So I’ve often depended on “the kindness of others” for my daily bread. Tips were most of what I lived on growing up. So not only did I learn a thing or two about customer service in order to RECEIVE good tips, but I also became a very insistent customer when it came to receiving said customer service. And because I’m all about rewarding the companies who do it right (as well as decrying the companies THAT SUCK IT UP), here’s some stuff I’ve run into lately.
The Apple Store – I have been a longtime Mac person, but I am an especially loved Mac person as was given a new MacBook for my birthday, mere months before Tony was born. This would be my second Mac laptop, and while I was unnecessarily rough on the first one, I treated this second one like gold. I cleaned it regularly, made sure it was protected during travel, and I never ate around it. Seriously. When I turned it on a couple of weeks ago and only a flashing folder icon greeted me, my heart sank. My AppleCare had expired JUST TWO MONTHS PRIOR and we just didn’t have enough money to replace a laptop. I sullenly drug the machine into the Apple Store after the Genius Bar squeezed me in (awesome service #1), and My Tech Cameron looked over the machine and said, “I hate to ask you this.. but.. do you ever back up your hard-drive?” I DON’T, BECAUSE THIS WASN’T SUPPOSED TO DIE ON ME. I know that’s stupid. I get it. NOW. “Yeah, your hard drive is shot,” he said. “But let me see what I can do.” Within minutes he said, “This appears to be a known issue with this model, so we’re going to upgrade your hard drive for you and see if we can recover anything. No cost to you, of course.” I had my machine back in two hours and everything was right with the world. And with that, I became a lifelong Mac customer. (And I made sure to send in a great thank you to the corporate office about the local team.)
Suzuki – I drive a 2006 Suzuki Forenza. At one time, our local area was flooded with Suzukis, and we actually housed the #1 dealer in the nation based on sales. So you can imagine that we’ve got quite a few of my cars running around. About February of this year, my transmission started acting funky and my check engine light came on. Well, come to find out that all of our local dealerships closed. YAY. So I took it to the “recommended” repair shop and wait. And prayed. Sure enough, there were two problems: the range sensor (that controlled the transmission) had gone out .. and the throttle body needed replacing. We fixed the range sensor immediately .. to the tune of $500 .. but decided to hold off on the throttle body, since that was going to run us about $800. Again.. warranty was expired. A quick search online brought up MILLIONS of hits with “suzuki forenza throttle body”, highlighting that many, MANY customers had experienced the same thing.. before we’d even put 50K miles on the car. Suzuki refuses to acknowledge it as a defect, and as a result, we’re still saving up to get the damn car fixed. Service FAIL.
Starbucks – Today, I had a horrible morning. Was not in a good mood at all. I had missed Bootcamp due to an exceptionally early meeting that had been scheduled at the request of the person I was meeting, and then they didn’t show. To say I was a little peeved would put it mildly. I finally gave in to my sour mood around ten-thirty a.m., noting that it was National Eat Anything You Want Day, and heading to Starbucks for something full-fat with whipped cream and possibly shaved unicorns. When I pulled into the window, the guy at the window recognized me from Southern Fried Snark and asked about Bootcamp. I wish I was kidding. I told him about my crappy day, not really expecting him to care or whatever, and HE TALKED ME INTO EATING OATMEAL INSTEAD. Not only that, but he provided several packages of goodies with which to throw in the oatmeal… more than typically are included for the price. Then he made a cold drink for me that he swears is under 150 calories but is his own favorite drink and it’s AWESOME and I’m eating a better lunch than what I had planned. Great, GREAT customer service.
Francesca’s – After our Girls’ Night Out a couple of weeks back, Ronda and I wandered around a local shopping center, since we had no children for the first time since ever and we could actually shop in peace. She asked if we could visit this little boutique (I had no idea it’s a chain) because she never gets to go in when she has the girls, and I happily obliged. It’s a cute little gift/clothing shop, with kitschy stuff and little knick-knacks. We walked in at 8:05, and the minute we walked in, we were immediately glared at by the two associates working. While we were perusing the jewelry and marveling at some of the precious stuff, they turned off the music in the store. Then they cut off the lights in the front of the store. Alarmed, I asked one associate, “What time do you close?” and was informed that they closed at 9:00. A FULL FREAKIN’ HOUR AWAY. Then they locked the doors to the store with us still in there, and it couldn’t have been any later than 8:15 at this point. Every where we went, everything we touched, the associates hovered and immediately moved back into it’s proper place as we left the area. It was THE most rude behavior I’ve witnessed in a LONG time, and we left without purchasing a thing.. even though we had both found handfuls of things we wanted to take home. We felt like Pretty Woman, without the Richard Gere.
Okay, your turn! Tell me about a really great experience or a really awful one that you’ve had with customer service lately!