In the 90s and into the noughties, we were a major player in supplying fibre optic installation equipment.
Our customers (from London, via the Japanese manufacturer) were the telephone, cable TV and our sub-distributors in Europe.
I joined as an engineer/bench technician.
Then I was asked to be a Sales Engineer and Training Engineer and answer the phone for Customer Support.
Admittedly, I/we didn't have to deal with millions of end-user consumers, just a few thousand.
But there was an Ethos, which I continued, of the Customer is always Right and to keep them happy at all costs.
We were also in the era of Empowerment instead of scripts and Computer says No.
I bugged our Japanese Managing Director with day to day questions on charegable items and other stuff. (my Line Manager was often absent, useless and wanted to charge for everything.
Our MD was more long term "Get the Business. Keep it. Don't worry about the cost, within reason. The profits will follow"
One time I visited a customer for a Sales Demo.
My old'ish car wouldn't start afterwards .Knackered battery and I had to phone back to his office to get a push start. Very embarassing.
My MD heard about this (coleagues were laughing)
"Bob, you Must have Company Car. You have to be able to visit customers wherever"
I'm not greedy and didn;t want to cause unnecessary expense so said my car was generally fine, I just needed a new battery.
He insisted I had a Company Car. My first, I was secretly pleased.
I ended up as Customer Service Manager.
What did we do on the way?
Telephone calls to our Service Dept answered quickly, by me, my assistant or an engineer.No computerised waiting software for us.
Might be a routine enquiry or customer with problems
Twice we had our expensive, high tech, high precision machines dropped out of helicopters.
Once onto an oil rig, then a cab;e laing ship.
Several that got driven into rivers or otherwise flash flooded.
Or they just went wrong due to harsh environment.
Side of the road is dirty and vans are involved in accidents/shunts.
Microswitches etc don't like those.
Or they just went wrong/needed repair servicing.
We didn't charge for site visits, or training our big customers, sub-distributors.
And we didn't charge for silly, cheap stuff.
Lost or broke your mains lead or charger/external power supply?
Here you are or we'll stick one in a Jiffy bag and Post or Fedex it to you.
Even Courier a whole working 20kg Replacement Courtesy Machine to you.
Expensive stuff, we should have charged for, We often didn't bother.
We would chat and they would say they were in the market for several new machines as soon as they could get Purchase Order approval.
We got a great reputation and very high Market Share.
We didn't shaft them and they didn't shaft us.
(For some technical customers I told the Secret Menu and how to open the machine and make simple workarounds. My Line Manager and our Japanese liaisons were worried about that. They wanted Warranty is Void on everything and return machine to us in London.)
Borrocks to that. We ate the sharp end were on the side of the customer.
Our Company benefitted in the long run.