Half eaten bags of potato chips, slightly used bedroom sets, and an assortment of exercise equipment teetering on push-carts are all a common sight. A parade of big-screen TVs inch their way to the return counter one week after the Super Bowl. One of the reasons we all love Costco is their wonderful return policy. Their customer service staff is so happy to issue a full refund for anything from wilted lettuce to soiled dog beds. Why have they made no-questions-asked refunds their company policy? Because it makes every customer a happy customer; and in the long run, it is profitable.
We’ve all been to that “other store” where you bring back a shirt with the tag still attached and want to exchange it for the correct size. You stand in line for fifteen minutes to talk to a stoney-faced representative whose main contribution to society is sarcasm mixed with boredom. And of course your exchange is refused because a thread is loose on the button, or you’re told, “Those shirts have been moved to clearance”. That’s when we swear, and then we swear we’ll never do business with them again.
On a recent trip to Hobby Lobby, I asked a young sales assistant to direct me to a particular department. He immediately got down off his ladder, and walked me to the aisle I needed. The smile never left his face as he led me to the item. He didn’t call to another associate or point in the direction I needed to go. He stopped what he was doing and made me feel like the most important customer in the store.
It got me thinking how healthy our marriages can be if we provide “customer service” like Hobby Lobby, for our spouse. If she wants something to be different, how ready am I to agree? Maybe there is something about me that “isn’t working” for my wife. Can she come to me and tell me? Does she have to make an iron-clad case; or am I willing to listen to understand her perspective? When she tells me, do I respond like the Costco Returns clerk or do I respond like that other store? Do I stonewall her, or do I give her service with a smile? Maybe she needs help with something. Do I drop what I am doing, and go help her? Or do I heave a sigh and point and yell my answer?
They say the best marriages in the world are made when two servants are in love. Customer service in marriage is not a right we can insist on, but is a great benefit when it is provided to us. A little bit of good customer service can go a long way in a marriage. When we treat our spouse like the most important customer in the store, they’ll likely want to “do business” with us regularly.