Sunday, September 26, 2010

FINALLY - Good Customer Service

After a few bad experiences with big companies and their so-called customer service (see examples here and here), I wanted to share a few good experiences.
Sure Starbucks can squeeze out little coffee shops in a blink of an eye, but there's a part of me that likes that no matter where I go, the menu will always be familiar and I know that my coffee will come with a hint of charred beans.

Back to the compliment. I have had a Starbucks card for about six years that I recharge every month. The only thing I had earned from it was the occasional "cute card" comment from a barista. Then, a few months ago, I got an email saying I had earned GOLD CARD STATUS! At first, I thought this meant I could knock coffee out of hipsters hands, but then I read the fine print. Free birthday drink, free drink after every 15 drinks. They had me at free.

Then came the sadness: despite changing my address online and with an operator, they mailed the card to my old address - where I haven't lived for more than three and a half years. I emailed customer service and was told that if I didn't receive the card in six to eight weeks, to call and they'd send a replacement. Of course the card never made it to the right address (forwarding expired a long time ago). So, I called. I talked to a super nice guy who corrected the address and said not only would I receive my new gold card, I would also receive a few free coffees! And he was true to his word.
Gold card and two free drinks! Now, if only I could figure out how to transfer my previous card to this one. I want to show off my gold card. After all, I have earned it!

My next good experience has come from one of my favorite book store chains.
I have had two excellent experiences with Borders in the last couple of weeks. One involves a book that I pre-ordered months ago at an incredible discount. I had no idea that they checked the credit card monthly to make sure it was still valid. It wouldn't have been a problem, except I got a new debit card which had a new number (which reminded me of the bills I pay automatically that all had to be updated - grrr). When I called customer service, I was told they canceled the order because I did not call in three days, which the email did not say I needed to do. The customer service lady decided to place my order again, with the discount and wave the shipping to make things right. So, now, I'll get this book in November at an even better price!

Two weeks ago, I ordered two books (I fell off my book embargo a couple of weeks ago even though my nightstand pile of books is now dangerously high). I didn't need two books, but I ordered one that I wanted that just happened to be Oprah's book selection and came at a super discount. Then, a little note came up saying that if I spent a few dollars more, I'd qualify for free shipping. So, I ordered one off my wish list. The books shipped separately, so I was excited when I found the two packages. The first one I opened was the Oprah pick. The second was nowhere near what it should have been. A close look at the shipping order revealed it was sent from buy.com and was meant for a woman in Virginia. I can only imagine how disappointed she'll be when she doesn't get her diet and exercise journal. I know I was disappointed to see that in the package. So, I called customer service. It's kind of a pain that they have to send me a packing envelope to send that bad book back. But, they're shipping my original order (after crediting my account, then charging me for my book - which I actually bought with a discount code and was applied) with free shipping!

I know shipping is just a couple of dollars, but any company that emails me discounts weekly and will right a wrong by taking off even more has a special place in my heart - close to the chocolate and wine. Oh, and the cheese.

Hats off to these big companies for not only listening to their customers, but also doing all the right things to keep me coming back. XOXO Starbucks & Borders!
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