You Tell Me: Good Customer Service Stories

It’s no secret I’ve had a run of bad customer service experiences lately. First DirecTV and then LunarPages. Because I believe customers should know what they’re getting into before they do businesses with companies like these, I blogged my experiences. And I’m glad I did.

However, on my LunarPages post, I received the following comment from Gypsie, and she’s right on:

If you have Business of Shame, you need to have a Hall of Fame for great customer service. I had terrific customer service from Farberware.

While it’s good to point out businesses that don’t provide good customer service, it’s also useful to know which companies go the extra mile to please their customers. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to pay more for a product, if a company takes good care of their customers. Sometimes you do truly get what you pay for, and sometimes the frugal thing to do is to pay more.

So today I want to recognize those companies that do well in the area of customer service.

My most recent great customer service experience came from my local UPS Store. I have a box at the UPS Store #4176 (the one behind Costco, for you local readers) that I use for business.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to mail out a gift card to the winner of a giveaway on Frugal Coast2Coast. I placed the gift card in a homemade card, and placed the addressed card in a plastic sleeve. I’ve mailed cards like this many times before, so I did it without a second thought. I put a stamp on the card, put my UPS box address as the return address, and mailed it from my home mailbox.

A week later, I checked my UPS box for business mail, and the card had been returned for insufficient postage. The UPS Store employee (I’m going to have to get his name, so I can update this post with it) was confused as to why the card came back. Keep in mind he had no obligation to work with me on this, because I had not mailed the card from his store, and I didn’t send it via UPS.

Still, the employee weighed the card to make sure it wasn’t too heavy. It wasn’t. Then he took the time to call the post office to find out why it was sent back. It turns out there was one spot on the homemade card that was thick enough to bump the card into the next postage class. (There was a little bow on the card). Anyway, I owed 21 cents.

I had left my purse in the car, so I told the employee I’d run out to my car to get a quarter, so I could mail the card. He said not to worry about it, and that they’d take care of the postage.

This wasn’t a huge thing, yet it made me feel like the employees at the UPS Store really value their customers and will got the extra mile to take care of them. You can bet if I hear that someone in my area is looking at getting some sort of post office box, I will point them to the UPS Store!

So let’s hear it! What are your great experiences with customer service? Let’s give those companies some recognition!

Photo by zyphbear.



Author

By , on Apr 10, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{19 Comments}

  1. Great to hear a good apple still exists . . .

  2. Alex:

    That’s not my website, its the company that had good service, its called Simply Green Solutions (http://www.simplygreensolutions.com/). I work for a boutique design/ad agency and our clients aren’t very appreciative of deadlines or staying on schedule with a normal timeline for projects. To ensure their customers reuse and ‘Go Green’ they wanted Reusable Bags printed and Simply Green Solutions was hired, bags were ordered and art was placed on the bags. All was going according to plan until a boss’s boss’s boss needed the bags 5 minutes ago. Not only did Simply Green Solutions calmly help us air-ship as cheaply as possible, but they even sent extra bags for the client’s employees too – part of their mantra to help us all ‘go green’. Client happy.

    Then it seemed the client misplaced the boxes of bags, and they went missing. Internal shipping issue, heads were gonna roll, and after our buddy at Simply Green Solutions followed up to ensure everything was ok – I told him what happened. He said, “…let me see if there’s anything I can do…”, and before I could exhale, another shipment was in rush production with free air shipping, because they are just good people. Needless to say the word of mouth business probably made up for it soon after, but when you don’t have to ask for it, and companies like Simply Green Solutions do more than what is expected, it makes life a whole lot better.

  3. I had a great experience at our local Dick’s Sporting Goods last year. We bought a new treadmill at one of their stores, and as part of the deal we thought a cord to connect an MP3 player to the built in speaker should have been included. It turns out that it wasn’t included, but when i went back into the store to talk to them about it, they just gave me the cord off of one of their display units. They didn’t have to do that, but they did.

    Go Dick’s!

  4. TStrump:

    I guess customer service isn’t dead, after all.
    I recently went to a glass shop to get a small chip on my windshield repaired.
    They guy ended up not charging me because it was such a small job.
    He was friendly and I will definitely go back if I need more work done.

