Thursday, December 15, 2011

Did I Say "I Love Shutterfly"? YES, But I'll Say It Again -- CUSTOMER SUPPORT DONE RIGHT!

I have been a loyal Shutterfly customer since 2001 -- that's 10 years of loyalty and tens of thousands of photos (literally), as well as thousands of dollars to Shutterfly. Here's one significant reason why -- I am always -- ALWAYS -- impressed with Shutterfly's customer support. And, how many times can any customer really say that about its service provider? Don't like the way your photo book was printed? Return it -- get your money back (or books reprinted for free) -- no questions asked. (Here is my post from two years ago praising Shutterfly's customer support and absolute commitment to its customers).

Here's my latest example. Each Xmas season I spend scores of hours making my annual photo book -- essentially my "greatest hits" photos that reflect highlights of the past year. These are my single most important gifts to my mother, my mother-in-law ... and to me and my family. We display these proudly in our home -- they are time-capsules -- slices of life -- always there at our fingertips.

Now, these photo books aren't necessarily cheap (even though the value to me is priceless). Since I pack them with 100 pages of photos (that is their max), they run well over $100 each. But, Shutterfly offers frequent discounts -- especially to long-time loyal customers. Accordingly, this year, I ordered my first book about 2 weeks ago -- using a 20% discount. Then, I ordered my second book about 3 days ago -- I found a 30% discount. But then, imagine my surprise when, almost immediately after ordering that second book, I received an email from Shutterfly informing me of a new limited 40% discount on photo books. So, I ordered my third photo book -- but also sent a note to Customer Support requesting that I receive the benefit of the full 40% discount on my first two books (which I thought would be the right thing to do).

First, not surprisingly, I received a response back expeditiously (within 24 hours, which is pretty good especially during this busy holiday season). And, second, importantly -- and not surprisingly -- the response indicated that I will receive a full monetary credit equaling the full 40% discount on my next order. Now, that is the right thing to do! And, I was quite sure that Shutterfly would do it (since they have always done the right thing in the past.)

And, that's the point -- Shutterfly always does the right thing. ALWAYS! And, they are a success because of this. Case in point -- I ordered one more photo book today -- the last day of the 40% offer; that's an incremental sale to you and me. And, I will order even more photo books in the next several days -- and will apply that credit. Yes, I saved lots of money as a result of Shutterfly's generous discounts. But, yes, Shutterfly got more money from me -- hundreds of dollars more. And, I never -- never -- think of leaving the service. That means I will continue to spend thousands of dollars into the future. As a result, everyone here is happy. I am spending more money with a smile on my face.

THAT is good business my friends. Bravo to Shutterfly! All of us who run companies can learn from their example.

(Separately, I am very proud that my company, Sorenson Media, is Shutterfly's video service partner; this is completely separate from me being a customer, since -- as indicated above -- I have been a Shutterfly customer for 10 years; but, that's another big reason why our business partnership is so satisfying; it is great to be in business with a company that cares so much about its customers -- and understands that THAT is smart business.)