Customer Service Stories

Customer Service Stories

  1. Cat Donnelly of PurelyPets.com gives us two customer service stories: A year ago, we bought a ’92 Plymouth Voyager and have been thrilled with our new mini-van. With 2 kids and all the stuff we tow around, the mini-van was perfect for our lifestyle. Over the course of the year, I have thanked the auto-gods many times for sending me such a wonderful and reliable vehicle. Lately, though, there has been a shimmy in the front end. We brought it into Complete Auto Care for a diagnosis and possible fix since we had many favorable experiences with them in the past. They looked, didn’t see anything wrong, charged me $26 for the diagnosis, and advised that I get new tires since there was uneven wear that could cause a shimmy. We went out and got two new tires. The problem persisted. We were not happy. We went to another tire place who suggested it could be the transmission since it only happened between 30 – 40 m.p.h., and especially at 35 m.p.h. We brought it back to Complete Auto with that tidbit of info, and they referred us to a transmission shop since they felt that at that point, we needed a “specialist.”I drove straight to the transmission shop. They were closed on Mondays! Arrgghh! Went home. Went back to the transmission shop on Tuesday. The mechanic said he knew it wasn’t the transmission, but he would take it for a test drive to be sure. He spent nearly half an hour with us and our car and didn’t charge us a dime. (We will DEFINITELY use them and recommend them in the future!!). His diagnosis was one or both of the inner CV joints. We went home and called other mechanics and the Plymouth dealership. Received all kinds of quotes and theories. We went BACK to Complete Auto and told them that we thought it was the INNER CV joints which are rarely checked when they diagnose the front end, but the dealership and most of the mechanics we spoke with felt that was what our problem was. They put our van up on racks, and by this time the inner baffles to the CV joints were visibly leaking, and we authorized them to replace both, which is what the dealership recommended anyway since the van had more than 50,000 miles which were about their life span. We went fishing with our children, and by the time we were done, it was completely fixed. Now, people are probably wondering why we would have given Complete Auto our ultimate business when they really seemed to fall down on this particular job. Here are our reasons: They have given us courteously, professional, quick and affordable service in the past. They have not ripped us off in the past when they had the opportunity. They could offer us the quickest most affordable solution to our current problem. AND, when dealing with cars, you have to realize that a Jack-of-All-Trades shop will not have the same knowledge about your particular vehicle as to the dealership, but armed with the right information, they can still fix your problem just as well.NOW, for our DIRTY SECRET for our own business. At PurelyPets.com ( Purely Pets – Pet Nutrition – Natural Pet Food and Vitamin Supplements for Pets ), http://www.purelypets.com we give our refunds quickly and easily if someone isn’t satisfied. So far, we haven’t been challenged to give fraudulent refunds, so it works out well. Our company is still small enough where every refund does hurt, and do we ever feel it, but one bad customer can do more damage to your business than 10 happy ones can help! We’ve even given refunds to folks who have ordered our stuff and then “chickened out” ongoing holistic. That is no fault of ours or the product, just the person’s state of mind. No problem, refund granted. Hopefully, they will be back when they feel more confident about it! Cat Donnelly PurelyPets.com
  2. E. Grace Wanamaker gave us the following customer service story about eBay. It’s a great example of a customer (Grace) offering the company a “second chance” to sell, and the company falling woefully short. Here it is: While reading the latest issue on customer service, I was immediately reminded of a recent incident I had with someone selling on eBay, which is where I am purchasing much of the inventory for my soon-to-be-opening online business. I was looking for special gift boxes and during the course of my search, I ran across an auction that had such a strident and combative message concerning slow and non-payers, I was completely convinced NOT to bid on the merchandise in question, even though I wanted and needed what this particular business had to offer. Since I felt that such a message was counter-productive to what the business was trying to accomplish, I dropped an email off to them explaining that I felt the message gave a negative impression, one that convinced me NOT to buy from them, and maybe they should see about couching their necessary warnings in a more positive and/or subtle way. You can imagine my surprise when I received the following response from the manager:”Hahaha, that tells me one thing……….You’re a slow payer or NONpayer!!!!We don’t want that type of business…….. and that’s why we TELL everyone!!!!*******
    “Store Manager”Please note that I have blanked out the name of the person who wrote the response, but otherwise the message is just as I received it. To say the least, it was quite obvious to me that this person had failed to check my feedback before replying because had the person done so, they would have known that a majority of my feedback reflects my policy of always paying quickly and maintaining good communication with those from whom I do make purchases. However, the story doesn’t end there, as I was rather offended by the response I received, which was juvenile, obnoxious, and something any half-decent English teacher would suffer a coronary over, so I again emailed the person to let them know how I felt about it.I told them I knew quite well they had not checked my feedback, as well as pointed out that even though I was “put off” buying from them on the basis of their original auction ad message, they still could have salvaged the situation with their reply had they not destroyed it by responding in such a manner. My initial email and their reply was in essence a “second chance opportunity” to convince me to become a customer and, indeed, I likely could have been swayed by a well-phrased & diplomatic response explaining why they were taking such a strong stance. I am well aware of the problems eBay and its sellers have when it comes to slow and non-payers, but I have often read well-written and even humorous slow and non-payer policies that do not offend me at all, though they may take just as strong a stance as the one I had problems with. Sadly for them, this business chose to take another route and as such presented me with one of the worst cases of customer service I have ever experienced. As a result, not only will I not do business with them, but I will make sure that anyone I refer to eBay knows to steer clear of this particular business as well.I guess the important point I’d like to make here is that if one is given the sometimes rare “second chance opportunity” to gain a customer, then by all means DON’T WASTE IT! As hard as it may be for some to grasp, too few people these days will give you that second chance, as we all know there is nearly always somewhere else one can go for the services and/or product they need, and wasting that chance is the equivalent of throwing money away – something many of us cannot afford to do. Sincerely, E. Grace Wanamaker
  3. The following really dirty story was submitted by Mary Howard of Howard Horticulture was rather humorous and just goes to show you how every day in business is a new adventure! Here it is: Hope you not too busy, I have got to tell someone my story. You talk about a determined small business. We had 3 1/2 inches of rain last night. The storm was so bad that sheets of rain were blowing horizontally. I live in tornado alley. It was so bad that my husband and I got the kids up at 4 a.m. and went to an inner closet. During the storm, my corn was flattened and there was water standing everywhere. In the morning, I had customers come by for an order of beans and cucumbers. I went out to pick the vegetables, but first, I took my shoes off because I thought it would be easier to walk on bare feet. The kids came along to help. (I have two kids – a three-year-old and an 18-month-old.)The customers commented that I was pretty dedicated. Then my youngest got scared and didn’t want to walk in the mud to get to me. I let her cry a little, but then tried to carry her, but that made me sink about 4″ above my ankles. I could hardly walk and had customers standing there watching me. I said, “This sure isn’t very professional!”I was so frustrated, I just stood there and laughed hysterically. Then, the customers were laughing, too. I managed to pick them a couple of pounds of beans and found some cucumbers. I never worked so hard for $2.50, but I can still say I Love It!