If there isn't a Customer Service Hall of Fame, there needs to be. And a Hall of Shame to go with it. As such, I would like to present my nominations.
For the Hall of Fame, I nominate the online shoe store Zappos. com. Oh, my goodness, is there anything this company does not do impeccably?
Zappos, I love you for your 2 million pairs of shoes in stock, for always having a sale, for your 1,300 employees, your detailed views of every angle of every shoe, your user reviews, your free shipping both ways, your 365-day-no-questions-asked return policy and your 24/7 call center.
For the Hall of Shame, I nominate Home Depot. I'm still fuming over a recent carpet purchase. The carpet sale was spectacular, but it took nearly four weeks to receive my carpet -- from the day I walked into the store searching for someone, anyone, to take my order. But that person couldn't take my order until a completely different third-party company could come to my house to measure the rooms, two weeks hence. After a total of three trips to the store to get all of the paperwork in order, installation day arrived. I waited and waited. Paced and called. Would you believe the crew was 9.5 hours late? Smoke was pouring from my ears as I was fed one excuse after another for the where, why and how an entire crew -- along with my carpet -- could go missing.
Home Depot, you know that I have choices when it comes to home improvements, and for that I am grateful. I am good with your products and prices. But your customer service stinks. And please, drop the third-party vendors. They are not representing you well. For now, I believe I will stick with local independent companies that respect their customers' time and patience, and place customer satisfaction at the top of their priorities.
I nominate Levolor Blinds for the Hall of Fame. Like a ninny, I lost the brackets to a pair of window blinds during a painting spree. Of course, the blinds are no longer manufactured, and I couldn't get the replacement parts from the store where I purchased them -- so I went straight to Levolor. Those wonderful people jumped through hoops to find not one but three sets of hanging brackets. They searched, they shipped, they followed up -- and would not accept any payment at all.
Levolor, I am still smiling about the brackets. I cannot thank you enough, and I will not soon forget. You can count me in as a Levolor customer for life.
I'm reading a fascinating book, "Good to Great" by Jim Collins.
What I have learned so far is that one thing that makes a company great is its customer service. Isn't that the truth!
Maybe I should send a copy to the folks at Home Depot. They could certainly benefit.
So, do you have any nominations for the Customer Service Halls of Fame ... or Shame? Make your nominations on my blog at EverydayCheapskate.com.
Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630.
To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.