This month, I was working on a project with a colleague and went to purchase some supplies. I bought eight, 10-count packages of DVD covers from Office Max (it was my first time there). Since we needed more than they had in stock, I ordered another 12 packs from the clerk.
The project I was working on took a quick turn and no sooner than I received a call indicating that the remaining DVD covers arrived from the Office Max warehouse, my partner decided to skip the DVD sleeves altogether. Now, ordinarily I have no qualms about returning unused merchandise, but I felt bad that they had shipped 12 more units to the store at my request. And, now, I was flaking out and I didn't need them. I was genuinely sorry and went back to the store prepared for the clerk to be annoyed with me.
After a minute with the cashier, he passed me off to someone else because his shift had ended. It was then that I had the pleasure of meeting Hernan, the store manager. I said, "I feel so bad that you guys went through the hassle of ordering these for me and shipping them here, and now I don't need them." Hernan's response? "Don't feel bad. Feel happy. It's a great day and we're all lucky to be alive." Wow. I was stunned.
Although the two returns took longer than I expected, I didn't mind in the least. Hernan was a pleasure to talk with and he was the nicest retail associate that I've ever met. As he scanned my 20 packets, he said hello to a customer walking by and asked him how his vacation was. The customer smiled and responded.
Hernan restored my faith in a lot of ways that day. There is still good customer service out there and, even in a big city like Los Angeles, there are folks who make a point to know their customers. From this point forward, I'm an Office Max fan and it's all due to Hernan.
Think you can't gain a loyal customer by losing a sale? Think again.