  5. Angie:

    Good idea. I like to give credit when it is due.

    Verizon and AT&T have been very good to work with. I recently spoke with customer reps with both companies to optimize my accounts. Am now saving upwards of $70/mo now because of the time they took to tend to my needs.

  6. We LOVE Les Schwab! We have been Les Schwab customers for years and have always, I mean ALWAYS gotten great service! We buy our tires there and the fix and rotate for free! Once we needed our struts replaced, they gave us an estimate that was lower than all the other local estimates. (I called the only other local places.) Then on top of that, the actual price was $45 less than their estimate! Woohoo!

    We recommend Les Schwab to anyone who has one nearby!

  7. Molly:

    Crayola and Fisher Price.

    My sister routinely buys their art supplies and toys because they stand behind them. For instance, the purple marker completely broke when my niece pressed a bit too hard. Crayola sent free coupons for a new set of markers and crayons for her. Fisher Price – they fix everything! They’ll send you any part to a toy you break or lose.

  8. K:

    Another family member bought a bottle of salad dressing that needs to be refrigerated. I unpacked it and put it in the pantry not thinking about it. The next morning I recalled what I did and phoned the 800 number on the package to ask it it was still safe to use as it was in the house but an unheated room. She advised against it which I knew to be true. Why chance getting sick over a 5 dollar item. So I asked if they could send me some cents off coupons to use to purchase a new bottle. She took my info and when the coupon came it wasn’t a cent off coupon but a coupon for a FREE bottle…and not one but TWO coupons. And it really was my error in the first place. The company was Marie’s. http://www.maries.com/

  9. Rae:

    We ordered some items from Cafe Press, and one took a very long time to show up. My husband called to ask about it, and they shipped us another on that day. On top of that, they said that if the other arrived eventually, to keep it as their apology for the slow service. Way to be, Cafe Press!

  10. Anh:

    I had a great experience with Dell’s customer service. Last fall, I bought a new laptop for my wife from Dell. I was tracking the shipment, and it showed that it was delivered. When I got home that day, there was no box or UPS slip indicating that it was delivered to a neighbor. I checked the status again and the note indicated it was left on my porch. Calling UPS didn’t help much. All they could say was the box was delivered to my porch. I called Dell and explained my situation, and they said they will send out a replacement with next day shipping. I didn’t even have to hassle. We received the laptop in a couple of days, and are very happy with the laptop.

  11. What a great post–love the comments, too! I have one to share (sorry, it’s lengthy).

    I recently decided to invest in an electric Ice Cream Maker, and as a foodie & foodblogger, I wanted to purchase one of the better brands which usually runs around $60. I know, that’s a lot to me, too, BUT reviews by cooks on lower-priced models all said the dashers didn’t hold up, etc. ANYWAY… I went to researching prices on this product and found one on Amazon.com for under $40, but thought I’d give my local Lowe’s an opportunity to match the price (because they advertise that they will, which would save me shipping & handling). Here’s where it went a bit topsy-turvy. I called Lowes’ 800-number for cust svc, and they said it could be done, so I headed out to the local store. There, the customer service desk said it could NOT be done. I was disappointed, and figured somebody had it wrong–I just didn’t know whom. So I called the 800-number cust svc again, and they forwarded the issue to the local store’s manager. He called me within 24 hours and DID match the price–more than $20 off! He resolved the issue quickly and without making me feel as though I was being unreasonable, which was great!

  12. Corrinne:

    Redbox has great customer service. I had a problem returning a DVD so I was charged an extra night. It was only a dollar, and I’d used a free DVD code for the original night’s rental, so I didn’t expect them to do anything about it. I emailed just to let them know the kiosk was not accepting DVD returns. I got an email back within an hour, apologizing for the inconvience, thanking me for taking the time to let them know, assuring me a full refund (which then showed up on my card as promised) and even giving me a new free rental code.

    I love Redbox!

  13. Columbia Sportswear.

    I bought a sun hat on clearance at the end of the summer last year. After only a few months the stitching started to unravel and the top of the hat basically came off. All it took was one email to their customer service department and I had an offer of a brand new hat, no questions asked, no hassle with attempting to fix my first one, etc. Much more than I was expecting. And I love my new hat.

