In a household with three elementary age boys, it may not come as a surprise that we’re inundated with Legos. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could build an addition onto my house just using Legos.
My wife, however, threw me a curveball this year when she asked for a Lego set for Christmas. But not just any Lego set. She asked for the Central Perk set from the Friends television show. And when we gave it to her, she spent much of the afternoon on Christmas Day assembling it.
There was just one problem. When she got to the end of the project she discovered that she was missing one piece. It was Phoebe Buffay’s long, blond hair. In an effort to save the day, my kids dug a substitute wig out of their box of minifigs (the word for Lego people) — but it wasn’t the same.
Replacing Missing Parts
A few days later, not wanting to settle for an incomplete set, I headed to the Lego website to report the issue. Lo and behold, the moment you mouseover “Support” on the site, there’s a big heading for “Replacement Parts” right next to the “Contact Us” link. Upon clicking the link I was able to select “Missing Parts.”
After entering in the code for the lego set, I was presented with a list of all 1,000+ pieces. After a bit of scrolling, I found Phoebe’s hair and was quickly able to order it. A few days later, we received a small package in the mail from Lego and the Central Perk was finally complete! All of this at no additional charge.
What a great experience! For the remainder of this post, I want to highlight three things lego did right.
1. Offer a self-help solution for common issues
I suspect that Lego must regularly field requests for missing pieces — whether they were lost or damaged by the customer or errantly left out of the set at the factory. While I don’t know what percentage of their overall volume of customer interactions this makes up, it may very well be quite significant. And by allowing customers to quickly locate their set and browse the inventory of pieces, they potentially prevent many additional interactions with customers — saving their customer support staff to focus on more complex customer inquiries.
How often do you require customers to contact support just so someone can push a button? What would happen if you empowered customers to push that button themselves?
2. Put the self-help solution in a can’t miss location
When I navigated to the Lego website, I fully anticipated completing a support form describing the missing piece, and likely interacting with a well-meaning customer support agent to plead my case. And I still could have chosen to contact support — but the “Replacement Parts” button placed prominently right next to the link to contact support was all too enticing. You can devote a ton of time and resources to developing a thorough knowledgebase and other self-help tools, but if you don’t put it where customers can’t miss it, it may be all for naught.
Are you regularly evaluating how frequently customers are using self-service options versus contacting support for the same issues? What small adjustments can you make so self-service options are easier for customers to find?
3. Deliver in the promised time frame
After selecting the missing piece and completing a small form, I received an email confirming that Lego would review my request and ship the replacement piece. Sure enough, in a few days, we received Phoebe’s hair in the mail with a nice note from Lego. Why do I mention this part? It’s important to note that customers are more likely to continue to use your self-help resources if they actually work. For Lego, this worked wonderfully with minimal effort on my part.
Is the entire self-service process working at it should? This includes any human elements on the back end. If self-service doesn’t work reliably, don’t expect customers to use it.
As I conclude, the thing I love most about this experience was that I was able to solve my problem without interacting with a human. While I’m sure that, had I interacted with a person, it would have been a good experience, it likely would have required more time and effort on my part.
Think about your own experiences with other companies. How does your ability to self-serve and self-solve your issues impact your perception of that brand?
As someone who has done a lot of business with Lego and logged a significant chunk of time using their product, I’ve never been a bigger fan. Ideally, every set I purchase would be 100% complete — but if for some reason there’s an issue, I’m confident that Lego will make it right without requiring much effort from me.