Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adventures in Customer Service

They Had Me at Reply
I've used  1-800-Pet Meds for a while now. I started when I was at the River House & going to the vet was an hour & a half round trip to pick up M&M's Deramaxx. It's been fast, convenient, & saved me time & money. I got an email yesterday from them about some soon-to-expire bonus points. Anyway, they personalized the email with this:  Millie doesn't want you to lose your loyalty credit.

I've never done this on a standard sales email, but I hit reply & wrote:

I doubt there's anyone there to read this, but reading this:

 Millie doesn't want you to lose your loyalty credit.
made me a bit sad. Millie died last month & I miss her very much. Maggie, however, is still with me. We will make an order soon. Thanks, Hali Chambers

They responded within the hour:  Hali, we are very sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved pet,  Millie.  We hope the memories will help you and your family through this difficult time. We have updated our files. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

They followed up with a sweet sympathy email. Who's a customer for life, now? I emailed & told them so.

Going Loco--I mean LOCAL
I know there are a bunch of protests going on about banks. Um, & being the non-activist, political type person, that's about all I know except what Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert tell me. But I do know this: my bank, BB&T starting slapping me with a $20-a-month "maintenance fee" withdrawn from my account. I called & they said it was because I didn't maintain a $4000-a-month balance in my checking account. I said to Eric, the guy I was talking to, "Eric, how many people do you know who maintain a $4000-a-month balance in their checking accounts?"  He said, "This is not about me personally, blah blah blah."   So we ended up switching to a different kind of account where I'm only paying $10 a month.  Oh, thank you, Darth Banker.

The reason I went with BB&T in the first place was that when I moved to the outskirts of Luray, VA 4 years ago, I wanted to have a bank I could keep and not have to switch when I eventually moved. I also liked the convenience of online banking. Since the move to civilization, and the Maintenance Fee Pillaging, I've been looking at other options. I found Central Bank of VA, 4 miles from my house. Local as local gets.The whole experience was like stepping into a game show. Friendly greetings (minus the clapping), & as I was opening my accounts I kept saying things like, "You mean I get free ______, too?"  No "maintenance fees," no hidden costs. My bank gal, Stephanie, was SO NICE.

You know all those businesses who try to convince you they care? You know the ones; with the crappy customer service but the shiny-happy people in all the TV ads. This is not them. People remember you for how you make them feel. As John Morgan says, "Always leave people in a better place than you found them."  As we continue to tippy-tap on our computers & communicate via electronics more than in person, it's nice to treated be as a person.  

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