I recently had the displeasure of dealing with a marble (and marble) company in Toronto who not only have very poor quality workmanship, they back it up with even worse customer service! It is rare to find a company that remains in business and can be so bad at everything … maybe I just got unlucky! I particularly liked their website messages … “our dedication to our customer’s needs and the focus on producing quality products in a timely manner has propelled us. blah blah blah” AND “Stone counters made by<name withheld because I’m a business owner too>are guaranteed to be of the finest workmanship and quality available anywhere.” I would beg to differ!! You say that crater in my counter top was just normal … I think NOT!
In my experience it is more normal that a company is good at one or the other … (a) they have a great product or service, but are lacking in the customer service; or (b) they are very good at customer service but not so great on the product/service side.
I wrote a blog entry some time ago about how Superior Execution can actually be a great Strategy!
I have also read on many occasions how great customer service can be a great differentiator from your competition. We all know high profile examples of how that has worked … consider the customer experience walking into an Apple store versus the alternatives. Many years ago Lexus distinguished itself from competition with a superior customer experience on the service side … and people bought because of that.
Great companies have great execution AND great customer service (Apple might be a good example?).
As a consumer I would suggest that I will buy great products that have poor customer service … but I will not buy inferior products that have great customer service!
If you have to spend your investment dollars on one or the other, then get your product/service right first! Then QUICKLY work on your customer service.
In the meantime if you need new counter tops in Toronto I can tell you where NOT to go!