Empowerment – the ultimate feel-good feeling | Customer Service

 

Courtesy of gordon2208 via Flickr

Over the holidays I heard some wonderful heartwarming stories about customer service. If you are anything like me, you don’t believe there is any…anywhere.

We have been comparing internet/phone/cable costs and there isn’t much customer service in that line of business. The beloved husband spearheaded this project. There were many bad words caused by long phone queues and information that made no sense. We still have no answers as to what would be most economical for how we use these services.

With that experience under my belt (or perhaps my skin), I did my rounds of holiday cheer. Here are the stories I heard that warmed my heart:

Disney World – A friend with two children (around 6 and 8 years old) was in Florida visiting Disney World. Her sons had different interests. They tried to get on two different rides at different ends of the park only to find out the advanced ticketing wasn’t available. They then tried to see a show and the doors closed in front of them. So what did they do? Both boys started whimpering a bit. They had hoofed it all over the park only to see NOTHING! One of the Disney characters came up to her and asked if they weren’t having a wonderful Disney experience. She explained what had happened and the character took them to the front of the line and gave them some free lunch passes. They recovered their “Disney” spirit. There was a lot in it for Disney. Those folks spread the “Disney” spirit up here in Pennsylvania.

Another Disney story came from someone at the same luncheon who said her son lost one of his matchbox cars there. After engaging some help from the staff, they couldn’t find it. When they went back to their room there was a box of matchbox cars waiting for them.

Starbucks – Yeah, I am a big fan because of their customer service. If you don’t like a drink, they will make you something else. Today my home store was mobbed. (I slept in a bit.) I had to go inside because the drive-through was jammed. I was patiently waiting for my drink when one of the baristas yelled over, “the usual?” I said, “Yes” and within a minute I was on my way.

Zappos – Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would actually buy shoes on-line. I have weird feet – they are narrow with a bunion. That means I take a narrow size….sometimes. Four years ago, a friend at work recommended Zappos and I have been in love ever since. There are no illusions – you typically pay full price and there are no sales but there is no shipping charge and returns are free. Customer service is actually….well, helpful! They have a lot of sizes and colors. They have a discount site — 6pm.com. If you can find something there you are gold. Very recently (like two days ago), I decided to get the ugly UGGs that everyone seems to wear. My feet get cold and this seemed like a good answer. I couldn’t find them locally.  Although they are outrageously expensive, everyone was sold out….except Zappos. I am sure they will be here any minute now!

There are some companies that I wish had empowered employees who could right wrongs on the spot — RCN (cable company) for one and Verizon (telephone company) for another. Maybe they are just too big.

Does anyone want to add to the naughty or nice list?

15 thoughts on “Empowerment – the ultimate feel-good feeling | Customer Service

  1. Great stories, Kate! So many times people just bitch about the bad service, rather than give a constructive comment or conversely won’t give a compliment if one is due. I try to put a smile on someones face especially if they are having a bad time, it really doesn’t hurt and who knows how it may have helped.

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    • I try to recognize people on the spot for good customer service. There is nothing like telling someone they are awesome to kick start their day. I had a fabulous experience today at DSW (shoe store) and I told them so.

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  2. Best Buy has the worst in-store customer service. The people who work there know nothing and don’t even pretend they do. Just one example: When I was computer shopping at Best Buy, I asked a salesperson how much a particular laptop cost, and he replied “I don’t know”–which would have been fine if he followed it up with “but I’ll find out.” Instead he just stood there stupidly.

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  3. I have noticed that at both Starbucks and Chick-fil-a, that I consistently received above-average customer service, where it seems the employees go out of their way to be pleasant and accommodating and friendly. I agree that customer service, or the lack thereof, can often make the difference between whether or not a place will earn my repeat business. Surprisingly, I would also have added my local Saturn dealership to the list, as their non-pressure sales staff and courteous service department earned very high marks with me … so much so, that I bought four different vehicles from that one dealership. Alas, Saturn as a brand did not survive, and although I was sad to see the dealership close, they still managed to earn high marks over the many years they were in business.

    On the naughty side, I have experienced so many negative episodes with our local cable company, (Time Warner Cable), that if they were the only cable company in town, I sincerely believe I would simply learn to do without. Not only have they lost my business for life, but whenever any friends or family are talking about cable companies, I never hesitate to share my negative experience in order to help them make an informed decision. Generally speaking, I have a strong dislike for any company that forces you to get lost in a maze of pre-recorded messages before you can actually reach a live person, or companies that put you on hold for an extended period of time and you are forced to listen to repetitive advertisements for their services while you wait for a live person. (TMobile, Verizon, etc).

    If I was a person who was starting a new business, the first rule of thumb would be making sure that customers feel appreciated, acknowledged, and satisfied with the experience. Customer service can go a very long way in building a strong customer base.

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    • I am right there with you. Sometimes it seems that friendly customer service was cut when the economy turned sour. I had heard good things about Saturn and we have a Subaru dealership locally that is top notch. No extended negotiating — best price on the first try, free car washes, good service. Consequently they do a great business. I will have to try Chick-fil-a. We have one locally but I never tried it. See what good CS can do!

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  4. Great post Kate! Love the stories. We had a great and most helpful guy at Best Buy yesterday. Name is Josh and he helped us choose a new laptop for hubbie. Wonderful service

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    • I have heard very mixed reviews on Best Buy. Guess it depends who you get or maybe even the specific store. Some store managers are more concerned about customer service than other. We have a local Office Depot that is great. The guys actually know something about computers.

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  5. I wish more companies would value customer service. It can make or break my willingness to return to that store or website. That said, I’ve had great customer service experiences with onlineshoes.com and Land’s End.

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    • Never used the shoe one but both Land’s End and L. L. Bean are wonderful! I like Amazon for customer service too. They are a local employer and some of the locals are not so fond of them.

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  6. On the “Nice” side. I recently had a failure of my Verizon system: My land line phone, my computer and my TV were out. I called on my cell and complained. They had a man at my door 8 the next morning. I surprisingly asked the R-Man why I got such prompt service. His coment was,”When I heard you were “dead in the water” I knew I had to come Pronto.” Thanks Verizon.

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