How To: Customer Service

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Note: this post is NOT sponsored in anyway, and in my communication with the company I used an email address that did not give away that I am a food blogger.

I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that customer service is important. Wait, let me correct myself. Large retailers who have stores devoid of staff think it’s insignificant and prefer to place all blame for falling sales on “THE INTERNET”.

You may be aware that “THE INTERNET” is going to be the death of retail in Australia. As Australians realise they don’t have to pay inflated prices they purchase their goodies from abroad. Of course, the idea that Australian retailers might offer fully stocked online stores, perhaps even with web only specials, or cheap/free delivery, is anathema to the retail dinosaurs. And so the Australian consumer finds it easier and (often significantly) cheaper to shop abroad.

But just because you’re shopping on line DOESN’T mean you are shopping overseas. Plenty of Australian retailers have embraced the internet, and some have no high street presence at all. Some even manage to offer competitive pricing.

Some things, you need to see in a shop – I understand that and my own attempts to shop for clothes on line are usually disastrous. But in the world of kitchen goods, you often don’t. A picture of a palette knife, or a baking dish, or a cake tin, along with dimensions, tells you everything you need to know.

In late 2011 I decided I finally needed to buy a rotary grater. My Microplane does a great job on hard cheeses but can’t handle soft cheese (like cheddar). A few weeks out from Christmas I wasn’t going to start trawling department stores, so I turned to the internet and quickly found a Zyliss grater that would do the job, at a discounted price, with a moderate delivery fee. The store was Everten.

The grater arrived and did its job for almost 2 years. The other day, finishing off some quesadillas, the handle on the coarse barrel snapped off (see the picture above), rendering it useless.

A bit of swearing was followed by a bit of googling, mainly to see if other people had had a similar problem. And then I came across some other Zyliss products that had a 5 year guarantee.

As I couldn’t find my model of grater listed anywhere I couldn’t check what its guarantee was, but as I’d bought on line I still had the receipt (hidden away in a cleverly named “Receipts” folder – yes, I really am that OCD). I thought about it for a couple of days and figured I had nothing to lose by getting in touch with Everten and asking if the grater was covered by a similar guarantee.

I fully expected that the answer would be no, and, if I’m brutally honest, I half expected that my query would end up lost in the ether.

However, in less than a week (photographs of the damaged product duly shared), a new grater, of my choice (for the record, a Cuisipro), arrived on our doorstep.

If I’d bought the original grater in a shop it’s unlikely I’d have had the receipt. Even if I had, I can imagine the kind of response I would have received: at best it would have been to tell me to deal with the manufacturer.

Everten provided a great example of how customer service should be done. The lady I dealt with, Lorraine, answered my emails quickly and she was always detailed in her responses.

You can shop on line and support small Australian business. And when things go wrong, it can be a fantastic experience. Well done to Everten!

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