Great Customer Service

I recently finished reading Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service.  I’ve been obsessing with Zingerman’s Bakehouse breads lately and I have a Zing BAKE! class on my schedule for later this month, so when I saw this book on the audiobook shelf at the Library, I jumped at the chance.

It was read by the author, Ari Weinzweig, who outrageously gave his office phone number out at the beginning, saying that anyone who had questions could just call his office to discuss. Talk about service!  Anyhow, he talked a lot about ways that good companies could give good service, and while I have forgotten the finer details of it, I do know that I know great service when I see it.  (Here’s a link to their 5 steps for dealing with a complaint, along with some of their other customer service mantras)

I wanted to call out and give examples of two companies that recently left me pleasantly surprised by their approach to customer service.

The first is Woot.com.  I had recently ordered a box of batteries. (Skynet is eating them for lunch.)  When I got the box, I opened it up to find that instead of 72 AA batteries, I had 72 AAA batteries. In all of my life, I don’t think I will use that many AAA batteries.  I wrote in to ask about an exchange, because I really did want those AAs.  I got a quick email acknowledging that my correct order was on its way.

A day or two later, Woot sent out the following email, presumably to all the customers who had purchased batteries during that particular sale.

Dear Battery Lover,

How many times have you gone to the store to buy AA batteries, picked up what you thought was the correct package, paid for it, taken it home… and only then noticed you bought the wrong freakin’ type? You always feel kinda dumb, right? Now imagine if you did that something like one thousand times in a row.

Which is our way of saying that yes, we DID finally notice that we sent you the wrong batteries. If you ordered AA you got AAA and vice versa. We’re the goofballs here and we’re sorry for the mistake. Now, let’s tell you how we’re makin’ it right.

FIRST: keep those batteries we sent you. Put ’em in your remote or your smoke detector or penlight or whatever. They’re yours now. Enjoy!

SECOND: Be aware we’re sending you the batteries you actually wanted, at no additional charge. They’re the ones you asked for, right? Of course you still want ’em!

And please, learn from our mistakes. Always count the number of A’s in your battery type. Always.

Apologetically,
Woot.com

Super awesome, right?  Here’s what they did right:
#1 – They acknowledged that there was a problem
#2 – They apologized sincerely and with a sense of humor
#3 – They made it right, and they made it easy. (I was ready to ship the AAAs back to them)

I have long loved Woot for the sense of humor that they bring to everything that they do.

The second example I wanted to share was the great way Nature Box handled my request to cancel my service.  Let me tell you right up front, I like Nature Box’s service. Basically, you sign up for a $20/month subscription and they send you a box of snacks each month. I felt like it was good value for money, and the snacks were tasty and healthy.  I decided ultimately that mye money was better spent on something else, but I highly recommend the service. (Try the Lemon Pucker Pistachios. You won’t regret it!)

Normally, you don’t praise a company for how they treat you when you cancel, but they did me right.  I knew that if I called they’d try to keep me subscribing, so I went the email route.  This is how it unfolded:

Dear Naturebox-
I’d like to cancel my subscription please and thank you. It is a lovely service, but I think at this time, my priorities lie elsewhere. I have enjoyed my time with you, and let me assure you, it’s not you, it’s me. 😉

Best-
Brady Emmett

Hi Brady,

Thanks so much for your message! I’m sad to hear that you want to cancel your NatureBox subscription

You have been a wonderful customer of ours for so long and I can’t explain how much we appreciate that! We miss you already just thinking about it. [yadda yadda… retention sales pitch deleted here – bpe]

Don’t feel bad if you are not interested, I really just wanted to let you know about this before you go. If you would rather part ways, let me down easy with a simple response to this email 😉

Thank you very much for all you have done for our company. If you have any questions, I am all ears. I really look forward to hearing from you soon!
Andrew

Andrew C.
Professional Snack Concierge since 2013

Hey Andrew-
I really think we should see other people. Maybe at some point in the future (I really liked the Lemon Pucker Pistachios. Those were good times.)
Let’s remember the good in the relationship. 😉

Thanks for cancelling my account!

Best-
Brady

Hi Brady,

Thanks for kind let down haha I speak for the entire NatureBox family when I say, I am sad to see you go 🙁 That being said, I’ve gone ahead and cancelled your subscription. We will not charge your card from this point forward and you should receive an email confirming this shortly.

Remembering the good times,
Andrew C.

I don’t know if you caught that, but my professional snack conceirge played along with me. He had a script, sure, and what kind of customer service rep doesn’t, but he broke out of it to respond directly to me and it honestly left me with a huge smile. If I didn’t have a rule about how many subscriptions I can have at any one time, I totally would have resubscribed right then and there. I still highly recommend it (If you want to try it out, this is my referral link: http://fbuy.me/MFds you get $10 off, and I get a $10 credit, which I will happily spend).

So, that’s how you do great customer service.  Have you had any good experiences with customer service? What about awful ones?

PS If you want a revelation, try Zingerman’s Chocolate Cherry bread. If you are family, and you come visit me, I will buy you some. 😀