Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's Customer Service Week!

Thank you Lord! Just in time for the monthly build-up of my customer service ranting, I learn that it is Customer Service Week (designated as such by the current occupant of the White House.) Okay, I didn't exactly "learn it" so much as overhear it in an elevator.

In honor of this national observance, I offer the following customer service experiences:

The "Infinite Singularity of Suckage" award goes to: "Spirit" Airlines

I traveled on "Spirit" Airlines for the recent Massa family reunion in Myrtle Beach. Spirit flies to Myrtle Beach direct, and these days if you aren't flying direct - you aren't getting to your destination, so I figured I'd roll the dice. And sometimes when you roll the dice you lose.

I booked tickets for me and my beloved Tom. Due to T-Bone the kitty's two-month battle with severe asthma (including an attack the day before we were meant to leave) Tom had no choice but to stay home with the cats. Medication does not deliver itself to small animals.

I called Spirit Airlines to discuss Tom's ticket, and after ten minutes on hold a young man in a distant call center named "Franklin" informed me that because I had called "4 minutes late" that I would not receive any credit for the ticket. When I asked to speak to a supervisor "Franklin" explained that his supervisor would tell me the same thing. Two additional attempts to discuss the situation with "customer service" employees resulted in similar exchanges.

When I checked in online the day of the flight, Spirit's website made me check in Tom, so the seat between me and a nice lady at the window remained blissfully empty. When I checked in for the return flight, I assumed the same luxury for the SEAT I PAID FOR. No such luck, just before the door closed a young woman was seated between me and the nice lady at the window. WTF? I PAID FOR THAT SEAT LADY. At the very least she was pleasant.

The flight from Boston to Myrtle Beach departed 10 minutes late. The flight from Myrtle Beach to Boston departed more than an hour late. Customer service gets the lip service. It's really hard for anyone to make the TSA look good, but congratulations Spirit Airlines, you have achieved something that all the government's PR efforts could not achieve.

Recommendation: Avoid "Spirit" Airlines at all costs.

The "Knocked my socks off" award goes to: Holiday Inn - Surfside Beach, SC

I stayed at this property (along with the rest of the family) for the big Massa family reunion last weekend. At every opportunity, every employee I encountered stopped what they were doing to ask if we had everything we needed, if we were having a good stay, if we were enjoying Myrtle Beach or other such pleasantry. They went beyond the standard "good morning" and STOPPED what they were doing to FOCUS on the customer. Bravo Holiday Inn - model the rest of your properties on this one.

Recommendation: This particular property was ON A BEAUTIFUL BEACH and everyone was really nice. Also it was cheap. Give it a try.

The "You've Had More Than Enough Chances" award goes to: Macy's

I visited Macy's in downtown Boston to purchase a wedding gift from the registry of friends. While I waited nearly 30 minutes for a rose bowl to make its way from the stockroom to the register I watched an encounter between the clerk (who had been baffled by all previous transactions) speak to a gentleman visiting from Florida. The gentlemen placed his items on the counter and presented a coupon to the clerk. The clerk blurted out "Where's that coupon from? That's not our coupon." The gentlemen said it was from his local paper in Florida. The clerk said "We don't take those, those aren't ours."


The gentlemen then asked if the coupon could be scanned for validity. The clerk said "No, I'm not scanning that, it's not ours you can't use it." Yikes. No call for a manager or any other attempt to really help the man - just an outright refusal of his sale. The gentleman left the counter without a purchase. Meanwhile visitors from the UK were pointed to a service desk to receive a coupon for 11% off because they were international visitors. Don't want to be too generous with the discounts.

When I encountered the gentleman on the way to the escalator I suggested he ask for a supervisor. The coupon looked quite legitimate and had a barcode - someone should have been called to help.

So Macy's pay attention here: The clerk annoyed me to the point of almost abandoning my sale, lost a sale to the man with the coupon and horrified several shoppers with her tone. Please remember: bad clerks = lost sales (and probably lost customers.)

Recommendation: Shop Nordstrom instead.

The "I Was Only Hoping for Adequate But You Blew Me Away" award goes to: Bonefish Grill

After a so-so meal at a Myrtle Beach spot recommended by two locals, I went with a recommendation from a Bostonian and headed to Bonefish Grill with my mom and brother.

The food was excellent, the service was exceptional. Our server Nola was tuned into the vibe of the table (giddy) and rolled with it. I watched her match the energy of an adjoining table - nice work young lady. She made perfect recommendations and we were not left wanting for anything or troubled by any excess tableware.

My mom convinced Nola to sit with us for a moment when dessert was served and we all had quite a chuckle to learn she was from Massachusetts. (In our minds, that explains the superior service...) The location owner was quite pleased to listen to our compliments and pass along some kind words. My mom was kind enough to pass along a big tip.

Recommendation: Find a Bonefish Grill and check them out. I hope your visit is as good as mine.

Additional recommendation: If you have received good customer service, take a moment to say thank you. If you have received exceptional customer service, take a moment to tell a manager.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You forgot the "We lie to our s=customers so we don't have to listen to them" award for DELTA Airlines.....Missed connecting flights and lost luggage award also goes to DELTA Airlines....