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August 21st, 2003

Good Customer Service

Since I spend a lot of time complaining about customer service, I thought I’d take today to mention three companies who did simple things to impress me, their customer, and to ensure an ongoing relationship.

First is DigiTraxx, a company that sells pro audio cards, MIDI devices, and software like Sound Forge. I ordered a sound card from them and an expensive piece of software. Within five minutes of placing the order, I realized I didn’t really want the software (it was a rare impulse buy I quickly felt “wrong” about), so I e-mailed customer service and asked if they could remove the product from the order before it shipped. I figured there might be a small fee for doing so. Within a couple hours, I received a response from the owner (sole employee?) that said it was no problem and he’d take care of it, no fee. It’s a simple thing he did, but it assured me there was a real person behind the order and that he was willing to adapt to a customer’s needs. It sucks that this simple kind of service has become so rare.

Second is Sport & Health Clubs, the gym that my wife and I belong to. Last month I lost my card and had to get a new one issued with a new number (side note: Tuesday I found my card in my house, it had slipped under a box). The major pain of getting a new credit card number is updating information with companies by whom you’re automatically billed. I was assured by the Citibank representative that my old number would continue to accept charges for another month or so, but by the next day existing charges were already being rejected. One of them was my monthly club dues. Unfortuantely, since Sport & Health is charged $15 by their credit card processor for rejected cards, they pass the fee along to the customer. Yesterday I called their sales office to see if they could send me a receipt for the $15 fee so that I could have Citibank reimburse me. Without my even asking, the service rep told me he’d waive the fee since the credit card company had told me what they did (“They always say that,” he said). Again, it’s a simple thing, waiving a $15 charge, but it was a customer-centric move that made my afternoon.

Lastly is Sound Professionals in New Jersey, purveyors of fine recording equipment. Over the span of a year, I e-mailed sporadically with customer service, asking them questions about certain microphones, mic preamps, and all that fun stuff. They were always prompt with their response, helpful with their answers, and even though they’re closed on weekends, they offered to make a special appointment with me one weekend when I was planning on being in NJ. For me, if you’re polite and provide the information I’ll need, I’ll spend more at your business than elsewhere that’s cheaper but less responsive.

Hats off to these three companies for making me happy. With an annoying person like me, that’s a hard thing to do.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Greg
DATE: Thursday August 21, 2003 -- 11:51:26 am
I went to a local bakery and most of the women behind the counter were cheerful and even chatted with the customers. They said please when asking for money and thank you at the end of the transaction

Baskin Robbins, usually poon in customer service, has a top notch employee in North Riverside. He also said please and thank you, asked specifically for the toppings that I wanted, and provided me with a cup of water.

You're right Ryan, these simple tasks that aren't all that much to ask for are in fact a lot to ask for. Shine on you crazy customer service diamonds!



FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday August 21, 2003 -- 5:45:09 pm
That's me! I am all about empowering and giving my employees the right words to use when providing great service. Some of them come to us with....less than stellar verbal skills, so when necessary, we tell them exactly what to say.

We had a tremendous customer compliment today from a woman who was "blown away" by how helpful we were to her and her son. That's my standard, and anything less embarasses me.

The surly cashiers at Giant rarely say thank you.....another reason to use the self-checkout lanes!



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday August 21, 2003 -- 6:40:28 pm
I agree with jk, with one exception: If I went to a store, like a Giant, and they were surly, I wouldn't shop there again. Period. Is it worth saving 20 cents here or there to get pissed off at the customer service? I don' t think so. There really is no middle ground for me when it comes to customer service. Just doing the little things to make my experience great ensures I'm coming back. At the pace that I'm getting pissed off at places for messing up stuff, though, I may have to move.



FROM: towinlovinit
DATE: Thursday August 21, 2003 -- 9:02:31 pm
I know that this might bring out the "pissed off" attitudes but:
As a heavy tow operator, customer service and skilled service are my motto. No matter whether I towed you cause you called me or whether the officer called for you. When you come to pick up your what-ever and call me those ugly names and throw stuff at me and give me the finger, I still say with a smile, that it was such a pleasure serving you today. And what about that extra mile I go even though you call and complain because I didn't go the 3rd mile for you. I get paid good and I need the business, but mostly I think that maybe you might be just having a very bad day and tomorrow if I see you on the street hopefully you will remember me as the person who gives good service no matter what. I meet so many people every day and can't remember who I was nice to and who I wasn't,.........SO, it just pays to be pleasant all the time. One rude remark ruins my day for 100 new customers because I might not get their business.



FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday August 21, 2003 -- 9:46:05 pm
You know what my problem is, Dave? Giant has everything I want with the exception of my ice cream, and I can get that close to work. The other stores are missing an item that I regularly purchase, so I am a slave to the Giant people. Ack! Giant people! And they keep giving me $1.50 or $3 coupons when I check out. And they are open 24/7. I know, I can't break free.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday August 21, 2003 -- 10:05:21 pm
towinlovinit -- I've been meaning to say this for a while: I imagine that you came to the site through my "I hate towing companies" Ping. I'm continually amazed that you stuck around even after some of the things I said about your industry (albeit three years ago). That's cool...



FROM: towinlovinit
DATE: Friday August 22, 2003 -- 12:52:07 am
Ryan

Actually, that story is how I did find the ping. But I am not offended and actually enjoy the ping. I am one of those tow operators that wants to make changes with the way folks view towing. I have driven the wheel-chair accessable 2 1/2 ton wrecker that you can look at on "Luxury Tow Van" website. If you want to read anything I have written, check out Itow.org. I'm there! And thanks for the compliment.



FROM: C.B
DATE: Sunday August 31, 2003 -- 1:00:33 pm
Well, being an old country boy I was taught as a kid to say mam, sir, and thank-you. If I forgot these words as a kid I was reminded very quickly. That taught me alot about business. Just by saying these few words will get you a sale. Some people treat you treat you very rude in some businesses and if you are like me I refuse to trade with them again.



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