Customer Service Lessons From A Pellet Gun and a Broken Window

Photo by mommimia
Photo by mommimia

Recently I got a lesson about business and customer service from someone I know.  He didn’t know he was giving me a lesson and to be honest, I didn’t either at the time.  You see, he had been having a groundhog problem in his backyard for a while so he got a BB gun.  The BB gun wasn’t powerful enough to kill the groundhogs. He just wanted to try to persuade the critters to move on.  One of the groundhog holes was outside his bathroom window so he kept the gun in there and if he saw one by the hole he would raise the window and shoot out through the window.

One day he saw a groundhog by the hole so he grabbed the BB gun, cocked it,  and lined up the shot. He just knew that this groundhog was going to get the understanding now that he is not welcome here and move on.  He slowly pulled the trigger and………. Well, just as he pulled the trigger he realized that he hadn’t opened the window.  Yep, the BB cracked the window. Just a small crack and it was obvious that it was shot from inside the house, not from outside because it was a double pane window and the piece of glass on the outside wasn’t broken. Just the inside pane.

Now here’s where the customer service and business lesson comes in.

A few years earlier he had had all the windows replaced in the house.  One of this companies big selling points is their lifetime guarantee.  Free replacement for life.  No most lifetime guarantees are for manufacturing defects and labor mistakes, not for mistakes made by the purchaser, and my friend knew this.  Knowing that he needed to have the glass replaced anyway he called the company and told them the glass was broken, he didn’t say how it was broken.  They told him to look on the window and give them the number that was stamped on it.  That told them what size glass to bring out.

A few days later the man from the company came out to replace the glass.  My friend had the checkbook in his pocket because he just knew he would have to pay for this. The window rep came in, looked at the window and said “Looks like this was shot with a BB gun.”  My friend said “Yep.”  The rep ran his finger across the hole in the glass and said “This was shot from the inside.”  Again my friend said “Yep.”  With that the Window rep proceeded to remove and replace the glass in the window.  When the rep was finished my friend said “Looks great. What do I owe you?”  The Rep said “A lifetime guarantee is a lifetime guarantee. No Charge.”

Now they could have easily charged my friend for the new window and been well in their right to do so. The broken glass was neither a manufacturing defect or an issue with installation but they didn’t and why do you think they did that?  Since that day my friend has told this story many times to friends, relatives, and acquaintances. I don’t know how many of the people he told decided to get replacement windows from this company after hearing the story, if any did, but even if only one person had replacement windows put in their hows because of this story it more than paid for that one free glass replacement.

The lesson here is don’t try to get every nickel and dime you can from your customers.  If you do they will never have anything good to say about you.  They will most likely only have bad things to say about you, if your really lucky they won’t say anything at all. But give your customer more than they are expecting.  Don’t charge them for something they really should be charged for then they will tell everyone they meet and word of mouth advertising is the best advertising your can get.

Now, if you want to look into getting replacement windows the company is Window World.  Check them out.  This is not an affiliate link. I get no money from them at all.  I just think they did an unbelievable job and gave my friend great customer service.

Have a great customer service story? Leave a comment below and tell me about it.