All great companies are alike, each average company is average in their own way. (To give credit where credit’s due, that’s this slacker’s take on the famous line from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.)
Why am I spouting off quotes about corporations so late in the evening? Because Lego.
I’ve been a fangirl of their colorful building blocks since I was eight-ish. When I was growing up, in pre-liberalization India, I considered myself lucky if I got my hands on a smallish set once in a while. I treasured them. If they were second to anything else I possessed back then, it could only be the books. I still have the Legos from my childhood, or my mom has them, stored away in a largish box. 30 or so years later, the pieces are still strong and they felt almost as new when my daughter played with them this summer.
Now, in current times and in my adopted country, there’s no dearth of Legos. So, I indulge. My collection is only limited by the space I have to store the monster trucks and buildings I so enjoy making. My daughter has inherited a love of Legos, or perhaps I’ve made sure she grows up loving Legos. I think that’s a misstatement. It’s less me and more the quality of the toy I think that has her admiration. I had gotten her other building materials including Meccano. But the stark difference in quality between Lego and everything else we try is just that — STARK. Which brings me back to the quote I started with: one thing all great companies have in common is quality. A Mac is so awesome because it’s just so dependable. Enough said.
Back to our love of Legos. Since we’re limited by the space, we restrict ourselves to buying two megasets every year, like the one in the picture. We (well, mostly the kiddo, I don’t get much access to the blocks nowadays) were in the middle of building it when we discovered a couple of missing pieces. We peeked under the furniture to make sure a piece or two weren’t hiding underneath. NADA! We looked through our stash of spare pieces. Nothing matched.
So, yesterday morning I decided to write to Lego customer service. I didn’t think they’d respond given I’d bought the set through another retailer and not through Lego.com like I usually do. But I sent in the request for the pieces anyway. Before the day was over I got a response–they were looking into it. The daughter, who had been worried sick thinking about how her crane would remain unfinished, was ecstatic to receive a response. This morning, the pieces were shipped out already. My daughter did a happy dance and I was floored.
Another thing great companies have in common–customer service. I have known plenty of megacorps that need prodding with ten emails before they even look into an issue. And here was Lego, sending over three measly pieces without even asking for a proof of purchase. There’s something to be said about that.
And there’s plenty to be learned from that. One chief takeaway–it doesn’t take much to get that elusive customer loyalty, it’s only a dollar-and-a-half and some savvy business sense. They didn’t need our loyalty as much, we were already fans. But now, with one wee little gesture they’ve made superfans out of us, for life.