Service recovery in 6 minutes

You may recall I blogged recently about the cycling brand Rapha, using it to illustrate the point that the only customer experience “thing” that really matters is how a brand makes you FEEL.

I had to do battle with Rapha recently. I bought something, returned it, and it took two web chats, two weeks and a phone call to get my refund. I also ordered something with my Father’s Day voucher from the kids which went through, and then three days later became out of stock so couldn’t be delivered. Getting the gift voucher refunded was tortuous!

These occurrences were unusual, but I was a bit miffed. During the course of a phone call to discuss all this, the lady from Rapha that I spoke to told me that they’d had all sorts of problems with returns recently because they’d changed warehouses and outsourced some of their fulfilment process to a new third party. I was left wondering why on earth they hadn’t flagged this up somewhere. A simple message along the lines of “we’re changing a few things behind the scenes so if you experience any difficulties please bear with us, and here’s a way to contact us to get things resolved” would have done the trick.

Now I don’t usually do this, but I really wanted to get some feedback to Rapha – so I guessed the CEOs email address and dropped him a note. I was polite, and pointed out that much as I love his brand, I’m afraid the returns service was completely up the chute, and that he probably knew this because the lady on the phone explained about the warehouses etc etc………

Within 6 minutes I got a reply:

Hi Mike

I’m so sorry you had to write this. Our communication through recent warehouse issues hasn’t been good enough. I’m copying Rob, our Customer operations director  – I’m sure he will be in touch. I hope we can recover your trust and admiration quickly!

Best regards


Simon Mottram
Chief Executive


Rob did indeed get in touch. He called me that afternoon and spent time explaining what had happened and acknowledged that they could have done much better. He reiterated apologies and thanked me for my custom and advocacy.

My golden rules of customer experience have always been:

  1. KNOW who your customers are
  2. Understand what your customers NEED
  3. Keep things SIMPLE
  4. If something goes wrong, OWN the problem

The speed with which Rapha owned my problem was superb and they made me FEEL like they were really sorry and they really valued my custom.

Fair play… restored.

August 1, 2019 6:44 pm

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