Remarkable Service Leads To Loyalty & Recommendation


There's a business in Bellevue where I've shopped for many years – probably close to twenty by now. A specialty store, Crystallia features fine china, crystal and collectables as headliners in its inventory. Most of my purchases have been made during Christmas seasons and are primarily ornaments and figurines that I enjoy adding to the collections of my children. I'm not one of Crystallia's biggest customers as my purchases seldom total more than a few hundred dollars in any year. Frankly, I wouldn't expect the people at Crystallia  to remember me from year to year - and yet they almost always do. I’m loyal to them as a result.

Wee Forrest Folk

Over the years, Crystallia has relocated from one of the regions most long-standing upscale shopping environments to the intimate second floor of a Main Street office building. Nearly all of their business has converted to online shopping. Each year, shortly after Thanksgiving, I go online and look for the ornaments I’d like to purchase and generate the transaction. To that point the process really couldn’t be less personal. It’s the way they designed it and it works. No problem.

Until something doesn't go as planned. This year the unexpected happened when my order, which I would be shipping with other packages to my daughter’s family in New Mexico, was late to arrive. I called Crystallia and was greeted by a man on the phone whose first words were, “Hello Rod. This is Robert. I’ll bet you're looking for your ornament.”

Wow! How did he put that together so quickly. I know all about caller ID and customer information systems, but for a small business that was really remarkable.

“Well yes I am,” I replied. There’s still plenty of time but I want to make sure that it’s on its way.”

Robert then explained that the manufacturer – a family owned craft business of artists – was falling behind due to the popularity of their collection. They had promised delivery within a day or two and when it arrives he would in turn ship the product directly to my daughters home at no additional expense. Robert even said he would gift wrap my purchase for me to make certain it arrived in the fashion that a Christmas gift should.

Another big wow! Robert and Crystallia continued to impress me and removed any anger or disappointment before it ever surfaced.

Believe it or not, none of this is the really amazing part.

Yesterday, I called Robert again and, as before, he answered the phone with my personalized greeting. After exchanging hello’s I asked him if my purchase had been shipped so that I didn’t have to worry about it. He said it would be on MY DOORSTEP when the UPS driver delivers the next day. Unfortunately, he’d forgotten that it wasn’t my doorstep where I needed it to go. In his hurry to please, he’d forgotten about the change and our plan to ship it directly to New Mexico.

So tonight, just a few hours after the box was delivered by UPS, Robert arrived at my front door to collect it and ship it again. That’s right. He left his business at closing and drove 15 miles to my house so he could pick up the item he’d wrapped and shipped to me the day before. All in the name of customer service.

“It was my mistake,” he said. “It’s up to me to make it right.”

Friends and family… Please do me a favor and check out Crystallia’s website the next time you are shopping for a gift. They are doing the right thing in the right way for their customers and truly care about creating experiences worth talking about.

Thank you Robert. I’ll be ordering again next year!

Crystallia - - 1-888-276-3822 (10-3 PM PST M-F)

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The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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