Archive for April, 2009

Customer Service at its Best

hotel-chocolatNot so long ago, I wrote about “Customer Service…at its Worst”, and an experience with the Simple brand of skincare products. Today, I experienced some of the best customer service I’ve seen for many years at Hotel Chocolat, a specialist chain of chocolate shops, at their outlet in Cambridge, UK.

This experience not only reassured me that the company cared about the quality of its products, but cared about their customer and their ongoing loyalty to the brand. Creating that level of reassurance with a customer is something every brand should strive for.

It started about 3 weeks ago when we purchased a box of Hotel Chocolat Turkish Delight as a small gift for a relative on her 89th birthday. The box cost over £12 but was beautifully presented. Visiting her last week she told us that when she opened it and tried a small piece, it tasted dreadful. She then noticed mould growth on the product. Checking the sell-by date, it was well within the date given. We said that we would return the item.

On visiting the shop today, the assistant we spoke to immediately inspected the product and called the store manager. With no questions they refunded the cost of the product and gave us, in addition to this, a large box of their best selling chocolates. They took our details and said the product would be sent away for analysis and their head office would be in touch with us as soon as this was complete.

This action stood out in a world of average service because:

  • The priority was to maintain¬†customer loyalty
  • They went out of their way to ensure we knew that the complaint was being taken seriously
  • They ensured that we were satisfied with the refund but also would try their best selling line to reassure us of their normal high quality standards
  • We felt that the business as a whole supported this attitude and that they were not only satisfying the initial complaint but wanted to find out why it happened so that it didn’t happen again.

This is what word-of-mouth-marketing is all about. A great customer experience as a result of an initial complaint that not only retains the loyalty of that customer but is shared with others – marketing can’t get any better.

Well done Hotel Chocolat!

April 10, 2009 at 5:29 pm Leave a comment


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