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March 20, 2013

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Larry Waight (@larrywaight)

In today's world "immediacy" is a competitive advantage. This blog post reminds me about the business culture at Zappos - when you purchase a tennis or shoes at Zappos, they will ship it immediately so that in less than 48 hours you will have it in front of your door step.

Awesome post David!

Larry

David Meerman Scott

Larry - you're right about immediacy. The main reason I went "wow" was because of the speed.

John Garghan

At $600 a throw I would expect better than normal customer service

David Meerman Scott

John - True. But how many companies actually deliver?

Whitney Hoffman

The bottom line here is that quality counts, and quality also delivers. Sometimes it is a better investment to spend more rather than spending less multiple times. When our Samsonites bite the skids, I'll consider Tumi now, knowing that they are worth it, especially since I am tired of constantly replacing less costly bags in our house.

Rj_c

My good friend is a big Tumi fan he has bought many bags and when he wants to give a traveller a gift he will usually spend a few extra bucks because he knows that person will get a gift and always remember him.

I had heard they where awesome from a few friends. I don't travel as much anymore but if I start travelling again I will definetely go for a Tumi.

David Meerman Scott

Whitney - You are so right. In this case, I spent maybe $150 on bags and was replacing them every year. Then I spent $600 and it has lasted 4 years (and counting).

Raul - I first heard of Tumi from my brother and took a chance with them. Glad I did! Word of mouth (and word of mouse) works.

Colin Warwick

Great story, David. But isn't it sad that it takes Tumi's industrial strength ballistic nylon to withstand the united-breaks-guitars abuse our luggage gets from the airlines... Some airlines even charge us extra for the privilege of having the zippers, wheels, and handles of our bags broken off.

Steven Herron

Excellent customer service is easy to provide yet so few deliver it. They talk about it. They say things like,'you are important to us," but the reality of it is that consumers are just a number to the vast majority of companies. It is the reason why examples like this are so exceptional. Kudos to Tumi and a few others including L.L. Bean which has a similar high standard of service.

Shona

As a customer service representative, I love reading article like this. It makes me feel important and valued. Too bad most companies don't agree. This is my second stint as a CSR, and I'm looking to get out of it. Not because of the type of work, but because I'm not given the tools to really do my work!

For example, in my position, about 70% of my time is spent on internal support, to our sales and management teams, and 30% to our clients. Our company utilizes Salesforce as a tool. Originally, Salesforce accounts were created and maintained by the sales team. As time went by, management noticed that the sales team was getting lax in entering in new leads and customers into the system. Therefore I've been assigned to do it. Nonetheless, I still get a couple of calls a week from customers who aren't even in our database! The sales team had orders created and keep the information on their person instead of putting it out there for the rest of us. So then I struggle to get the necessary information from them over the phone...all without making us seem completely incompetent.

Then I am faced with calls from customers who received equipment and sales quotes that don't match their needs. They know that, and call me to verify. I then have to send it back to the sales staff who originated the quote or request and get them to explain. It's a huge runaround for the customer. It's not that I don't want to help and suggest the proper alternative. But the sales team gets very touchy about that and if a mistake is made, then management blames me. So I just re-route the issue.

I also have to field the shortcomings that come with product production; finance; billing; you name it. Even though in most cases the best I can do is rely the issue to another party since these aspects are controlled by other departments. If anything, I'm just a "problem note taker". Every weakness in the company comes back on me. And for that, I'm the lowest paid employee they have!

It such a shame. I have a graduate degree in marketing. Initially I tried to relay the customer issues to others and management, but it has fallen on deaf ears. So I just go back to collecting problems. I wish I could be a fly on the wall to see the next person in my job...to see how they handle it. Me...I'm just spent. I feel used and abused. There's thousands of CSRs out there that feel the same. We and the customers deserve better. Maybe one day, what you are saying, and what I've been trying to say, will click!

Josh Hill

I love my Tumi bags too and was glad to get the same model as a gift once. I've taken it all over the place and found it more durable than my trusty old Delsey.

I had a similar problem, but it came new, in the box with broken expander clips that were made of plastic. I took it to my luggage repair guy and he took care of it in 2 weeks. Now I wish I had just gone direct to Tumi's store instead. Tumi covered the cost under warranty and it came back with heavy duty metal clips.

I'm always happy to hear a luxury brand standing by their quality and product.