  14. Jill:

    1) Chase – switched over a credit card from WAMU and it was up and running 1 day. In addition, I have the option to auto-pay the FULL STATEMENT BALANCE – not something I usually see from credit cards who hope I will just pay the minimum!

    2) FedEx – I lost my wallet at airport security and was having it mailed to me. The sender accidentally picked a shipping class that would have the package arrive AFTER i boarded my return flight! It was supposed to be overnighted, and FedEx worked with me to change the service even after the package had already been picked up. They were VERY friendly and did not hesitate to pass me up the chain when I asked for a supervisor, as opposed to some customer service reps who get rude and say “well they can’t help you either.” The lower level people explained calmly that they were trying to follow the rules (whick ordinarily prevent such changes) while the higher level people understood the uniqueness of the situation and coordinated with the local FedEx team to rectify the situation.

  15. Netflix has awesome customer service. Recently, they had a problem with their computer system and SOME people had a delay in receiving movies. So Netflix gave everybody a discount for the days that were in question.

    I didn’t even have a delay in receiving my movies, but they gave me the discount too. This is just one Netflix example, I could give others.

    One other place that comes to mind that offers great customer service is Verizon Wireless. The employees there are always so helpful and polite. Whenever I’ve had any problems or questions, they have been johnny-on-the-spot to help me get everything worked out to my satisfaction.

  16. Joel:

    I recently lost a specialty Nut/bolt combination for a Gerber foldable saw that I use all the time around the house. I was hoping to find a way to get one – which included possibly buying one. I sent out the following e-mail to a generic sales@ address:

    Dear Sir or Maam,

    I have a Gator Exchange-A-Blade saw that I like very much… in fact it is my favorite saw. Unfortunately I recently lost the screw and nut that hold the blade in place. I am unable to use the saw, and because of the specialty nature of these parts, I’m unable to replace them at a local hardware store. I was curious if the screw + nut are available separately or can be replaced in any way.

    Thank you for your time and consideration, and thank you for making great products!

    To my surprize, the very next day I had a response + they sent me replacements free of charge. I am thrilled with the level of customer service that gerber (gerbergear.com) provides + will definately purhase furture knives and oudoor gear from them.

  17. A couple of months ago, I went out on a fast food hunt in order to feed my hungry brood. The Man Beast wanted The Colonel (that’s KFC to rest of you). We have two restaurants.

    The first one I went to, I received horrible customer service. Two of the crew members were YELLING at each other across the store!

    The second store I went to was a wonderful experience. I ordered strips and not having any made up, they apologized profusely and told me there would be a seven minute wait. Knowing that my Man Beast was jonesin’ for some chicken, I said I’d wait.

    The girl behind the counter then asks me, “Do you want something to drink?” I arch my eyebrow at her. “It’s free, ” she says.

    There was just something about the simple offer of a free drink – someone taking the initiative to go out of her way to make my inconvenience a bit more bearable.

    That KFC will continue to get my service.

    Our new Hardee’s that just opened up recently offers excellent customer service. They are fast, friendly, and their store is immaculate.

  18. Christina:

    I purchase tons of toys from Melissa & Doug, I just love the quality. I purchased a wooden pots & pans set, and within a month, the paint was chipping off. I called Melissa & Doug and spoke with a very friendly lady who promised to call me back. She did the next day, and told me that they would send us a toy for my daughter for her kitchen, since they were out of the pots & pans set. It made me feel that they really care what their customers think.

  19. Two years ago, our baby monitor started shorting out shortly after a power outage. We have no idea if the two were connected but it seemed like it might be. I called Fischer Price and they sent me a new handset to fix the problem. I called them back when we discovered it worked and they sent me another handset since it was a dual unit. All of this was free of charge and no questions asked. I was really impressed.

    Another company I’ve had good customer service from is Kidopotomus. I have their rubber placemat that is used for dining out. We loved it so much, we bought another one so there would always be one clean. The second one stained horribly so I emailed them just to let them know but not expecting anything. They sent me a replacement and told me how to clean them properly in order to avoid the stains that happen on certain colors of their placemats.

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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.

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