June 14, 2012

In Praise of Great Customer Service

When we first moved to Edmond I shopped at Albertsons. Lincoln and Lillie were both young and grocery shopping was a chore -- loading up the cart and trying to make it home to unload everything, and back then I didn't have much help carrying groceries in. One day after buying my groceries I came in carrying my plastic bags and one of the bags broke. A big bottle of barbeque sauce shattered all over the floor and everything else spilled out of the bag.  It was a mess and I was livid. I picked up the phone right away and called Albertsons to complain. This was totally uncharacteristic of me, but I was really irritated. When I talked to the manager I was shocked when he asked what all had been ruined and asked for my address so he could bring me replacements. He also told me to leave the mess and he would clean it up when he got here. About 15 minutes later he showed up with a bag full of groceries and his apologies. Again, I was completely shocked. Talk about great customer service! If I had had a blog back then I would have blogged about it.

All that to say: I suppose it's better to praise good customer service rather than to complain about the bad. There are times I get irritated when I go into a store and ask for help finding something and the clerk says something like, "Ummm, I'm not really sure if we have that. I don't think we do." So instead of complaining about those times, here are a few companies I've come across that have excellent customer service.

Zappos is an online store that is mostly known for selling shoes, but also sells purses, accessories, and clothing. The prices are always comparable to what you might pay in a store. I have ordered Christmas gifts from Zappos for several years. One reason I like Zappos is because shipping is free both ways. I know that if I have to return a gift I won't have to pay a lot for shipping. Last week when we were out on errands Mary Margaret found some tennis shoes that she had been wanting, but the store didn't have her size. The clerk said they should get a new shipment in tomorrow and we might check back. When we got home Mary Margaret decided to look online and found some at Zappos. I told her that even though it would take longer than if we went back to the store the next day that she should go ahead and order them because it would save me a trip.  So we placed our order with Zappos at about 4:45 on a Thursday afternoon, and her shoes came the next day before noon (and this was their free, standard shipping). That is the fastest I have ever received a package from them, but their free shipping is always super fast and returns are very easy. So if there is something you have been wanting to order, especially shoes, check to see if Zappos has it.

I also love Groupon. They have great deals and their customer service is top notch. I have bought several things from Groupon (mostly restaurant groupons), and from time to time I've had questions or concerns about certain things I have gotten. They are always quick about responding to e-mails and have always fixed whatever problem has come up. If you want to try Groupon, I just saw this morning that there's a Groupon to the Vintage Pearl -- pay $15 for $30 worth of merchandise. This is a great deal and you will love anything from Vintage Pearl.

Those are just a couple of places I have come across that are really easy to use and shop at. I'm all for someplace that can make things simple and easy.

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