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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!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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