Create Loyal Customers (Even if you’ve Screwed Up) | TravelResearchOnline


Create Loyal Customers (Even if you’ve Screwed Up)

I love to shop online and have purchased gifts and bobbles, having them delivered to my front door. It saves me time, gas and dealing with crowds. Don’t get me wrong, I love an afternoon of retail therapy every now and then but, for the most part, the click of the mouse and order buttons are my friends.

I had occasion to recently make a birthday gift purchase for my husband through L.L. Bean. I purchased a nice, monogrammed chamois bathrobe for him as his was missing. I placed my order with a click, and on its way it went. I wanted to have it sent to his workplace, as he was having fun receiving all the Christmas gifts being sent to his coworkers to avoid detection. I wanted one of those gifts to be for him.  But, it was not to be.
Six days after placing my order, I received an email from L.L. Bean’s customer service stating there was an inventory discrepancy and my order was cancelled, they refunded my money and I was to be on my way.

I was very disappointed and sent an email stating I would think twice about using their company in the future if this was an example of their customer service. Within 15 minutes of that email a customer service representative from LLBean called me, apologizing for their mistake. They stated they dropped the ball, but didn’t try to blame the weather, economy or any other excuse we’ve all heard.  For me, that was enough; all I wanted was an apology.  What impressed me even further was they had an alternative bathrobe to suggest, offering free shipping and monogramming. I was quite pleased.  I didn’t want money or a full refund, I just wanted good customer service and they offered it, and then some.  I did place another order for a bathrobe in a different color.  Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

The same principles can be applied to my own travel business. If I’ve made a mistake with a client’s vacation I know the best action is to admit my mistake and try to remedy it. It’s not pleasant, as I usually squirm in my seat, my stomach churning, as the phone rings waiting for my client to answer.  But admit my mistake I must, to begin the journey back to great customer service.  I have to let my client vent their anger and frustration and answer their questions honestly. Having a plan on how to remedy the error and sharing that with them will hopefully help soothe ruffled feathers.  I’ve learned that asking them what they’d like to see happen is the best way to make sure they’re satisfied with the outcome.  Having a plan and instituting new actions to avoid this error in the future will help avoid future mistakes from being repeated.  We’re all human and make mistakes, it’s how we deal with them that counts.


Patti Maxwell

Galavant Travel

  One thought on “Create Loyal Customers (Even if you’ve Screwed Up)

  1. Myrtle Dwyer says:

    Mistakes do happen sometimes but an apology goes a long way in helping to make a customer feel good.
    Custom retention is good for business.

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