I was doing my presentation Customer Service: From Weak to WOW! yesterday, talking about how to deal with unhappy customers. Someone brought up the question...
"But what if there is a problem with the product and the manufacturer won't back you up?"
I answered that I have taken a loss on products a number of times to make the customer happy. The only difference is that I did not look at it as a loss of money. I looked at it as an opportunity to be her hero. I looked at is an opportunity to be helpful, to make her smile, to turn her from unhappy into evangelical.
Do you know how much it costs to turn one customer from unhappy into evangelical?
Better to ask, how much more will it cost if you don't?
The losses from that transaction are not losses. They are advertising expenses. Think of it that way and you will never hesitate in doing the right thing.
PS Yes, I have then dropped a vendor for refusing to back me up. But that is a whole different story.