needed to to fulfill that promise; call Apple, go to another merchant, etc.  

Instead, they simply reinforced the initial negative experience that I had with them and worse, they wasted my time, set a new negative expectation, did not deliver, inspired me to write this blog post, etc.

Now, I am done with that merchant…

Well, almost.  I might even update my post with this newly disappointing experience to reinforce my initial negative review.

If they came back and said “Here’s a whole new MBP 17” fully-loaded with software and upgrades, etc.  We will give it to you to make you happy.” I would still be thinking “Check’s in the mail…”

Delight your customers, and they will become your most valuable allies.  Make them mad, and you will be out of business.