Companies That GET Customer Service

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In today’s economy you would think that companies would be doing everything they can to not only get new customers, but keep the ones they already have. Unfortunately that’s not the case.  Some companies are clueless or simply don’t care.

But there are other companies out there that do totally GET customer service and understand how important the customer is.  They know that great customer service builds loyalty and keeps a customer.

Here are five companies that totally GET customer service:

Amazon

Great customer service goes a long way!You wouldn’t necessarily think Amazon would be up there, what with them being a totally online company.  You don’t even see phone numbers or contact information readily available.

But if you buy something then you have some options.  Let me tell you what happened with one of my orders.  We ordered a small toy for our oldest daughter.  The toy’s packaging was one of those with a cardboard backing and a plastic front.  The item was from another seller but shipped through Amazon.  When we received it, the toy was in a bubble-protection, padded envelope.  This would be good for a book or something flat but as you can guess it wasn’t so great for our toy!  The plastic front was crushed.  It looked like someone sat on it!  But the toy was in one piece and nothing was missing.  Being close to the holidays I wasn’t going to return it and risk not getting a new one in time.

So I went into the Your Account link on the Amazon home page.  I then went to the Orders section.  There is a link there labeled “Leave Packaging Feedback.”  I wanted to complain about the delivery package even though I was going to keep it.  I figured I should at least let them know.  Well, you know what I found?  An option to have a customer service representative call you back!  I put in my phone number and almost immediately I received a call.  I told the rep. about the situation and told her if I had more time I would return the toy but with it being the holidays I’d have to keep it.  The rep was very nice and after listening to my story, hearing that I was upset, she offered to refund a little better than 50% of the item’s cost for the trouble.  I didn’t expect to do anything but register my complaint but here I was getting a partial refund.

Amazon understood how important it is for their customers to trust making orders with them.  I can’t begin to count how many items I’ve bought through Amazon (especially after signing up for Amazon Student and Amazon Mom) so knowing they take care of their customers goes a long way in solidifying trust with them.  And for them, it really doesn’t cost much in the grand scheme of things.  Amazon GETS it!

1-800-Contacts

I’ve been ordering my contacts through 1-800-Contacts for a little over a year now.  Every time I call, the people there are completely patient and nice.  Every time!  And I always do my research first to make sure I’m getting the best price and no shipping costs.  Honestly, it’s a pleasure speaking to them.  1-800-Contacts GETS it!

ING Direct

You already know I’m a fan of ING Direct.  I have their savings and checking accounts as well as an investing account through Sharebuider.  But what really impresses me and keeps me a customer is their customer service.  Any time I’ve had a question, a situation, anything… the customer reps there have always been able to get me an answer and are always great!  Oh, and I’m never on hold for long either.  ING Direct GETS it!

Starbucks

Mmm, I love me some Starbucks coffee! I have the Gold Rewards card.  I try to use it every time I go so I can earn “stars” towards free drinks.  You also get some other benefits like an upgrade to a free drink rather than just coffee is you buy whole beans at the store.

So one day my wife uses my card and first asks to have the card re-filled with our debit card.  She also bought a couple of drinks as well as a pound of coffee and wanted to use the Gold Card for the purchase (that’s why she was re-filling it).  Instead of charging the Gold Card they charged the debit card so now I have a debit charge for the drink purchase and a debit charge for the card re-fill.  On top of that we didn’t get our free drink with the pound of coffee (we were charged) and we didn’t get the discount we should have on one of the drinks.  She didn’t realize all of the details until she got home.

I called the store first.  The manager told me he could move the Gold Card charge back to the debit card but couldn’t do anything about the drink.  Worse though was that he wasn’t even friendly about it.  this ticked me off a bit since Starbucks is usually pretty good with their customers.  At this point Starbucks didn’t get it. :(

I then called up customer service.  I spoke with a nice woman who immediately understood what happened and why I was calling.  I told her I love the company and I was calling because the order was screwed up and this was totally out of character for them.  Kindly, she offered to bump up my “stars” so I would be closer to a free drink (every purchase is one star and 15 get you a free drink).  She also said she was going to mail out some coupons to me.  Ok, I was happy with her resolution, and being this was something that doesn’t happen often I was satisfied.  Ends up the coupons were actually vouchers for four free drinks!  Did I mention I love me some Starbucks?  Yes, in the end Starbucks GETS it!

American Express

Every time I’ve called American Express thy have been both nice and responsive.  I’ve written about the time there was a false charge on my credit card and they quickly resolved it.  Well, there was another time I had to call them.  Once, when making a payment online, I paid only the minimum rather than the full amount.  The radio buttons are real close together.  I didn’t realize this until I received my confirmation that the funds had gone through.  I made the payment at the last minute so the statement had closed before I could pay the difference.  I paid the difference off but I was afraid there would still be an interest charge.  Instead of being pro-active like I should have, I waited until the next statement came.  Lo and behold, there was an interest charge for the difference that I didn’t pay.  I called them up and explained what happened.  Without having to argue or feel like I did anything wrong, they told me they would take the charge off the statement.  Done.  Fixed.  American Express GETS it!

It’s too bad more companies don’t understand the importance of great customer service. Maybe it costs too much to train customer service reps, I don’t know.  But I’ll tell you, I’m much more willing to forgive a mistake when the company makes good for it.  If the company doesn’t seem to care then I move my business elsewhere and I let my friends know about it.

Good customer service builds loyalty!

What other companies do you know that have great customer service?

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Published or updated July 30, 2013.

Comments

  1. I would add T-Mobile and Zappos to this list. I am always very happy/satisfied with both.

    • I’ve heard Zappos is a great company.

      • I agree with Zappos– that’s the main reason Amazon bought them. They were being outsold on products that Zappos could charge way more for, simply because people knew that Zappos gave a crap and cared about it’s customers.

