Lightning Source is a provider of short-run and print-on-demand book publishing for small publishers like me. I’d researched dozens of short-run printers for my latest books, and decided on Lightning Source because of the many benefits they offer and their reasonable prices. Little did I know they’d also set themselves apart by their stellar service.
After an initial hiccup of not hearing back for months from a sales rep, even with my repeated follow ups, I finally got into their system. Publishers upload our books’ contents and covers with ease. My questions were always cheerfully answered by my client services representative Joan Williams. I’m sure she must have encountered my basic questions thousands of times, but she never sounded irritated.
But Lightning Source’s service blew me away when I needed proofs of my two latest books (Remarkable Customer Service…And Disservice and Grow Your Key Talent) to be sent to me in Brunei. I needed them to show at an HR Summit in Singapore, which was the next stop on my speaking tour. I chose to have them sent to Brunei instead of Singapore as I’d be there for 7 days and thought if UPS missed by a day or two I was most likely to get it there.
Lightning Source’s staff went above and beyond for me. Usually it takes a week or so to get a new book into their system and for a proof copy to be generated. I uploaded the documents 10 days before I left for Brunei thinking that would be plenty of time. Unfortunately, I made some mistakes which weren’t caught by the Lightning Source staff until a few days later. I had to fix them and reload the documents. The clock was ticking. All the documents were successfully uploaded only the day before I left!
The cost for shipping a proof copy is a standard $30/book. Since I was sure it would be more cost effective for me to have both books sent together in one package, I asked if this could be done. It was not how Lightning Source usually did things — they usually shipped a proof as soon as it is off the press and my books may be printed a few days apart. I was asking for a modification to their SOP, which I know in my own business is often asking for disaster.
I was also sure it would cost way more than that to ship to Brunei via UPS, Lightning Source’s shipper. But Joan couldn’t determine how much. She tried asking the shipping department, but they couldn’t help. I talked to Joan’s boss, Leah Charlton, who determined the fee would be the same, even to Brunei. Wow! Really? With such short notice? Yes. She also figured out how to send them together so one didn’t take days longer than the other. She coordinated everything, making my life much easier!
The books arrived during my Brunei stay. They looked great. I displayed them and took orders at the HR conference. I couldn’t have done it without the fabulous service of Leah, Joan and the other Lightning Source staffers.
- Do your people answer the same question they’ve heard millions of times with patience and pleasantness?
- Are your people able to accommodate unusual requests with grace?
- Are they resourceful in finding ways to get what the customer wants without incurring outrageous costs for the customer or your organization?
Download your copy of Rebecca’s two newest books, Remarkable Customer Service…And Disservice and Grow Your Key Talent. Order info in the left-hand column.