Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Value of Good Customer Service

Over the last few months I have relied upon, and been impressed with, better than average Customer Service. In a world where even kids are becoming more jaded and people are out for themselves and commercial competition is always increasing, I'm finding that companies are beginning to realize how good Customer Service can really make or break a business. Here are a few great Customer Service stories that I've recently experienced.

I went to Boscov's Dept store to buy a birthday gift for my 93 year old grandmother. After spending a ridiculously long amount of time searching racks for just the right thing, I took it to the register to purchase. I asked the cashier if she had a box. She said no but I could take my items up to Guest Services, along with my receipt, and they would wrap my gift for free. For free? Really?? I took my gift upstairs, was shown a selection of free and then paid wraps, had a wonderful conversation with the ladies that worked there while my gift was wrapped and ended up giving my grandmother a gorgeously wrapped gift for her birthday. That one simple gesture, which stores used to do all the time (I know because I wrapped gifts at Bamberger's oh so many years ago) simply made my day.

Another company with great Customer Service is Nook2Android. I  purchased an n2a card for my Nook Color which essentially turns my awesome e-reader into an even more useful mini-tablet. Now I can read my books, my email, play games, view my calendars, watch movies and videos, and I don't have to lug my laptop around when I travel. I purchased the card via That was my first clue that this was a quality product as they have to abide by Amazon's guarantees. (They now sell them from their own website.) But the service with this company is unmatched. They have a public forum on their website and a very active Facebook page. If you ask a question or have an issue with your card, they are right there to assist, almost immediately. I haven't had any hardware issues with my card but I can see on their site where people have had issues and they simply say, "That shouldn't be happening. We will send you a replacement." So far I have seen NO complaints about the card itself and tons of raves about the service. I have had a few questions and have gotten responses right away.  That rarely happens. Way to go n2acards.

My next two examples of good Customer Service are regarding US Airways. I know - not many complements flying in the direction of the airlines these days but I felt the need to point these out. We have been looking forward to vacation all year long. We finally booked a seven night cruise on Royal Caribbean. So excited! Then Hurricane Irene came and threatened to derail our dream. But US Airways stepped in. They posted on their site that if you were flying with them when Irene was scheduled to hit the area, they would waive their change fees and allow us to fly out on an earlier or later date. For a family of four, those change fees would have been $600. I know its something that they kind of HAD to do but we are still extremely grateful. So we moved our flight to the day before Irene was supposed to hit our area. Our plane was full but we took off and landed on time. We don't have to miss out on our vacation. Did I say how grateful we are?

We also experienced the dreaded "lost luggage" fiasco on our recent trip to Puerto Rico and subsequent family cruise. Three of our four bags made it from Philly to PR. My daughter's was the one that was missing. After our initial panic (we were headed out to sea the following day), we filled out the appropriate paperwork to file a claim for the missing bag. The glitch? Hurricane Irene. Philadelphia is shutting down the airports. If we don't get the bag on the next two flights, we would have to wait for the storm to end and that could be days. So we went about our normal routine and checked into the hotel. Had some lunch, explored the town and hoped for the best. Later in the day, I logged into the airline website to check the status of the bag and, lo and behold, our case was closed and our bag would be delivered to our hotel BEFORE we left for our cruise. We got it the same night. We didn't even have to buy new pajamas. I can't tell you how grateful we were. Thanks again US Airways!

My last example is regarding my beloved Nook Color.  My power cord was giving me more and more trouble. I would have to juggle it and then set it in a certain position go get it to charge.  It became very frustrating but I really didn't want to purchase a new one since that cord was only three months old.  I somehow misplaced the original one that came with the device and subsequently had to purchase a new one.  Now I needed cord #3!  Then, of course, the inevitable happened... the cord stopped working altogether! No matter how precariously I balanced it on the edge of the step with the cord dangling to the right and touching the top corner of the front flap...  didn't work! (LOL!)  I emailed Barnes and Noble and sent them the order number of my recent cord purchase.  They sent me a brand new cord within TWO days!  I was so surprised to have gotten it so quickly.  My Nook is working just fine these days.  The quality of the cord feels much better so I think they must have improved on the design since my last purchase.  No more complaints.

At any rate, I thought it would be nice to share some good news, for once.  Hope everyone is having similar positive and happy experiences.  :-)  Cheers!

Angelfall: Penryn & The End of Days

I've been reading a lot lately.  Maybe it's because I love my Nook Color so much that I'm always looking for new stuff to keep me occupied. Maybe it's because I can't stand all of the talking and commercials on the radio so I indulge in the virtually endless supply of "free" audio books supplied by my local library.  Maybe it's because sometimes its nice to just get away from my own life and live a fantasy or romance or adventure filled with unrealistic goals and unattainable desires (like having wings or magical powers).  In any case, when I get the chance, my nose is always in a book.

The last book that I finished was called Angelfall: Penryn & The End of Days (Book #1) by Susan Ee.  It's a teen paranormal fantasy novel which I initially purchased for my 14-year-old daughter.  However, the premise of the book interested me so I added it to my TBR list as well.

This book was so unexpectedly good!  It takes place right after the apocalypse.  However, it wasn't a giant orb from space or another Ice Age that caused earth's demise; it was angels.  (Interesting, right?)

The title character, Penryn has a similar strength and sense of humor to Maximum Ride (from the James Patterson series).  However, Penryn is human; she has no wings and she fights every day to keep her mother and little sister out of harm's way - away from street gangs, rogue angels and other unknown entities.  She is very smart and trusts no one, not even her own mother (read it and you will see why!)

I highly recommend this story.  However, there is one caveat.  The next book in the series is not due out until later this year (an actual publication date has not yet been announced.)  So if you enjoy this book as much as I did and look forward to the sequel, you may have a few months to wait.  I'm drumming my fingers waiting patiently right now...

Mom review: Mild violence and adult inferences. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

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