Monday, August 31, 2009

With All This Talk Of Customer Service ...

A couple of weeks ago, I had an experience that gave me the idea for a post on Customer Service.

I didn't get around to it.

It would have been more of an introduction to a future post, so when it didn't materialize, I just figured I'd mention it in the upcoming one.

Last week, there was an incident that has caused quite a Bad Customer Service discussion and heated debate on the Internet and throughout the Blogsphere.

It was that event, that made me realize my Customer Service story SHOULD be told.

Short Pre-Story - Last week

One of THE most famous bloggers is Heather Armstrong, DOOCE.

She has over 1 million followers on Twitter. She is #26 on Forbes list of Most Influential Women In Media.

Oh sure. I say Famous Blogger, and all the non-bloggers eyes glaze over.

I mention she's on the same list as Oprah, Ellen, Diane Sawyer etc., or that she's been on Oprah, The Today Show, and soon to be coming up on Dr Phil, or that she's written a New Your Times best seller ...

... and NOW I have their attention.

She bought a Maytag washing machine (with warranty). It broke a week later.

After multiple repairs and weeks later, she received NO customer service from them.

After going all the 'normal routes' for assistance, she finally turned to Twitter.

And got their attention.

And a phone call from executive management at Whirlpool.

Her washer is now fixed.

For those interested, I'd highly recommend reading the whole story HERE.

She's a great/funny writer, and it's an interesting read.

One of the heated debates circulating around this event, is whether or not she pulled the 'power & influence & don't you know who I am' card(s), to get the problem solved immediately.

And if she did, should she have?

I missed the whole thing.

I'm not on Twitter.

But personally, (at the risk of pissing off the DOOCE haters), I say MORE POWER TO HER!

We've all been there.

We've all had the shitty customer service. The nasty, no help, insolent, I don't care Chick/Dude on the other end of the phone.

I'm sure many of us have said on more than one occasion "Let me speak to your manager!"

Although there are many branches to the 'She shouldn't have used Twitter because ' tree, one that jumped out at me, was the comments/posts/threads claiming the ONLY reason she received immediate assistance, AND a call from the Whirlpool VP is BECAUSE she's an 'Internet Celebrity'.


Most likely.

But ya know what? Not ONLY celebrities can get good or immediate customer service from a 'higher up' in an organization.

I wouldn't recommend it in EVERY situation. But sometimes, yes, I DO believe it's OK to go right to the top if need be.

There have only been two moments in my life where I’ve gone over a supervisor’s head.

Two instances where I’ve contacted the ‘head honcho’ of a corporation. LARGE corporations.

And you know what? Me, the lowly unknown blogger/person, got service.



And I’m not even #26!

I just needed the RIGHT person to hear my story. The person who actually had the power to FIX it. And it was fixed.


You don't have to be a 'celebrity' to get a response from a VP or President. You just have to be able to hunt down their email address/phone number and take it upon yourself to get out there and CONTACT THEM.

Granted, what they DO with your correspondance, well that's a crap shoot. But you at least have to put yourself out there, and tell them your story.

And then, there was the event almost two weeks ago, that made me want to post my most recent GOOD customer service experience!

Back in July, I received an email from a marketing company, asking me if I'd be interested in receiving and reviewing a book for parents.

101 Questions Kids Really Ask, And The Answers They Need To Know.

When I saw the subtitle ...

I said SURE!

I knew the guy who sits in front of me at work, would be disappointed my next 'free sample' to review wouldn't be chocolate I could share at the office, but I was excited about it ;-)

So, I waited.

And waited.

I've received these free products from marketing companies before. And it's happened once before that I had to contact them, because I hadn't received the item after a couple of weeks.

Once I followed up, I received it within a couple of days.

When I hadn't received the book after three weeks, I sent an email off to the marketing rep.

The next day, I received a response.

Not from the marketing rep, not a representative from Healthy Edudynamics, the company who produced the book, as part of their educational package, A Time To Talk.

No, I received an email from the author, and president/ceo of the company, Mary H. Halter.

From her blackberry.

Now that, I thought was pretty cool.

My follow up email landed on the marketing desk, which was forwarded to the Healthy Edudynamics people, where it ended up in the hands of the author.

She didn't have to send me a personal reply. But she did.

And I received my book a couple of days later.

I'm not sure if it was the original book that was sent and just happened to arrive when it did, or if another one was sent immediately after my conversation with the author.

I don't know.

But the fact the author took it upon herself to contact me directly?

THAT, I thought was great customer service.

Will that make a difference in my upcoming review of the book?


But I'm saying it here, and now, with all this talk of Customer Service.

Sometimes, you DO get good service.

And sometimes, you don't have to be #26 to be heard.



Sue said...

Good on ya!

I don't think there's anything wrong with going to the top. The reason celebrities get more attention is because more people will hear about the negative stuff, and companies want to avoid that. But they also look out for the little customers, too.

Kim's Korner said...

Thanks Sue :-)

I don't often get bad customer service to the point of going over someone's head. Thankfully. But that's not to say I won't again if I feel it's warranted.

As a matter of fact, I sent that post about 'incentives for single moms to work' to the highest ranking email addresses from those organizations I could find.

I've heard back from all three. Three very different replies.

There will most likely be a follow up post to that one shortly ;-)