Shaving is boring? Not when you’re customer-obsessive

Photo by Christoffer Engström on Unsplash

The avid reader of these posts (and whoever you are, you’re keeping a low profile) may have noticed the odd, obscure music reference creeping in to the titles. I think this week I’ve found the most obscure one and you’ll have to read to the end to find out what it is. (Cheap trick, I know, but it’s slightly better than calling this post Five Reasons Why Shaving Is Not Boring.)

Tales from the sharp end #3

I’m a frequent shaver, which is like being a frequent flyer but with fewer benefits and less jet-lag, and – bless – I seem to possess rather delicate skin (either that or I still haven’t got the hang of it after more than 40 years of practice). So when I find something that leaves me both clean-shaven and not bleeding all over a freshly-laundered shirt I’m happy. I’ve been a loyal King of Shaves customer for quite some time, mainly to thumb my nose at the might of Gillette, but also because they were cheaper. They also introduced a handy subscription service to keep me in blades a few years ago – cheaper and more convenient than trotting round the shops trying to find a pack.

I was disappointed to learn a few weeks ago that the 4-blade razor that I had been using was being discontinued owing to a problem with the blade supplier, but pleased to hear that the ‘Retro 4’ replacement model would be sent to me to try out. This kind of obsessive customer care gets me pretty excited (and, if you’re still with me, it will only get better so stay with it).

In each shave there is a philosophy*

Not quite that retro…

A suitably retro-looking razor duly arrived in the post and I set about using it immediately. A few shaves later my face was looking like I’d suddenly taken up a particularly sadistic martial art. Meanwhile King of Shaves duly emailed me, keen to hear my views on their product. A few days ago I posted the review – a pretty damning one-star (very much a minority view it should be said) – and, soon after, I received an automated email saying

“This is just the computer responding to let you know we have received your email and Emma, Michelle, Wendy, Jane, Andy, Karen or one of the other customer care agents will be reviewing it shortly.

Your enquiry is important to us and we endeavour to respond by the end of the next working day.”

Ten minutes later, a further email arrived to let me know that Emma had responded to my review and would be escalating this to see if they could help. The following day, I received an email offering me a free KOS 5 as an alternative, and today I had a follow up to say the new razor was on its way.

My loyalty to King of Shaves is pretty flimsy and I had already taken out a subscription to new-kid-on-the-block Harry’s since their free trial kit was quite impressive as is their apparent concern for my shaving satisfaction (via some cutesy emails). However, I’m willing to go into a head-to-head shave-off – hopefully less painful than that sounds – to give King of Shaves a second chance.

Why is this important?

There are two points to emphasise here:

  • This is a great example of customer service for what seems like a low-value transaction, since the razors are not exactly luxury goods. Clearly what King of Shaves value is the relationship – and the lifetime value that comes with it – and invest in a team who can spend time in email conversations with errant customers and nay-sayers like me.
  • This is not wholly a customer experience issue: my experience of the replacement product was poor but the company’s recovery was a good experience. In an outcome-focused approach my desired outcome is cut-free shaving and hassle-free supply of shaving goods, so the product itself is a major part of that journey.

Focusing too much on the customer experience blinds us to the overall relationship with customers – and products, pricing and so forth are a massive part of that equation. I’ll return to that point in future posts.

Postscript

Shaving is Boring is a track from the much-loved (by me at least) 70s prog-jazz cult band Hatfield and The North’s first album. I’ve never tried shaving to it though…

* Apparently Somerset Maugham once said this

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