My wife Mary bought a baby carrier the year Alexander was born: 2004.
It’s the kind that lets you wear your baby (or toddler) hands free on your body when you walk around.
The carrier was retired from use last year after our then 3 year old, Miranda, outgrew it.
It lasted through two (very large and still growing) children, traveled around the world (Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and back), and five trips to the shoemaker for repairs.
It’s tattered and torn.
Saying that it’s rough around the edges is putting it mildly.
Recently, when we were cleaning out the house, Mary found it, and talked about how hard it was to part with it.
It’s a relic of a very special time of our family.
Before parting with it, Mary went to the company’s website.
On the company’s home page, she read:
We pride ourselves on superior customer service and high quality products. Should you have any questions regarding the proper use of our products, or any other questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service department at: (xxx) xxx-xxxx
On the About page, she read:
We welcome customer comments and input. We receive many testimonials about the life changing stories parents have experienced with the baby Carrier. We value our customers, and respond to every inquiry we receive. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
There’s also a testimonial page, filled with glowing stories and pictures of parents and their happily carried babies.
Mary isn’t looking to buy a new carrier.
She just wanted to connect with the people who made a product to which we’re emotionally attached.
She dialed the customer service number.
After being on hold for a while, Mary finally got a live person. Mary explained,
Yes, I’ve had a carrier I bought in 2004, and it’s been around the world with us and our kids. It got so much use that we’ve had it mended numerous times at the shoemakers in town. I was wondering if you’d like some pictures of it, or a story about it for your website.
The Customer Service Rep answered in a cool monotone voice:
Well, we’ve made a lot of changes since you bought your model.
So, I guess you wouldn’t be interested in any photos or anything?
End of conversation.
Not a single question was asked of Mary.
Not a single acknowledgement was made of Mary.
Not a single shred of empathy for a customer who had taken time out of her day only to connect and thank you for your product.
Mary told me: When I got off of the phone, I was nearly in tears.
Does your customer service live up to your marketing?