Lately, the advertising and marketing blogs are abuzz with articles about customer service. It seems that businesses are coming to the realization that no amount of cool branding or advertising will help a company that doesn't take care of its customers. I know, duh.
Recently I've had two very positive customer service experiences. The first was my trip to the dentist on Tuesday afternoon. I'd chipped a tooth at lunchtime the previous day, and I was pleased to be able to get in so quickly. The quickness didn't end there: only about 20 minutes passed between the time I sat down in the chair and the time I left with a new filling. In that time, the hygienist took an x-ray, the dentist greeted me, looked at my tooth, drew me a diagram of what the filling would look like, gave me a painless Novocaine shot, removed my old filling, put in a new one, and sent me on my way with a nice sample-sized tube of toothpaste for my desk drawer. I still had time to stop and get a sandwich before I had to be back at work.
That evening, my husband and I visited an Apple Store with our Mac Pro in tow. Our appointment with an Apple Genius (that's what Apple calls their service desk folks) was at 6:40 and we were there for more than an hour as he talked through the digital recording problems he's been having. My husband was once a Mac tech, so he'd already gone above and beyond what most consumers would do to try to fix the problem.
While my husband and his Genius talked over the Mac Pro's problems, I listened to the other Genius talking her customer through a very basic user issue. Both Geniuses were extremely professional, respectful and patient, and fluidly adjusted the level of tech talk to correspond with each customer's level of proficiency.
I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that one of the techs will be able to figure out what's wrong with the Mac Pro, but I must say that our experience in dropping off the computer left me feeling optimistic.
Of course, then there are the negative customer service experiences I've had recently. For example, a lunch at a local Thai restaurant that dragged on for almost an hour and a half (at lunchtime!), apparently due to low staffing. The staff members who were on hand didn't seem at all sensitive to the amount of time we'd waited for everything from drinks to our check. As much as I love the food there, I may never go back and eat in the dining room again. (Carryout seemed to go much more smoothly, we noticed.)
Sometimes it's less about customer service and more about value. After we left the Apple Store the other night, my husband and I went to PF Chang's for dinner. After we ate and paid, we discussed it and decided that another Chinese restaurant we frequent is just as good, gives you more food, and is considerably cheaper. As my husband put it, "I feel like I paid for an extra dinner that I didn't even get to eat."
The other restaurant doesn't have quite as nice of an atmosphere, but the service is good and they give you little extras like marinated cucumbers as an appetizer and orange slices for dessert. When you weigh all of that, it looks like we just had our last PF Chang's meal.
Do you have any good or bad customer service stories to share? Is there a place you frequent or avoid simply because of the way you've been treated when you go there?