This month we’ve had experience with incredibly good and incredibly bad customer service, and the experiences were so wildly contradictory that I had to write something up.
Some baggage handler stole my old Spyderco Delicia from the outside pocket of my suitcase on one of my trips. I finally got around to replacing it, went to Froogle (yes, Google Product Search) and found a low-price vendor. Well, you get what you pay for…the knife never shows up. Seller explains that he mailed it. I explain that it didn’t show up. Seller asks if one of my neighbors might have stolen it. I explain that that’s unlikely since all three of them have keys to our house and could steal anything they wanted if they were so inclined. I ask if I need to deal with this through Paypal. He agrees to send mea new knife, registered mail, which he does.
He then demands payment for the new knife. I go “Huh?” and he says that the first one might still show up. I think about it, feel for the plight of the small businessman, and pay him, after getting his commitment that he’ll refund my full payment on the 30th day after the order.
I’m generous, I guess. Well, the 30th day comes and goes, I remind him of his commitment to pay, and he replies:
I sent two knives in an act of good will. You never insured the first this your act of good will……………..I have to say you’ve been the most unappreciative customer I’ve ever encountered. You just happen to throw away the packaging………………….. You ain’t entitled to nothing you should’ve gotten insurance but I think you got that one too……..just cause you threw away the packaging…………………… and start acting like your doing me a favor
I’ll send you a refund just as we agreed you’ll have it tomorrow
—– Original Message —–
From: “Marc Danziger”
Sent: Monday, June 23, 2008 7:02 PM
Subject: So where are we on this?
> I’ve paid you for two knives – in a clear act of goodwill – when I’ve only received one.
> You committed to refund my money if I hadn’t received the 1st knife on June 20 – which I haven’t received.
> So where are we?
He then refunds the cost of the knife, less shipping and Paypal fees. I’ve redacted his name because I don’t want a long email hassle with him nor to improve his Google search ranking…
Then, on the other hand, there’s Justin Winery.
We had our great dinner at Justin, and when we reserved it, did so as a part of a package that cost $(umpty) per person. When we got the bill, our knowledgeable and funny server Tim gave it to me because TG was – um, happy. From the wine and the meal. Very, extremely happy.
I paid it, noting in the back of my head that they hadn’t charged us the ‘package’ price, but the menu price – which meant that we paid some $40 more.
Now I won’t say that it was because I was – happy – too, or because I didn’t want to bum the vibe of a great dinner. I just went “$40? eh.” and paid it.
Now TG is my opposite in all matters financial. Had she been engaged with Jim the Knife Guy, she’d have laid brutal emails on him, shut down his PayPal account, and had his dog sent to the pound.
She goes through all our credit card statements, catching errors and saving me from my worst Charlie Sheen tendencies (or at least making sure I don’t overtip). When she saw the $40, she hit the roof. I suggested we let it go, and apologized. She explained that she’d deal with me later (I may go into hiding).
Here’s the email we received from Justin:
I have read your account regarding what transpired last Thursday with your Dinner Transportation package out to Deborahâ€™s Room. While I am elated that your overall experience was very positive, I am sorry we did not do such a good job in recognizing the fact you had booked our All Inclusive Transportation Package. I did speak to Timothy about this and he admits to making a mistake in recognizing and applying the correct pricing for your dinner. We are taking the necessary steps to communicate with our staff and avoid further misunderstandings with these packages. Hopefully, we have learned a lesson from this that will help us better manage this program.
JUST to give you some background perspective about our transportation program. Back in April of this year we decided to begin offering transportation out to Deborahâ€™s Room and satisfy the innumerable requests from guests who expressed their desire to come to our lovely winery restaurant without being responsible for the driving. We decided to move forward and “trial balloon” this service, treading the fine line between offering the service at a fair price while at the same time making sure the JUSTIN staff delivering the services is being compensated fairly for their efforts. For simplicities sake we decided to adopt an all inclusive pricing policy instead of “a la carte”. I am sorry that this became a source of confusion during your visit.
I want to thank you for taking the time to describe what happened. Your input is very valuable so we can “tweak” this program and be able to continue offering the service beyond this trail period. Also, I’m positively excited about Marc blogging about your experience and spreading the word about Deborahâ€™s Room and our magical setting!!
I wish I could apply your overage to your next wine club shipment, but I think Rebecca has taken steps to credit your card directly for this amount. However, I do want to make myself personally available to you next time you plan on visiting JUSTIN. Please do not hesitate to contact me at the numbers below.”
Short of sending us a case of ’97 Isosceles (nice idea, but not called for), I’m not sure how it gets any better than that.
I’m not going to say that that’s the only reason one businessman has an immensely successful winery and the other is selling knives out of his garage … but it sure doesn’t hurt.
My hat is off to Justin, and no, I’ll never buy another knife from ‘Jim’ again. OTOH, the new Delicias are really nice – the clip is epoxy-covered and rounded, and the blade seems just a bit sharper than the old one.