The good and bad of customer service

Yes, more of the trials and tribulations of trying to do business in the modern age.  First up, a big loser.


Mike Bandler is telling the story of getting a postcard from Southwest that he had won 2 free round trip tickets because he filled out some survey and they chose him to get the prize.  So he called them up to make a reservation, and they needed some “demographic” information–was he between 18 and 72.  Now, remember that Southwest already knows this answer because they have all that information in his Rapid Rewards account, and because the keep asking it for “security”.  Nonetheless, he told them he was 73.  So they said he didn’t qualify for the prize he had already won, and there would be no tickets!!

What could possibly be the point of this?  If you stayed up late thinking of a way to needlessly alienate customers, you couldn’t come up with anything better than to tell them they won something then take it back.  The corporate stupidity here is astonishing.


My old friends, Enterprise


Constant readers will recall that the last time I rented a vehicle from Enterprise, it wasn’t ready and they lied to me outrageously.  So I called their customer service line, and complained.  They said the manager of the Walnut Creek office would be in touch by the end of the week.  Hah.

Two weeks later, I called again.  Same old story.  They said the manager would be in touch by the end of the week.

That was 2 months ago.  Great silence from the Walnut Creek office.  I’ll never know if customer service actually contacts the local office or not, although I suppose it doesn’t really matter–the company clearly doesn’t give a damn about their service or their customers.

They still manage to send me spam email regularly offering me an upgrade.  If only their customer service was as good as their internet advertising department.


Now for something good.   Lunch today at Metro, a delightful place dead center in downtown Lafayette.  We ate on the patio, where they had all the umbrellas open to give maximum shade while still enjoying the outdoors.  I had a rock shrimp salad, with green goddess dressing.

Rock shrimp, little gem lettuce, avocado, radish, green goddess dressing.


I don’t really know what green goddess dressing is; it sounds like something my mother would have used in the ’70’s, not what you’d expect in an upscale, chi-chi foodie boite, but there you have it.  The salad was great.

A couple of points about good customer service here.  First, I like the way the bus boy asks “Are you still enjoying that?” before he clears a plate.  Much better than “you still working on that?”  Of such small notes are great symphonies of service composed.  (okay, so I’m in love with metaphor tonight}

The second, and larger, point:  I spoke with the manager, and told him that as much as I enjoy Metro, the last time we ate there they failed to click whatever they should click and tell that I had kept the reservation I made on their service.  Opentable is pretty picky about that, and they don’t like “no shows”.  Further, you don’t get the credit, and the dollar, if you don’t show.

Not only did he apologize for the error, but he suggested that I make a reservation for anytime tonight and he would click it as “arrived” so I would get my points and my dollar.  It’s a small thing, of course, but I appreciated his consideration.

And I got my dollar.

So that’s good service for you–and the reason we keep going back to Metro, and have so little respect for Enterprise and Southwest.

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