Customer Service Fit for a Queen


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crown Customer Service Fit for a QueenE-gads, yikes, OMG, gasp…my FitBit is broken!

In the last year, I’ve grown to love my FitBit. For those of you who aren’t aware of what a FitBit is, it’s like a pedometer on steroids. It tracks my steps, tracks my sleep length and quality, synchs with my PC, analyzes my food calories and nutrients, and allows me to compete with myself and my friends. Basically, it’s my personal coach and keeps me on a healthy track. So, you can imagine my dismay when I discovered it was broken. Although it still does the job it’s supposed to, the case is cracked at the top and I know it’s only a matter of time until it’s, “Sayonara, Fitty.” I bought it last June. Was it under warranty? Would I need to buy a new one?

Last night I sent off a photo and my receipt to FitBit to ask what I should do. The next morning I received the following message from Arlyn at the FitBit Team:

“I’m very sorry about your Fitbit. We would be happy to give you a complimentary replacement. In exchange, may we ask you to tell us a bit about your experience with Fitbit? We are trying to understand how people use and interact with Fitbit so that we can create a better product. We would also like to hear any other feedback you might have, both positive, negative, and feature requests.

You should be receiving a shipping label that you can print out from FedEx to ship the defective model back along with the accessories and while you are doing that we will be shipping a replacement unit out to you to minimize the time you go without a Fitbit.

Again we are sincerely sorry for the inconvenience and please let us know if you have any further questions.”

According to John Goodman of TARP fame in his recent book Strategic Customer Service, “In almost all business sectors, a customer who complains and is satisfied by the resolution of his complaint is actually 30 percent more loyal than a noncomplainer and 50 percent more loyal than a complainer who remains dissatisfied.”Add me to your sample size, John. I didn’t even complain, just questioned, and I now love FitBit even more than I did before the darn thing broke. Why?

  1. They didn’t make me wrong. Although I indicated in my e-mail that I hadn’t dropped it or stepped on it, I’m sure they have some questions about what might have happened and how I might have contributed. But they didn’t go there.
  2. They asked me about myself. Who’s more important than me? OK, maybe you. But you get the idea. I’m happy to tell them all about my FitBit use, what I like, and what I think they can do better and all that. Good step in building rapport! I was so happy that someone cared, I gave them all my phone numbers in case they wanted more information. I’m now a totally loyal customer nd want to help them be the best they can be.
  3. They trusted me. They didn’t wait to get my damaged FitBit back before they sent me a new one. Is that a risk? Sure. Some percentage of the people might not return theirs. But being trusted by a company is so rare these days, that it really makes them stand out. I feel like an adult—like I’m a good person who deserves to be trusted. I am, but it’s nice to be validated—and by a company no less!

Take a look at your own return policy. Does it elicit loyalty like this? Does it make your customer want to tell the world about your company and how great it is? If not, why not?

So Arlyn, you go girl. You and your company done good. OK…gotta go pack up my FitBit so I can get it back tomorrow, just like you’re trusting me to do.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peggy Carlaw
Peggy Carlaw is the founder of Impact Learning Systems. Impact helps companies develop and implement customer service strategies to improve the customer experience. Their consulting services and training programs help organizations create a customer-focused culture while producing measurable business results. Peggy is also the author of three books published by McGraw-Hill including Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees.


  1. A few weeks ago I read an interesting article about this subject. According to a studies about customer effort, published in the Harvard Business Review, issue july/august 2010, by the Customer Contact Council, there is no relation between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. An interesting point. But there is a relation between low customer effort and customer loyalty. Customer effort means, how much time/trouble it takes for a customer to get an issue solved. It appears that FitBit, does a great job in keeping its customers loyal, by making it easy to keep on using the product and starting up dialogs with customers.

  2. My colleague, Monica Postell, wrote a post about the customer effort score at Afterwards, we were talking about loyalty. Some studies tie loyalty directly to customer satisfaction; others show no correlation. My guess is that the different results have to do with the questions that are asked in the customer satisfaction survey.

    Monica was musing that perhaps we’re just less loyal than previous generations. Her father drove a Ford…forever. My folks favored Mercury. I was a Volvo girl until the Prius came along. Since I believe that people buy based on emotion and backfill with logic, it makes sense that loyalty may be driven in part by demographics and psychographics in addition to customer satisfaction, customer effort, etc.

    I’ve been examining my own loyalty ever since that article came out in the Harvard Business Review. What I can report is that while I love my FitBit to death and am currently extremely loyal, I would bail in a heartbeat if better technology came along (read I see myself as an early adopter of technology). I love my Prius but with my next car purchase could be talked into something even more energy efficient (read save the planet and don’t forget the cool factor). Yes, customer effort plays a part in keeping me loyal, but only until something that fits my values and emotions better come along. Then I’m willing to travel into uncharted waters and risk poor service. So loyal? Yes, for awhile.


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