Back in its heyday Saturday Night Live was a powerhouse and, thankfully, it regained a certain portion of that goodness during this past fall’s season. One of the best parts of the program then and now were the commercials. They tend to be funny, timely, and, once in a while, memorable. There’s one such commertial that stands out in particular — it ended with a character saying “We’re the phone company. We don’t care. We don’t have to.” (For those of you too young to remember, back in the day, AT&T, or Ma Bell as we called it, was a monopoly and, as the only game in town, they didn’t have to work too hard to keep their customers happy.)
Fast forward to 2008. Despite the fact that, in this environment, businesses can’t afford to take a single customer for granted, the attitude of “we don’t care because we don’t have to” is pervasive. As a result, when we find excellent customer service it stands out and I, for one, like to recognize those companies that provide great service. I had two such experiences at this past week.
The first had to do with iPhone application — SmartTime. I have had the calendar and task application for a while and was looking forward to a promised update that would introduce syncing with Google calendar and tasks. (For me easy integration with Google’s applications is the holy grail of iPhone task management. On Thursday I saw that the update to Version 2 was out so I went to install it on both of my devices. The thing is, it’s a free upgrade for people who had previously purchased the $9.99 application. For some reason though the App Store showing more than half a dozen versions of the application even though there is just the paid version and the light free version. When I clicked “buy” in order to get the free update I ended up purchasing application for an additional $9.99 instead. That shouldn’t be. While it’s not a huge amount of money, it really frustrated me. I emailed my contact at the company and shared my frustration. I also noted that when I try to contact Apple previously when there’s been an issue with an application they’ve been all but nonresponsive. I expected something similar here but I heard back within 20 minutes. They asked me to send my PayPal account information and six minutes later a reimbursement showed up. I’m really impressed by company that handles an issue such as this so quickly, so a shout out to.
The second issue involved a bit more money. As soon as I got my new aluminum MacBook I ordered a 4 GB RAM upgrade from Other World Computing. The order went through simply and I received my RAM. I was finding that the MacBook would lock up constantly but, having seen a lot of posts about problems with the trackpad, I assumed that was the cause. I reinstalled the OS system but the problem returned. Then all the reports started pouring in that an upgrade to 4 GB of RAM might be the culprit. I called customer service at OWC and describe the issue. Since I have been using the RAM for over a month I knew I wasn’t going to see a refund but I figured it was worth a try anyhow. The customer service representative immediately offered to replace the RAM. I figured it was worth a shot since not everyone was running into this problem. We made arrangements and not an hour after I got off the phone with them did I get an e-mail that the RAM had shipped. I’ve been running my MacBook with the new RAM modules for the last week and haven’t had one lockup. OWC now has a loyal customer for life.
Until recently, whenever I was looking to purchase something I looked to price as the single most important factor in making a choice. These days, customer service is on an equal footing. These are two companies that win back competition hands down.
Have others? I’ld love to hear about them.