A Lesson on Customer Service: Do You Shine in Your Moments of Truth?

Last week, my brother bought a Playstation Network (PSN) card from our favorite video game store.

(Warning: There are a lot of video game nerd stuff in this post. After all, I came out of my mother’s womb with a controller on my hand!)

After telling the store attendant what he wanted, the store attendant handed him a piece of card board where the code was written. Including the payment and the preparation of the official receipt, the transaction lasted about three minutes. That was his first time buying a PSN card. It was very convenient.

When he got home, he excitedly scratched the card to reveal the code. Then, he turned on his Playstation Vita (Oh how we love video games!), logged in to the Playstation Store, and tried to redeem his code.

Then, the unthinkable happened. He got an error message while trying to redeem his code! His code was already redeemed by someone else! (There are “hackers” who use code generators to try to generate valid codes for the Playstation Store.)

Just imagine his disappointment when he couldn’t redeem the code! Because of his busy schedule at work, he was able to make time to buy a code at the store only after two weeks! When he finally bought one, that happened!

After trying for hours, he finally gave up. He contacted Sony representatives online to confirm that the code he bought was indeed redeemed by someone else. Sadly, it really was.

After that, he contacted the store where he bought the code to return it. After one day, the store finally replied telling him to bring back the PSN card to the store. 

After another day, we (Yeah, I know. I’m a good brother for accompanying him.) went to the store and the store attendant told us that it would take five to seven days for their company to verify that the code was indeed redeemed by someone else. They would give us a replacement card only after five to seven days. 

Including the five to seven days waiting time (As of today, we still don’t have the replacement card.), it would take a total of eight to ten days for our return and replacement to be finalized. It was very inconvenient.

While we understand that they were just following store and company policy, it was still very inconvenient. We also decided never to buy codes from them again. 

(Please note that they still remain as our favorite video game store! Overall, they still have the best service here in the Philippines when it comes to buying video game discs and consoles. We just don’t want to get PSN cards from them anymore.)

Customers usually go through sales transaction with a lot of ease. After all, it took my brother only three minutes to buy his PSN card! But, when it comes to returns, replacements, and complaints, it’s no longer as easy.

Most businesses try to improve their customer service for sales transactions, but not so much for returns, replacements, and complaints.

What they fail to realize is that returns, replacements, and complaints are bigger “Moments of Truth” for their companies than sales transactions. (Credit to Ken Blanchard for the term “Moment of Truth.”)

They are bigger opportunities for companies to show how much they care about their customers. They are better opportunities for them to show their customers that they care more about them than making a sale. 

In some cases, they are make or break opportunities to develop deeper and more lasting relationships with existing customers and to make new ones.

Overall, we are still very happy with how the store managed our return. The store attendant was very kind and accommodating. If she could, she probably had given us a replacement card right then and there! But, she had to follow company policies.

How about you? Can you apply this lesson in your business? Can you apply this in your work? Your not-so-straightforward tasks are bigger and better moments of truth than your business-as-usual tasks. These are the moments that can lead to better recognition in your job and more loyal customers for your business.

Can I make a suggestion? List down all your points of contact with your customers. List down all the opportunities for interaction with them: from sales and post-sales transactions to handling complaints, returns, replacements, and feedback. If you’re employed, list down all your interactions with the people who rely on you.

Shine in your moments of truth.


P.S. I recently started a new small business. That’s why I’ll start sharing lessons I learn on business here on the blog as well! I’m so excited! The best is yet to come indeed!