Do you think that lower cost brands should offer the same level of service? I'd say yes, but I know many people would say you get what you pay for.

David Meerman Scott

Colin - Yeah, I know. But it is good that companies like Tumi help protect gear from our friends in the airlines.

Steven - Exactly. The contrast between waiting on hold for 30 minutes listening to a recording of "your call is important to us" compared to my experience at Tumi is stark.

Shona - Thank you very much for jumping in here. Your experience as a CSR is valuable to this discussion. You should know that your customers value what you do. It seems like your company doesn't value the importance of your work. Maybe you need to join a company (like Tumi) that does.

Josh - I'm not sure that lower cost brands should. They are offering a different experience. You and I travel a lot so we buy the best. But my mother travels only a few times a year and for her a cheaper bag is fine.

Sheetal Sharma

we follow the same approach at Synechron where customer satisfaction is paramount and it is achieved by providing high level service / solutions to our clients whom we consider our growth partners.

SMSJOE

Customer experience can be the best form of marketing. As marketers we often spend a great deal of time creating stories. You are telling one of the most powerful. Do you think Tumi has any way of measuring this? e.g. Net Promoter score? Have you heard anything to indicate they are listening to this conversation or similar ones?

Jen

Great example, however, with expensive, quality brands like this, I expect nothing less. As a reward, they receive my loyalty for life.

Another, but similar, example of this is L.L. Bean. I bought one of their backpacks for high school and put it through the wringer: four years of high school toting heavy textbooks and who knows what else; then four years of college running around campus and the country (it was a convenient carry-on); followed by several years of travel where I threw it in cars, buses, boats, trains and planes.

Probably 10 years after I bought the bag, the main compartment zipper stopped staying closed. Being known for their quality, service and lifetime guarantee, I called customer service. They asked me a couple questions, shipped me a label and told me to send the bag their way. A couple days later, I received a call saying they could not repair the bag since the parts were so old and they no longer made that style. However, if I liked, they would replace it with an equal model from their current product line. No questions asked.

I clearly loved my bag, so I chose to get it back and make due since none of the current products fit my needs as well, but I was completely impressed by the whole process. L.L. Bean is my first stop when I need quality product.

Claire

I had a good customer service experience this week. I went into O2 to buy a new pay as you go phone, and unlike other shops they did not try to sell me a contract phone. This in the world of British mobile phones counts as great customer service!

Wendy wand

Writing from Singapore. I have a Tumi. Glad to know about the great service. Have also just read one of your e-books that I borrowed from our National library. Thank you for your lessons. I will be using some of your ideas for my business Wand Inspiration. And my blog.
Www.wendywand.wordpress.com

Sharon

Have used Tumi products for over 15 years and found none better - have even converted several friends from other luxury brands based on the great service. Excellent service is the foundation of loyalty and advocacy as your story illustrates.

Shep Hyken

Great story. I have a Tumi and my handle is broken, too. I’m going to take it to my local Tumi retailer and see what they say. I’ll pull out this article for “help” if I need help pleading my case to them. But, from what you indicate with your story, I shouldn’t need it.

David Meerman Scott

Thank you all for commenting on this post.

SMSJOE - What's interesting in this case is that it is a customer who created the story. I wonder if their marketing is built around the story of great customer service?

Jen - Actually, I don't expect it even with high priced products. I think that what LL Bean and Tumi do is the exception.

Shep - I would be surprised if you encountered anything but good service.

Ron Carter

Thanks David:

Your post reminds me why I believe in Tumi products. They have always been customer friendly when selling their products. More companies need to be like Tumi.

Their prices are expensive, but you pay for what you get.
Like you, I am a customer for life.

Ron

David Meerman Scott

Ron, I Agree. I'd rather pay $500 once in ten years than $100 each year.

Kate

I occasionally get excellent customer service like you did with Tumi. My most recent was with Frontgate and some patio furniture. When you get off the phone with a call that ends so surprisingly well, you just grin for hours. Good to know about Tumi as I have a couple of their pieces.

David

I just sent my tumi leather jacket for repair, there is a hole on the side of the jacket, wish me good luck.

Rodney Goldston

I'm in the market for a bag and will definitely consider Tumi.

cindy penn

People tend to spend more money to get the comfort and great service they want. They are not only looking for the good qualities that the company has but also if that company provides great service to customers too. That is why, implementing great customer service is really an excellent marketing.

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