Had a great experience recently — just had to share.

I found myself in need of a pair of shoes for a particular event.  I had 48 hours to procure, and I’ve learned my lesson about ordering shoes via mail (I don’t).  But the shoes I needed are in limited supply locally.  I went by a local store I thought may have them.  They did, albeit not in my size.  We tried a half size smaller in wides.  Close, but no.  An employee in the store who wasn’t even waiting on me offered that there were some on the mannequin that possibly would work.  He crawled through the display and took them off the model to try.  Still no joy.  They checked the computer and found a store across town that had them in stock — promised arrival “tomorrow”.  Great, says I, and rested easy that night.

The following day I called to find out when they’d arrive — “After 1 when the truck comes.”  I call back at 3 and they tell me that one of the clerks is personally driving across town to get them because the truck didn’t come.  Since I’m out and about, a better solution is to just go by the store.  The clerk then alerts me that he’s having trouble finding the inventory in the computer and is working on it.  He takes my number (the entire dialog to this point has been done without me so much as giving them my initials — no name, number, or first-born child).  Two minutes later he calls back, confirming he can’t find the shoes.  He then offers, without me asking, a place he says will definitely have then, even though they are a competitor.  When I have trouble finding it on my phone/map, I call back and he gives better information (he told me “street” when he meant “town“).  Turns out it wasn’t as convenient as I thought.  But he called back ANOTHER time to give me the specific address and phone number, which he apparently looked up (on company time).

None of his service was asked for.  He wasn’t even the employee who originally worked with me (I don’t know how their commission structure works, but that looks good, and is unexpected).  I got at least three phone calls with info I wanted/needed and though he ultimately didn’t have what I needed, he got a ton of good will and a very positive impression in the deal.  I’ve not had follow-up surveys and wasn’t asked to rate him a ‘5’ when corporate calls. I’ll go back.

Compare that to what I just experienced.  I went online to order a product for The Boy for Christmas.  The reviews all stunk and said that the company was shipping the wrong cables with the product.  I call to ask if it’s been worked out (latest reviews were three weeks old).  I can’t get a human through their voice system.  I leave a message on their “contact us” page and the resulting page says “Thank you for contacting The Company that Doesn’t Want to Hear From You. You will receive an email regarding your question within a few days.

A few days!  For an EMAIL response?  It takes nanoseconds.  The only reason you’d promise a few days’ response is because you don’t want to respond.  I doubt I’ll ever hear from them.  And it looks like they’ll never hear from me.  Maybe I should stick to shoes.

Great customer service is unexpected, gives the customer what they need/want, and does not come with strings attached.

Story conclusion: I found shoes at a store going out of business that almost fit and I survived the event at 1/3 the cost I expected.