It’s an unfortunate fact that bloggers/consumers/people rarely write about their good experiences when it comes to service. Maybe it’s because we expect it should be the norm. Maybe it’s because we don’t get good service that often. Maybe it’s just that bad service motivates us to write in that single moment of frustration in the hope we’ll cause corrective action?

I’m no consumer activist by any stretch, but I still chuckle about an old ABSA bank charges post of mine which still continues to be the third Google search result after the bank’s own official site. To this day, it sends my blog quite a bit of traffic and I’m sure it’s played a small part in its own way in influencing public perception. Interestingly, no response from the bank has been forthcoming either publicly or privately over it (I’m still a client there).

But this isn’t a post about bad service. It’s about a great experience I had with a local online shop, Stop Shop. I recently bought an LCD/DVD panel for my car because I noticed they had some pretty good deals (and pretty good SEO too) and I needed to replace my old car radio. Isabel decided to use it as a piggy bank, inserting coins in the CD slot that blew all the circuits.

I was suspicious at first of Stopshop because their prices weren’t bad, I hadn’t heard of them, or heard of anyone that had used them. But the professionalĀ appearanceĀ of the site and presence of telephone and email contact details persuaded me otherwise.

The first unit I bought arrived promptly. I installed it. But I was disappointed at the quality of unit — more a manufacturing issue than an issue with the retailer. Contacting Stopshop I expected the usual adversarialĀ attitude because these units are not cheap and have to be shipped. Instead the online shop’s response was to help me search for a another unit, addressing the concerns I had raised with the first. They then offered to send me the second unit minus the cost of the first, saying I should hold on to both until I was satisfied.

When the newer unit arrived shortly after — believe it or not I now had new reservations about it, specifically around its size (I should have checked this before they sent it to me). I contacted StopShop and complained again, feeling things could now get really bad and they would lose patience with me (these units are not cheap to buy and ship). Again I got into defensive mode, but after a couple of polite calls and a few emails, they said I should take some time over the decision and offered to take back both units and give me my money back, no questions asked.

In the end the second unit did fit perfectly, and it looks great in my car. I feel like KIT has nothing on me. It’s a geek car. My car now talks to me when I’m over the speed limit (not sure that’s entirely a good thing), it charges and plays my iPhone, plays hundreds of MP3s via one DVD, allows me to plug in my harddrive via mini USB, has an SD card — and just looks awesome. It goes on: When I thanked them for their service and asked them how I go about returning the first unit I rejected, they then offered to sell it and refund me the extra installation costs I incurred.

You just don’t get this every day. And it inspired me to write about it. From my own limited dealings with them, if this is their general modus operandi with all consumers that use them — they deserve every success they get.

4 Responses to “Stopshop: A tale of exceptionally good service”
  1. Well I have tried over the last 2 days to contact stopshop via telephone, but only voicemail or rings to voicemail.

    The warm fuzzy feeling eluded me completely.

  2. Brilliant. If they’re really clever now, they will quickly run a special deal on “the one that matthew bought”. Let’s see.

  3. It’s always refreshing to read a post about great service, and I’m sure Stop Shop will be thrilled with the publicity too. Have you visited the getclosure compliments section? We are gradually building up a database of positive feedback to do exactly what you’ve just done with this post – give consumers a first-hand report to give them some direction, and to give customer centric suppliers the recognition they deserve.

  4. Thanx for the heads-up, Matt. Another reason why there is such a dearth of good-service stories is the truism that the IT industry is over-populated with really, REALLY bad service and appalling attitudes (there’s a secret superiority complex bedevilling the entire industry).

    People like me – the half-competent masses – look to boffins like you for guidance. Your comment about “influencing public perception” is too modest. I know of at least 30 people who have dumped Absa like so much rancid fish based on comments such as yours (and mine) + their own experiences of how bad Absa arrogance is.

    The age of the Militant Consumer is here and the sooner dealers, manufacturers and service providers wake up to that, the better.

    Stop Shop it is for me from now on! Thanx.

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