My Response to a Customer that Questioned My Employees’ Integrity

We recently received an email from one of our customers concerning his daughter’s iPhone which was rebroken. Our warranty policy does not cover phones that are dropped and broken again but we had a new employee working when he initially called us and he was told we would refix it for free. When he came in, the employee that actually helped him that day, a different employee, told him we don’t cover new damage. He was very upset and requested to speak to the owner.

That would be me.

Because of the confusion, I decided we’d make an exception and fix his phone again at no charge.

Then later that day he sent me a very legalistically worded email which included the following couple of sentences:

“I would question the integrity of a JCD employee who classified the fault in this way in order to justify billing me for this repair. Actually what I would encourage you to do is to institute a warranty that allows your customers to clearly understand what is and is not covered and to train your staff appropriately.”

I love our customers. I truly do. They are the entire reason we are in business and I never forget that.

But these comments really upset me. I gave it a couple of days, thought about it, and finally crafted the following response. I wanted to share it with the world so there will be no confusion about how I feel about my employees and why we do things the way we do at JCD Repair.

Some of our great team.
Some of our great team.

“Hi D__,

“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to respond to your email. I definitely appreciate your business, your honesty, and your feedback on our procedures.

“That said, any questioning of the integrity of our employees is unacceptable to me.

“We work hard to find and train great people. We also do our best to give them the tools to succeed and then trust them to do what is good and right for each other, our customers, and our business. We do that instead of putting in a lot of bureaucracy, rules, restrictions, and inflexible corporate policies.

“As consumers, we have all had that horribly frustrating experience when dealing with a company where we are told, ‘My hands are tied. It’s our company policy to do things this way.’ It’s infuriating as a customer.

“No one will ever be told that by any of our employees because we trust them to make decisions that best service all parties involved.

“Is that system perfect? No. When you empower an employee to make their own decisions, they will occasionally make the wrong decision. But in my experience (and if our Yelp reviews are to be believed – the vast majority of our customers’ experience), the right decision is made far more often than not.

“Again, I am sorry you disagreed with the decision that [our employee] made when you brought in your daughter’s iPhone the second time. I hope that my reversal of his decision and giving you a 100% refund on the second repair shows that we as a company are willing to admit mistakes and correct them.

“But I assure you that [our employee] is a person of incredible integrity. He just saw things differently than you in this case.

“Lastly, we won’t be instituting a lot of hard and fast regulations about how to treat customers. We will continue to stick with our one simple rule: Do what you think is right.

“Thanks again for your time and feedback and I hope this helps explain why we operate the way we do.”

2 thoughts on “My Response to a Customer that Questioned My Employees’ Integrity

  1. JimBo says:

    Outstanding response to a difficult situation.

    Mis-communications happen, mistakes get made, and, hopefully lessons get learned. One lost revenue opportunity to pay for a good lesson and think through your business values seems like a wise investment.

    BTW, in consideration of your customer, prior experience with bad actors can cause us to perceive mistakes as malfeasance. We’re locked and loaded and not always easy to disarm 🙂

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