As I sit and keep refreshing my browser for my “Free” Flavor Friday (Coffeemate – You know what I’m talking about!), let’s discuss the most important tool that any company has. Customer Service! Customer service is the only way to gain and keep your customers.
I’ve been thinking about customer service a lot over the last week or so. Maybe you saw me tweet about my unhappy experience with our local Best Buy. Well, that saga has been continuing since January 25. Last night, I realized that it wasn’t worth my time and neither is Best Buy. When I tweeted about my problems, @Coral_BestBuy immediately tweeted back asking me about my problems. She and I eventually connected by email, and she was off and running trying to get things resolved. At one point, she emailed that she was contacting our local store, BUT that no matter what they said, my experience was not the kind that Best Buy wanted. She then emailed that the local General Manager would be contacting me. After a few days, I got the email from the General Manager. I tried to call her last night, and the number that she had given me was the main store number. When I called, the gentleman who answered asked me how he could help me. I asked for the manager by name. He said that the manager was in a meeting. I asked when I could reach her. He said that the manager was in meetings all day, and today wouldn’t be good. He then said tomorrow would be, so I asked what the manager’s hours would be so that I could catch her at a good time. He said that her hours vary, and he didn’t know when she would be available. What’s missing with this picture? The manager should have provided me (the customer) with a direct line so that I could have left a message. The gentleman never offered to take a message nor transfer me to her voice mail. This is a blatant case of the company expecting the customer to be there for it, instead of, the company being there for the customer. [Hint to Best Buy: Clone @Coral_BestBuy and use her clone to replace our General Manager]
On to the experience that is “Free” Flavor Friday! Coffeemate has used bloggers to tout their free bottle of Coffeemate today. 100,000 coupons available at 9am Pacific time. I like coffee creamer, so I thought that I would check it out. I was on Facebook at 9am on the dot. Unfortunately, thousands of other people were, and we were all having the same problem. No coupon! I can’t believe that a company this big didn’t have a back up plan! After approximately 1400 not so happy customer comments, Coffeemate finally said that they were having a “normal” problem and were working to fix it. They would still give out 100,000 coupons. At this point, they really need to give everyone a coupon. I’m trying to see how “Free” this coupon is. Let’s see… I’ve been trying to access the site, having been bumped off when I put in my email address, for an hour now. The last time that I worked outside of the house, I made just over $20 per hour. SO, this “Free” bottle of creamer is going to cost me over $20! I don’t think that it is “Free”, anymore! Coffeemate, you can keep your “Free” bottle of creamer. I think that I will buy some creamer (of a DIFFERENT brand).
Companies need to realize that there are choices out there. I tend to gravitate toward the companies that treat me as a human. That treat me as if they are happy to get my business. As this economy improves, the customer service needs to improve. As people get more money, they will take their money to companies with EXCEPTIONAL customer service.
Charlie and I have decided to have a weekly article addressing our experiences each week with customer service in our everyday shopping and traveling experiences. It will probably be on Thursdays. I certainly hope that you will join us for our “Thumbs UP” experiences and our “Thumbs DOWN” experiences. Obviously, I give Coffeemate and Best Buy a “Thumbs DOWN” on their customer service. I LOVE to give “Thumbs UP”, so companies, please give me an occasion to do so! Be the company (or tree) that stands out above the rest!