Monday, December 15, 2008

Good Customer Service Pays More Than Bucks

Cell phone fees are the bane of our existence, yes? Sure, that may be putting a little too much emphasis on them. But I do actually believe they are a terrible way to run a business, and an assurance that the person paying them will never forget, and may likely never use that company again.

As I write this $200 check to a cell phone company I will never work with again, I am thinking of all the outrageously bad customer service, and bad business practices, I have suffered through this year and wonder if the current recessionary climate might change some of that. When consumers have less to spend, like moi, consumers are going to go for bargains — but also where they're appreciated.

Case in point. I recently ordered a book for an interview I needed to do. One online service promised me the book, because I live in Manhattan, the next day. It was cheaper than the bigger named online store I normally use. But I am searching for some bargains right now.

I ordered the book. I got an email. It wasn't coming for 5 days. I called their customer service people and they basically said, too bad for you. It was phrased better than that. There were tons of apologies peppering the short conversation. But they couldn't rescind the order. Nor could they get me the book. On time. What I could do is re-order, pay a rush fee, refuse the slower book and get a credit in a few weeks.

I bought the book instead from the bigger chain. And I will never use the other service -- despite it being cheaper -- again.

I hope companies are listening. I'm going to start making decisions with my wallet this coming year based on some old-fashioned values. And I know I won't be the only one.

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