Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Everyone's Favorite Customer Love Topic, DELTA

A few years ago, I missed my cousin's wedding at home in Buffalo. On account of "weather." The frustrating thing is that other airlines' planes were taking off, and it seemed it was only Delta with planes stuck on the ground. To add insult to injury, my flight back to NYC was also canceled. I remember my parents saying, "my children are never coming home again."

Here is my empassioned letter to Delta (in retrospect, perhaps it was overly-dramatic):

Their response: A $100.00 voucher towards my next delightful flight with them. I think it was the best they could do. Refunding my flight would have been great, but I didn't even tell them the cost.

All in all, a good customer retention policy, even if I'm not overly-enthusiastic about them. (However I do appreciate their recent site re-design, and they have good in-flight entertainment sometimes, and they also did that fun gourmet menu. Baby steps!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Anthropologie: Close to my heart

For a very brief stint two summers ago, I worked at Anthropologie while still keeping my job at Ogilvy. I loved it. I have to say that one of my favorite parts was learning about their return policy. Which they proudly state is "for life." That's right, ladies and gents, lifetime return policy! Enough said.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Liberty Hotel--my saviors!

Champagne upon arrival.
A beautiful adaptive re-use project of an old prison (!)
A separate bathtub and shower.
And barring all the details of a freak hospital visit, they orchestrated a 911 call, a stretcher, multiple elevator shut downs and a secret route out of the hotel, all without any other guests noticing. Customer love to die for!! (I was fine, just threw my back out and couldn't move).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Frye Boot Company: A Big Boo & a Little Yay

THE BAD: I ordered a pair of boots from Frye directly from their website and quickly noticed a discrepancy in the way the colors were listed on different sites. Being a super consumer, I sent them an email inquiring about it. I then had a painful 4 emails-later-long conversation with their customer love department during which they INSISTED that their colors were correct until, finally, I got the email from them that I've posted above, finally admitting their mistake (this woman was adamant she was right, for 2 emails, which I am saving you the hassle of reading). Afterwards, all I wanted from them was a little retribution. A little acknowledgment. And, yes, perhaps a pair of boots on the house for pointing out what was sure to become a customer love nightmare for them. But I got nothing. Imagine how loyal and happy it would've made me. A shoe shine! A fake email from the COO! Anything! But they were pleased as punch I did their job for them and never really thanked me. And it was strenuous.

THE GOOD: When a strap fell off of said boots after so many loving wears, they speedily sent me a couple of replacements for free. Saving me the hassle and huge cost of going to a customized leather guy. So, thanks, but I'm still waiting for my free pair.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Liz Claiborne Loves ME

I bought a leather Liz Claiborne bag (what 25-year-old buys Liz Claiborne you ask? It was a cool bag, trust). The strap broke. I inadvertently brought it to a super-expensive Upper East Side leather repair shop. And Liz Claiborne reimbursed me!, and sent me a personalized letter from their customer love department! All $70.44! I didn't even have to submit my full receipt to them...they just trusted me. It was like corresponding with an unconditionally loving grandmother. How lovely. Other companies should weep at Liz Claiborne's customer love department:


Thursday, November 12, 2009

DUNKIN: in the business of FAST

This morning. I got my coffee. So fast. And so efficiently. Despite being 4 people deep from the counter, Mr. Man made eye contact with me, asked me what I wanted, and got it to me in under 2 minutes. Paying probably took only 1 more minute. The product is not even part of the equation here. The operations are. And I am always impressed. I'll ignore the shoddy non-doughnut baked goods and lackluster attitude of the people behind the counter. They get me fed. Quick. Just like this post.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Balthazar’s Impeccability

A Keith McNally institution with bubbling ambiance & classic bistro fare…there is no better place to meet up with confidantes, impress guests, or feel a smidge like a celebrity (and potentially spot some). To put it simply, Balthazar’s customer love is like being hosted at somebody’s house for an elegant dinner party. You don’t enter a restaurant, you enter a bubbly world of imbibing champagne conversations and excitement. Despite the relatively high-end clientele, there is no discrimination at the front door (prices, equally, aren’t low, but very accessible). The maitre d' hasn’t a trace of a chip on his shoulder or feel overly empowered the way lots of douchebag maitre d’s do. He just wants to seat you—efficiently, politely, with grace.

I cannot think of a single time I’ve gone and haven’t felt special, and more alive when leaving. This is without a doubt, the effect of the customer service. God, they’re just so pleasant. And not pleasant like clerk-at-the-Marriott-front-desk-pleasant…. Pleasant, again, like your friend hosting you for dinner. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how they’re trained. I have never, ever, felt badly, for example, about being “served” at Balthazar’s. They genuinely seem to feel good about what they are doing. Perhaps they are lifetime waiters, I’m not sure, and truly enjoy the industry, or perhaps they’re just selected with very specific criteria, but I feel friendly with them—the waiters, bartenders, everyone—and not in a disingenuous way, ie, it doesn’t go too far. Just enough nice conversation, but never intrusive. You can have an entire dinner without even noticing them, or gladly engage them, and the moment you think about a new water glass, a clean fork, or have dropped your napkin, its already there waiting for you. It is just anticipation? Or is it magic? :)

[An aside: I’m cutting the cross-category lines with this post. Comparing customer love at a restaurant to customer love coming from a corporate hotline isn’t exactly fair. But I’ve seen the “hostess” mentality of restaurants and hotels applied to other industries very successfully (read: retail…Anthropolgie, a future post for sure), but perhaps still not a fair comparison because corporate hotlines are simply not in the flesh, and there is an intangibility that comes with looking someone in the eye. So, admittedly, if not a fair comparison, perhaps just a plea for more corporate hotlines to take a clue from the restaurant industry—treat me like a Balthazar’s restaurant customer, you, hotlines, you!]

The last time I went, with an intimate group, both my bartender and waitress were women, which is less common. “Oh gosh,” I thought, “Here we go, my perception of Balthie’s is going to change, and they’re going to be bitchy” as it’s hard not to find a waitress without a grudge…but these women, were, to put it mildly, fantastic. They totally humored my over-excitement with the menu, where many waitresses would sneer. They treated me NOT like another woman (women are so good at that) but simply. A non-issue.

I’d really love to work there for a day, and watch the behind the scenes “operations waltz” of this place...perhaps I’m a little biased, as it was three years ago today when I sat in one of the booths by the bar and had drinks for the first time with my now boyfriend. I credit him with my introduction to this little haven that I am now a major advocate of.