Thursday, September 14, 2006

When Customer Service Doesn’t Suck

With topic-unrelated pictures of Q, just because I have some to share.

Earlier this year, I had a series of really annoying experiences with my Macy's credit card where the billing went awry, resulting in me getting off the phone with customer service, immediately driving to the store and paying the credit card balance with cash to avoid late fees. This goes exactly against one of the main purposes of having a credit card – so you don't have to carry around cash for your purchases.

After sorting that all out, I tried to use the card again some months later and got rejected. Great. Macy's is the one remaining store card that I keep, after shutting down the others to simplify my life, because you can get some great sale prices. I was going to lose a 25% discount on some much needed shorts for SwingDaddy, if they didn't accept my card.

I felt myself get a little steamed. "I want to cancel my card," I told one of two sales associates behind the counter. "Can I do that here or do I have to put it in writing? The hassle of straightening out the card isn't worth it!"

The sales guy was probably still in high school and while polite, was clearly hoping that his buddy would jump to his rescue. Indeed, that's what happened. Between them, they managed to get customer service on the phone right at the cash register, explain the circumstances, help to get the card fixed, and then rang up my purchase, including the appropriate discount.

I thanked them both, and settled my ruffled feathers. I thought – well, we often complain about terrible service, but this time I should really go to the website Macy's is always touting on the store receipts (where the guys had carefully written their names), and report that they did a good job.

Macy's sent an automated response to my blurb, and I didn't think anything of it. A week later, I received a long email, which read in part:

Dear Lady M:

On behalf of all of us at Macy’s, thank you for sharing feedback regarding your recent shopping experience in our store. . . .We are pleased to hear through your ratings and comments that you enjoyed a pleasant shopping experience in our store. We feel very fortunate to have both TJ and David on our staff.
I will read your comments at our next daily storewide meeting and will forward them to their department manager. They certainly deserve recognition for a job well done. I am pleased that they were able to resolve the problem. We wouldn't want you to close your account! (and so on and so forth)


VP, Store Manager
Macy's store ###

If I'd know their VP was going to read my little message out loud to the storewide meeting, I would have written something more eloquent!

This reminds me of a time at work when Lawyer S from the legal department was able to turn around an adjustment to a contract in three days, which is like lightspeed for lawyers, so I sent a quick email to her boss with thanks. It ended up getting forwarded up the chain, and I later got a response from someone saying that he was very happy that Lawyer S had done a good job and he was very happy to have her on his team and that everything was happy, happy, happy.

The sender's name was kind of familiar, so I looked him up in the company directory. Holy cow. I had received a "thank you for the thank you note" from the legal counsel to a $30 billion dollar company. I was feeling really flattered and then I realized that I must have written the first thank you note the legal department has ever received!

Write those notes. People sure appreciate them!


Kristen said...

Yeah, this is so true. We're so quick to complain and report on negative experiences, people are floored when we give positive feedback!

Kristen said...

I do try to write notes- whether they are complaints or praise. I actually just wrote an ice cream company that I just discovered a letter. I shot them a quick email telling them thier chocolate lovers cones were the best I'd ever tasted. And they sent me a bunch of coupons in the mail! Awesome!

Mayberry said...

Thanks for the reminder--I owe a couple notes right now!

Bob said...

1st picture of Trevor- looks like he is hang-gliding

Lady M said...

Ice cream coupons! That's encouragement to keep writing.

He does kind of look like he's hang gliding. We will have to build out the rest of the equipment. ;)

mothergoosemouse said...

Yes! That is a wonderful success story. I don't know if you know Izzymom (, but this would be a good one for her Props and Pans blog.

And we've had similar experiences. On our way out to CO, we had dinner at a TGIF in St. Louis. The server went out of her way for us, so we asked the manager to come out so that we could sing her praises. Not only did she give us coupons, but TGIF sent MORE coupons to us in the mail. And the best part was how the server beamed as we complimented her in front of her manager. Loved it.