Black Friday Rush
It was the week before Thanksgiving 2009 and all retailers were priming up for the big Black Friday rush. One of those retailers was a customer from Alachua, Florida. He was set to open his new Verizon Wireless store and had everything in place to do so. Flooring was in, walls were painted, merchandise had arrived, signage had been approved, and fixtures were due to arrive any day. The fixtures that were due to arrive were to be provided by us, ACS. We had been working with our customer for some time trying to get his store laid out for the best customer interaction. All details were set in place and the store was set up to do big numbers that holiday season.
This store was his first experience utilizing ACS as a fixture supplier, and we were aiming to please to attain his business for all future stores. We were thrilled to be a part of his growing business and, just like him, wanted him to do big numbers too. The layout was done, the fixtures were built, and the delivery truck had been loaded and left. A day or two went by and then ACS receives the game changing phone call. “Phil, I have so many things wrong with most of the pieces I ordered its ridiculous.” Uh oh, we have a problem. This is not the type of email we like to receive from a first time customer a few days before the biggest shopping day of the year. After a few more words and pictures to back up what was being said, we knew we had to react.
This is not the way we do business. Admittedly, we do make mistakes, and this one was all on us. That day we called the senior leaders of the company in for an emergency meeting. “What have we done? How could we have let this happen?” We racked our brains to figure out how we could possibly rectify this situation and save the customer, and our reputation. After much discussion and research we came to the conclusion that this was completely our fault. We bored the holes wrong; we didn’t fasten the top like we should have and the cleaning solutions we used on the laminate made it look like there were scratches in it while sitting in direct sunlight. In other words, we did a terrible job. We had to fix this.
We called the customer back and took yet another verbal lashing. “For the price of these pieces and for you not to inspect the items before they leave the factory is un-excusable” said the customer, “We agree, with you and here’s what we’re going to do about it…” Two days after receiving the first call stating that there was a problem we had an entirely new store package down to the customer, installed by our own crew, free of charge to him. We took back the old fixtures and set them up in our facility as a “what not to do” example.
His store was up in running just in time for Black Friday and he hit record numbers with his new build out. After that, the customer’s tone changed and he gave us the following testimonial to his superiors: “I just wanted to follow up with everyone on the issues with the fixtures I received for my new store from ACS. I have been very impressed with the service I have received from ACS on getting my issues resolved. I feel that their integrity and willingness to get everything completed before my store opened was exemplary. Greg Bowers came down personally with his team on Thursday night after my close of business time, fixed the issues and reinstalled my entire store. I also had a piece I had ordered that I didn’t end up needing which they took back with them and gave me a credit. Again, I understand things happen sometimes, but the quality of service and after the sale service have been second to none. I would recommend ACS to anyone I do business with and look forward to a continued relationship with them as I expand and open new stores. I believe Verizon chose a top notch company.”
Since then we’ve been able to maintain a relationship with the customer and Verizon both. I don’t doubt that there will be problems again in the future, but as they always say “It’s not the problem, but how you react to the problem that’s most important”. We reacted without hesitation and although it cost us a little extra money on the front end, losing the customer would have been much more costly.