I’ve been inspired by LEGO's turnaround over the past decade. From the edge to the dizziest heights of corporate achievement. Clarity of purpose, creativity, brand management, consumer engagement…the list goes on. However, I have also begun to find my eyebrow rising over the RRP of some sets. Basic sets at astronomical prices. Frankly speaking, very, very cheeky. LEGO is expensive. Very expensive.
For Christmas Santa brought me the LEGO Star Wars UCS Slave 1. That's it in the header.
This may not be a very meaningful gift to most, but if you like LEGO and you like Star Wars, this is present Nirvana. It even has a limited edition Han Solo in carbonite and a Bespin Guard that is only available with this set. I’m probably over-sharing.
In the 40 odd years I have been collecting LEGO I have never had a piece missing. The production line miracle that makes this possible boggles the mind. My faith that the piece was always there, somewhere, has been unshakable - just like a Jedi Padawan in training I would recite in my mind: “I’ll find the piece and the piece is with me” and invariably there it was.
I have now passed this mystic faith in the power of the brick to materialise to my son. When he can’t find a piece he simply calls for me and before I am within a few metres there it is. Found.
So, imagine the utter disbelief in my household when a piece actually was missing! LEGO is packed in small bags with corners that tiny pieces can sometimes hide in…but no. A piece was absolutely missing. Saddened and tested I went to my box of spare bits and found a replacement part and carried on with the build.
But, alas, it soon became apparent the entire bag was skee-whiff. Odd pieces that were the right colour and in some cases shape but not in the right quantities. Duplicate pieces from other bags. A ragtag of bricks that had no place in my build. These were not the bricks I was looking for. Indeed, I had a bad feeling about this (sorry).
And this is bag 12 of 13. Maybe no more than 15 minutes from completion of a build that had taken four hours. There is a specific kind of rising anxiety that consumes you in this situation. Of course, it doesn’t actually matter in the scheme of things, and is most definitely a first world problem of the First Order, but it is really, really, REALLY annoying. Especially when you’re so very near the finish of a model you’ve coveted for the last two years. Just look at the picture...it's just rubbish without the side panels that were supposed to be the contents of bag 12.
Now highly emotional, I got on the internet…lego.com/uk… spoke to a Chabot (that, after the algorithm corrupted, became a lovely lady called Sylvie – I think) and within 3 minutes I had received a confirmation email that Bag 12 of set 75060 would be despatched imminently. There were no questions asked and lots of empathy. Categorically the best customer service I have ever received from anyone and it was from my favourite brand committing the ultimate sin.
LEGO collectors are the most passionate of brand advocates and are a little like children in many ways – as of course they never actually did grow up. Here’s a firm that understands implicitly who its customers are and has implemented the right practices, processes and most importantly training to ensure that the people who do that most important marketing activation – word of mouth - love them even more when they do make a monumental balls-up.
You don’t get customer service like that in the real world too often. You just don't.
The real reason I love LEGO is that I am now happy to accept a slightly higher premium knowing that the service I am about to receive will make me truly grateful.
And another thing…the plural of LEGO is LEGO not LEGOS. That is the name of Nigeria’s largest city spelt incorrectly.