Thursday, June 09, 2011

Customer Service: 3 good experiences (& 1 not)

I've talked several times about poor customer service...and how it's not only frustrating on that day because: 1) resolution, if you get it, takes too long and b) negative feelings linger and make you not want to patronize that company again if there's another option. I think if more companies beefed up the quality and ease of use of their customer service, sales would increase.

So today I'd like to mention 3 companies that recently provided great customer service.

1) Clog Kingdom
I'd tried on a pair of shoes in a store, but they didn't have my small size, plus Chicago's sales tax is one of the highest in the country. So I went online and found the same shoes here for less money and in more colors, plus no sales tax and free shipping.

I quickly placed my order. Too quickly...because when the confirmation email came, I realized I'd clicked the wrong size (European sizes can be a bit confusing--a 37 is a 6 and a 36 is a 5)...I'd chosen 35 (which is a 4) when I needed 36. The site offered free returns, but I didn't want to wait for the shoes, have to return them and reorder.

I couldn't find customer service info on how to change orders. But there was an email address for a guy named Jeff. I wrote and explained the situation.

Lo and behold, he called the next morning to make sure I knew what size I wanted because of how that designer runs.

2) American Airlines: I used miles for a trip. I needed to change my arrival date but was leery of the cost, red tape, or lack of available seats for miles. I called the number on the e-ticket and was transferred to the frequent flyer line (why they couldn't also list that number on the ticket, I don't know). Within 5 minutes, a very pleasant person had changed my flight. For free. A few weeks later, closer to the travel date, I needed to change my departure. Again I called, and within minutes got the flight I wanted. For free.

Impressive, easy, and makes me want to fly American the next time.

3) I wanted a fancy summer dress. I happened to be near the main Macy's. Unfortunately their dress department was unpleasant in both decor and merchandise display. The dresses were crammed together, and the quality made me miss Marshall Field's. Their petite selection also left a lot to be desired. I did by a cute sequined t-shirt for $14.85 reduced from $49. doubt I'll go there again for anything but casual clothes.

BCBG: Upon entering the Bucktown store, a friendly salesperson approached, asked what I was looking for, and helped me gather items in my size. Perhaps she was a bit overzealous in bringing extra things to try on, but she knew which items ran a little larger/smaller and helped me put outfits together. Almost everything I liked was available in my size, which is rare. I bought a dress.

Good customer service can reinforce or change your attitude toward a company and its products. Maybe some executives are too far removed from what happens in the field and should go on Undercover Boss and see how their customers are treated. Maybe they should implement best practices from companies where they recieve good service.

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