Monday, April 6, 2009

21st Century lessons in GREAT customer service

I don’t buy books, CDs, DVDs. This is what a library is for. Foundations give them grants; why not take advantage of it? I’ve gotten DVDs before they were on those kiosk vending machines through the Maricopa County library.


I am partial to the city of Phoenix. My emails, Twitter, etc. are Phoenixrichard. For two generations we’ve had the world’s best city managers, Frank Fairbanks and Marvin Andrews. My councilwoman, Peggy Neely, is probably the most responsive politician worldwide.


Last week I got a notice that I had water damaged a book and I was being fined $14.95 and $5 for processing. That’s the cost of the book and shipping.


After customer service problems with behemoth companies like Wells Fargo, HP and a car repair place that broke a part and wanted to charge to fix it, I had my armor on and was ready to do battle when I called the city of Phoenix library. After all, this was the nation’s fifth largest city.


Here’s the conversation as I prepared for battle:

Me: “I’ve got a fine for what the book costs. I get to keep the book, right?”

Big city, behemoth government: “Sure.”

Sound of jaw hitting floor.


What’s the old saying, all dressed up and no place to go? No battle here.


Just outstanding, spectacular customer service – from one of the largest city governments in the world. Could your company learn a lesson here? I know I did.


Reminds me of buying a suit from Dillards in the late ‘80s. Six months after buying it, the back pocket on the pants ripped. I took it back, thinking they might mend it. I walk up to the clerk, not a manager. His response blew me away. “Pick out another suit.”


I asked if he had to call a manager. No. At that time Dillards’ philosophy was self empowerment. Wonder if they have that today? With two closets full of clothes, most of them have come from Dillards. Another reason; this weekend they had a 70% off rack with an additional 50% off. That’s 85% off. Free in my book. A $90 pair of pants for under $15 including tax!

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