When Customer Service Makes the Difference

Yesterday, I had one of those ARGGHHHH moments. I purchase my toner cartridges on Ebay – have done so with not one problem since 2004 – and yesterday, I ran out of toner.

No problem – opened the box (genuine Xerox toner, no compatibles for me!) sitting under my desk, opened the sealed foil pouch, took out the toner and shook it per the instructions.

And my right hand was covered in toner. No seal. Turns out, not a full toner cartridge either! After cleaning it up, I put it in the printer and the printer still blinked “Replace cartridge”.

So I went onto Ebay in search of the seller. Not to be found. Sick feeling in the pit of my stomach – after all, these cartridges are almost $200 apiece. Thank goodness they last a long time!

So I dug through my email messages and found the guy’s email address, cursing him all the while, sure I would never see a penny of my money nor a new cartridge.

Imagine my surprise when I got an email within minutes, explaining that he had had problems with that batch of cartridges, and would refund me my money immediately. Within 10 minutes of my initial email, the money was sitting in my PayPal account. I zipped onto Amazon, found a cartridge for the same price with only $4 for next day shipping, and now I’m happy as a clam.

I write this because it made me think about references and referrals. I can always get a good reference from a seller or buyer where the transaction was smooth as silk. It’s the ones where there were real challenges – canceled contracts, failed home inspections, low appraisals, fraudulent earnest money deposits – and my clients were still thrilled to give me a good reference after settlement. Because of the good communication, quick follow through and the experience to know what the options were.

Anyone can do a good job when no problems crop up. It’s the experience and knowledge from dealing with the inevitable challenges of a real estate transaction that set one agent apart from another. The newest agent in the world can buy an awesome website, turnkey marketing plan and have no clue what to do when things go south.

That toner seller knows that I will buy from him again in a heartbeat, not in spite of the toner problem, but because of the way he handled the problem.

Now if UPS would just get here!

(c) 2011 Susan Pruden

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