Monday, October 11, 2010

Quite Orange

Thanks for all your great comments on Friday's post about customer service. A few people pointed out the shameful way that customers sometimes treat the people who work in service industries, and I think this is an important point. Certainly no one has the right to demand quality service when they walk in the door ready to abuse the first person who comes forward to help them. And just as customers should exercise their right to complain about poor quality service, so should they also make the effort to reward exemplary service, because only by doing both can we as consumers influence the industry standards.

Anyway, it's undoubtedly healthy to leave an extra generous tip or fill a comment card with praise once in a while, lest our lives be filled with nothing but negative interaction all the time. So let's hear a few positive stories if you have some to share. I'll start by sharing that I once filled in a glowingly positive customer satisfaction survey after I took my car in for a tune-up, and the heartfelt, personal thank you email I later received from the person who helped me made me realize just how infrequently that kind of feedback is ever heard.

Right, so here's my outfit. This dress always manages to look red in the photos, but I assure you it is quite orange, as is the pattern on the socks. It being a little cooler that day, I wanted to cover my legs but not be too warm, so I chose long socks rather than tights. From the front you can just see the gap between the bottom of my dress and the top of the socks, but from the back the longer cardigan covered everything; this made the thigh high socks look a bit more subtle and less schoolgirlish.

Cardigan: Max Studio
Scarf: Banana Republic
Dress: Orla Keily
Sandals: John Fluevog


et said...

I get what you're saying & try to give positive feedback when appropriate, particularly since I've been in the position of being just the 'messenger' sometimes blamed for the message.

A positive example: I have ordered repeatedly from an online store that seems to be hit-or-miss regarding sizing, though I've been happy with the quality of all their items. On return forms I try to make it clear that it's just the fit & that I otherwise would buy, & today when I received another item they included a freebie accessory with the shipment.

I've also given positive feedback after traveling & gotten coupons & am occasionally receive special offers in return from hotels or restaurants, although I don't do it for that reason.

Rebecca said...

I love the orange color on you and the patten on the socks.

I missed the Friday post, but I agree that customer service is very important. I have only written a complaint letter once, in response to bad service at a local restaurant. I got a nice response from the manager and a gift card to the restaurant that I had complained about.

Meadow Walk said...

Today I went to the McDonald's drive thru for a Diet Coke. I pulled up to the speaker and was greeted not with "May I take your order" but with: "Hi, how are you today?"

I said I was good and thanks and how are you and he said "I'm great, what can I get you?"

I placed my order and he said "One large diet -- have a great evening!"

Then when I pulled up and paid, the young woman who took my money handed me my change and said "Have a good one!"

And then I went and pulled up to get my drink, the woman there double checked I was getting the diet, and as she handed it to me she said "Thanks for coming!"

At McDONALDS, man. Amazing.

Meadow Walk said...

After I posted this I went and found the McDonald's feedback form online and told them too. So maybe they will pass along a good comment to the workers at that location.

phyllis said...

When I worked in Boston I stopped at the shoeshine stand in South Station and the man who worked there did such a stellar job and was so friendly that my tip was the same as the cost of the service. He was remarkable, especially for work that some people might consider menial.

Seamyst said...

I completely LOVE my local auto shop (a Firestone service center). Not only are they friendly (especially the office manager, who knows me by name), but they're honest with me whenever I bring my car in to have it looked at. My previous car was having major problems (including needing a new transmission), and they told me that it wasn't worth fixing.

My current car has a really odd "problem" (a third catalytic converter that they said they'd never seen in a car before), and the second time I brought it in for that problem, they said it didn't need to be fixed (at a cost of over $1,000) and didn't charge me for the diagnostic.

Anonymous said...

Those socks are stunners!

I recently took my bike to a local shop to see if the seat was positioned correctly. The gal who helped me worked with me for at least 20 minutes to get it just right, but didn't charge me a dime. Bless her heart!

Jean said...

I always make an effort to let a company know if I have received exceptional service. As you say, we are often quick to criticise but not to praise.

I have always been very impressed with the customer service at the John Lewis department store (UK) and they pride themselves, quite rightly, on providing good service. Another company who has really got its act together with regards to customer service is the Build-a-Bear business - they are fabulous, and whenever I've been there with my daughters they are so attentive to the children and I know many other families who've had the same excellent service there.

Cherilyn said...

A few weeks ago I preordered the new Ben Folds album from his website. I bought the vinyl version which came with a cd as well, but when I received it in the mail, there was no CD. I emailed them and they sent me a regular cd (not the cd in a paper sleeve that came with the album) and a handwritten note apologizing for the lack of CD! I only paid 17 dollars to begin with, and they paid shipping, plus gave me a cd, so I'm sure the whole thing actually costed them money! So awesome, I would definitely order from them again!

Sheila said...

I worked in retail for a very long time (over 14 years) and I can tell you that only about 3 times in all of that did I ever get a customer make an effort to thank me when I'd gone above and beyond (which I did often). I treasure the Christmas ornaments that two women sent me, and the letter that one customer wrote to my boss. They do mean a lot - customer service workers (especially those in stores) don't get tips and they don't get thanked very much.

That said, you look awesome! I love the socks.

Charlotte said...

A little late but I love telling everyone about the awesome service I got from (online jewelry) three years ago. I have a large family with many girls, and I was traveling to France (from NYC) to spend Christmas with them... So I ordered 90% of my presents from bluenile, thinking they would be light to travel with.
Fedex LOST the parcel which was supposed to arrive from CA only 2 days before my flight. I pretty much assumed I was not going to have presents with me (and cried my eyes out about it)... Until a few hours before the flight, a bluenile rep called me : not only had they sent a second package overnight delivery (and picked up the tab), they MONITORED where I was for the next two hours so they could direct a driver to me. The guy came running up my stairs to hand deliver the parcel 10 minutes before my cab to JFK arrived.
Needless to say, I was literally crying "thank yous" over the phone and have recommended the company to everyone ever since.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite late responding (and in catching up on all my fave fashion blogs today I saw this post) but I had to chime in with my perspective as a gal on the other side of the counter on this post and the last--

I don't think anyone realizes how little praise and politeness your retail workers hear on a daily basis. A lot depends on the store and location--but I work for a large clothing retailer and I can't tell you how many times my "How are YOU today?" has been met with "I need..." or "You need to..." or "I have a return," or the dreaded "I have a problem..." instead of "I'm well, and you?"

It seems small, but it can wear down a woman's soul. I have to tell you ladies that every tiny bit of politeness and praise is treasured in my heart and shored up for the times when people are unreasonable and cranky with me. Even then, I always try to remember--no matter what side of the counter I'm on--that everyone has an off day. It is horrible to be treated as a sub-human robot android who is only there to ring up your purchase and listen to your side of a cell phone conversation, though. I hope you can understand why sometimes we're having a bad day, too.