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The Customer Always Wins

This slogan is not my creation. It's the new one being used at Sam's Club. I've decided to adopt it as a core principle for my little company.

After shopping at Sam's Club in several cities for more than three decades, a bad experience in December 2016 buying and having new tires installed at their Santa Fe store put me off of ever going there again. I spent a year complaining to them about the incident without receiving any resolution. As 2017 came to a close, I sent one last email asking for satisfaction. I expected to receive no reply, already having decided I would never shop there again and allowed my membership to expire.

Lo and behold, a new manager had been hired at the Santa Fe store and he responded immediately with concern and assurances he wanted to resolve the problem but needed a little more information first. I scoffed but sent him the additional information he requested and the next day he replied with a suggested resolution which was more than appropriate, expressing genuine concern over possible loss of my patronage. I am once again a happy Sam's Club customer.

When I spoke with the new manager at the Santa Fe Sam's Club to thank him for his effort and generosity, I told him I was adopting their new slogan The Customer Always Wins for my own business. Last week I had my first occasion to live up to it.

On Cyber Monday 2017, I was working over the phone and email with the Administrator at Collins Lake Ranch, advising her on new office equipment to purchase including a new laser printer to replace their aging inkjet printer. She needed a multifunction wifi printer which could print/scan/copy/fax and had a sheet feeder with duplex printing capability. She told me color printing wasn't necessary but after looking around on the HP Store at several models on Cyber Monday sale, one caught my eye that was a bargain and provided color printing to boot. I downloaded the user manual for it to make sure it had all of the required features. Skimming over the specs, I read that it did and eagerly gave her the information to make the order which she placed right away. Skimming over the specs was my first mistake.

The printer arrived and we waited until after the holidays to set it up because the Administrator needed time to get some new cabinets and shelving moved into the office and positioned where she wanted them first. That was when I made my second mistake. I should have unboxed it as soon as it was delivered to the Ranch and inspected the box contents to make sure it met feature expectations. When I did unbox the printer after the new year, I found that it did not have a duplex sheet feeder. Bad news. Then when I finally got it set up to do printing and scanning that first week of January 2018 I came down with the flu before getting it set it up for faxing. When I recovered from that and returned to finish set up on Monday this week, I discovered it wasn't even close to the machine the Administrator needed. It was a very nice color wifi laser printer/scanner alright, but that was the extent of its multi-functionality. It had no fax capability nor did it have the duplex sheet feeder. Uh oh, major screw up!

In my eagerness to set the Ranch Administrator up with a nice color laser printer, I had misunderstood the specs listed in the online user guide for it, thinking the specs therein pertained to every model described in the manual. If I had slowed down and read closely rather than skimming over the specs, that fact would have been discovered.

I contacted HP to find out what our options for exchange were but because it was well beyond the 30-day exchange period and the printer had already been unboxed and put to use, the only option was to buy another multifunction printer that had all of the required features. Great.

These were my mistakes and mine alone. I could blame no one but myself for not taking more care in researching the selected product before recommending its purchase. If I did not resolve this issue myself, my customer would not win. So on Tuesday of this week I found the right printer and ordered it at my own expense. It's a black-and-white only printer and cost just $5 less than the Cyber Monday bargain price for the one already purchased but it was the best option for me to make sure FLUXFAZE Creative Enterprises, LLC lived up to its new slogan: The Customer Always Wins.

Some people might say this is a crazy way to do business, that mistakes are made and to take on 100% of the burden to resolve the issue is just plain nuts. I admit to beating myself up over it, no doubt about that, but it isn't at all nuts to do this because if my customer doesn't win then they will decide (very rightly so) that I don't care about them and they will take their business elsewhere, just as I was about to take my bulk supplies shopping business to Costco after being mistreated at Sam's Club.

Losing my best customer would cost me much more than the price of the printer I just purchased for them. Much more, and not just in terms of dollars and cents. My reputation would be damaged as well. Negative news which would most likely spread to other customer ears. So it's well worth it to absorb the cost to make sure they win.

I am glad of one thing, though. I am my own boss so the only person who can chew my butt out over this mistake is myself, and I have definitely learned my lesson.

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