In the Corporate World, Is Bigger Badder?
Finally she said, "I don't like your tone. You're threatening me. I hope this conversation is recorded." And she hung up.
Studying the bills, she found the $35 was a membership fee, which had not been added into the total somehow. She paid it immediately and canceled her card. The normally even-tempered Peggy promptly hotfooted it over to the PennSports gym to work off her fury.
After 41 years with American Express, I have to decide whether or not to continue being a card member. People who treat me or my wife badly do not deserve our business--especially when a platinum card costs $395 a year.
The conclusion: Little Swan Hellenic and Williams-Sonoma are wonderful. Great big American Express ain't.
My wish for Ken Swan is that he have as splendid a time on his final journey as he gave to Peggy and me on our sojourn to Egypt.
To Chuck Williams, happy birthday, and may there be many more!
Takeaway Points to Consider
- Ken Swan--as president and owner of the company--had the authority to make executive decisions on the spot in order to make things right for his customers.
- The same was true of the Williams-Sonoma telephone rep. Imagine how Don Jackson would have felt if the guy listened to his story and said, "Uh, gee, okay, uh, let me talk to my supervisor, and I'll call you back." Are your customer service reps empowered to make decisions on the spot?
- Williams-Sonoma had obviously planned for an occasional screw-up and was able to short-circuit the regular fulfillment process in order to satisfy the customer's needs. Do you have such a plan in place?
- I once ordered flowers online and saw that corporate policy was to "guarantee that all customer disputes will be solved within two business days." Under this policy, if flowers do not arrive on time--or do not arrive at all--the aggrieved customer is expected to sit around with mounting anger for up to two days. This is preposterous! It's only flowers! Overnight the person a new order on the spot--and at no charge!