One of the most remarkable customer service experiences I ever had was courtesy of Costco Warehouse and their legendary return policy. It’s so diametrically opposed to my Nikon experience that I shared a few weeks ago that I felt that it was appropriate to discuss here.

When I graduated from college, one of my graduation presents was an Omega Seamaster. That’s not an insubstantial cost, with comparable Seamasters retailing for around $4400. This was well outside of graduation present range, but because the watch was purchased at Costco, it was over half off.

That alone could be reason enough to like Costco, but it was my experience with them 3 years later that won them a raving fan for life. My watch no longer told time correctly, but as part of the package I got from Costco it mentioned that I shouldn’t take the watch to a regular shop because they wouldn’t work on it. Instead of taking it to a shop for repairs, they recommended taking it to Costco.

I walked in to the warehouse to see about repairs. They scanned my membership card and within a minute found the purchase. They then asked me if I wanted them to apply the refund to my credit card.  They didn’t even bat an eye. They completely refunded my money right then and there. Instead of taking that money and pocketing it, I ended up buying another watch from Costco because I knew that they’d always stand behind their product.

The Takeaway

Create processes that help your customers and make it easy for them to love you. While providing the best price is nice, it’s far more important to provide the best processes. It’s a little known fact that Walmart will take back anything that they sell – but their return process is so onerous, with slow lines and personal information changing hands – that they don’t get the credit for having such a generous policy.

If your process puts a burden on the consumer, find a way to make it easier for them. Improve your systems so that your customer will be delighted when they leave your business.

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