  2. I agree with John. I have had very good experiences with T-Mobile. I also like Apple’s customer service.

  3. Virgin Mobile. We use a pre-paid cell (and rarely use it) but I love talking to their call centre. The staff are laid back and really helpful. When I made an error and bought $50 of time on the phone not knowing that would only last 3 months (which we’d never use up) I called Virgin and explained to them that the online ordering wasn’t clear about how long the $$ would last on the phone and that I would have put $100 (and never used all of it) to gain a full year of calls – they fixed everything for me!
    I used to LOATHE Bell Canada. But we have their internet service ATM and i’ve found their customer service and tech reps to be really professional and efficient. I’ve messed up (and forgotten) our network password a few times and they have figured out the issue, w/o making me feel like i’m stupid (i’m in IT so that drives me nuts) a few times.

  4. Costco. Duh. We buy lots of stuff from them and some of it’s bound to have issues. From the box of wine that we’d bought before and enjoyed, but this one just was bad (full refund, no questions) to the $$$ patio furniture that wasn’t shipping when originally states–they called the supplier in Thailand and got back with me with dates later the same day, Costco can’t be beat. We had a computer problem once, Costco Concierge service got a replacement part sent by HP the next day, and I actually got kind of annoyed at Costco’s multiple follow up calls two days later trying to get in touch with us to make sure everything got fixed.

  5. USAA. Seriously…if you have any link to the military and get use their services (insurance, banking, etc), please do it. They have been offering banking products for years that the government is now MAKING other banks. They are so easy to use…no ATM fees from them and they reimburse all other fees (up to 10 or 15 a month) for using other ATMs. Also…all checks are deposited via scanning them online and are available immediately. And once I had my debit card stolen and they were so helpful and gracious in determining which charges were mine, refunding all others, killing that card, and sending out a new one ASAP. Seriously…use them if you AT ALL qualify!

    • I have heard great things about USAA. I don’t qualify but like you say, if you have some military link you should check them out.

  6. It’s amazing how little things like a coupon can make us loyal to a brand. But of course we want to patronize businesses that “get it!”.

    One that I would add to the mix is my web host (and yours), Media Temple. they’ve always given me great service both via their website, and via twitter. Twitter is a great way to get customer service i’ve found – by the way. I also had recommended someone else use them on twitter – and to thank me they sent me a free t-shirt and swag bag. Of course that only means I’ll recommend them more!

  7. Overstock has excellent customer service. One time there was an issue with my form of payment, and one of their phone employees told me I could use my credit card (in the end I was billed and could not use a credit card)…and so the guy I called apologized profusely and gave me a free $50 credit for whenever I want to use it! Hurrah!

    • I haven’t tried Overstock yet. I’ll keep it in mind.

      That’s what I like to hear – mistakes happen all the time but the smart companies are the ones that fess up quick and make it right fro the customer.

  8. Like the first few people that spoke, i was going to say Zappos. But then I thought that was one of the main reasons you mentioned Amazon, since they bought Zappos. I read Delivering Happiness by the Zappos CEO and am now officially infatuated with this company. I ordered their Culture hand book which they give out for free if you email ceo@zappos.com

    Anyway, it is the best company ever!!

  9. IRS Hitman says:

    Starbucks forgot about my order entirely (thanks a lot) but surprised me with an apology and a “the next drink is on us coupon”.

    I’ve always been impressed by Amazon, too.

  10. The real test of a company is how they handle a problem. Two of the fine companies that passed that test for me are Verizon and Nordstrom.

  11. I do like American Express. They are beyond awesome. Never an issue with them for me.

  12. I like Costco’s customer service, every time we’ve had an issue with something they have always taken it back.

  13. Zappos and Comcast (every once and awhile).

  14. We’ve rented quite a few cabins over the years, in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Wears Valley, etc. Many have been dirty, and some were filthy. Many had items not working, and some were poorly maintained. Many said they had Wi-Fi Internet, and some had no internet service at all. Many talked about their comfortable beds, and some beds were not much better than the floor. Of course, we fall short sometimes too, but we hope that it is the exception when we do. We strive to fix any problems immediately. We know who calls the shots in our business. And we like to think that we “get” customer service.

  15. FFB, Your Amazon experience and mine could not be more different!

    I never even received my item, and when I called to resolve the issue, the Amazon rep pointed fingers at 3rd parties, passed the buck and ultimately got her point across that Amazon did not care about my business.

    (read the full complaint here: http://simpledebtfreefinance.com/how-amazon-com-lost-me-as-a-customer/)

    It’s too bad because I had been very pleased with their service in the past, which is why I felt comfortable ordering a “big ticket” item through them (not a 3rd party seller). But this experience has so soured my feeling toward them that it is the last thing I will buy from them…

    • Wow Joe! Just read through your article and you experience was quite different. I’m quite surprised they just tossed you to the side like that. My only explanation was that the person you spoke to didn’t do a good job and that another person may have done right by you. But then again, it’s not my company to explain and it’s still unacceptable.

      • Susan Martin says:

        I will never deal with Amazon. Ten years ago I purchase an item and I did receive it late. The customer service was awful. I avoid their webiste. I see no reason to give them my business or even a chance, because there are many other providers.

        • Wow, another negative review about Amazon.

          Ten years is a long time. The company was new back then. I know you may have strong feelings about them but I think they have a really efficient system.

          I understand you not wanting to get stung again though.

  16. I agree with the commenters above that recommend Zappos.com! I am the Director of Communications for an Internet marketplace Pricefalls.com and a majority of our customer service practices have come from their example. We are actually located in Las Vegas down the road from their office and I have told a few of their executives that exact thing and they always respond, treat them like you’d want to be treated and thats what I attempt to instill in my employees.

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