I was looking around at the Lee Valley site and came across this page i have never seen before.
Well i started to read some of the letters especially looking at the comlaints.
Then came across this debate between a member of the public and Mr Leonard Lee on the lever cap on a block plane and lever caps in general fitted by Record or Stanley.
The one that finally did it for me was this one. Not only did the customer get sent a new one. he got a great explanation and the boss man took the returned one home and tested it. Whats more he replied and further more sent it on to the manufacturer to make sure it dont happen again.
There is something about a company making tools where it privately owned and the owner is a keen tool guy and takes a hands on interest in the company. Just like Ron Hock or Lie Neilson or many others i am not mentioning.
But Lee Valley sure gets top marks from me for their entire way of doing things. Its hard not to like a store that is trully committed to customer service in every way possible. Right down to their drive by pick up. Where you can order online, they send you an email to tell you your goods have been picked and processed and all you do is stop by go to a different entrance, mention your name, sign and leave with your goods. And they understand that there might be something additional you want and will go out of their way to help you there and then.
So why is it so hard for the corporate stores to do the same. They employ the same people. Sell much the same or similar product tools. Why can a trip to Home Depot not be the same as a trip to Lee Valley. What is so hard to copy.
And what takes the cake at Lee Valley is a sign in the store that says something like " We want you to be happy with your purchase. So if you get this item home and after some time find it just isnt what you want or working out bring it back and we will give you your money back"
No complicated tons of fine print. Just simply doing what they say they will even when its to their disadvantage.
And usually a Lee Valley special is just that trully special. Its not going to come around again.
Another point is they provide a range of seminars at their stores but did you know all the proceeds from the seminars goes towards charity.
Man it must be great to work for a company like this. You can never be in conflict with your own values. Just do it right and treat customers like well customers should be treated to get their support.
Finally through the recession they held on to all their staff by cutting back in other areas. I know this from first hand correspondence with Robin Lee.
So what do you think makes a great woodworking store? Whats your favorite and why?