Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Customer Service

The internet is something that I take for granted and perhaps you do, too. Can you remember those ancient days before we were all hooked up to the WWW? During the rare times the cable isn't working or I am away without access, I am reminded of how helpless I feel not being able to go online but yet, the majority of my life has been spent without the internet. How did I manage???

Information retrieval is a breeze now. Just point and click. No having to call or write for something and then wait for days for printed material to arrive. Stock quotes are instantaneous. So are stock buy or sell orders. Now you have a library on the computer. You may not have access to a particular book you want, but at least you can do an online search to see which library has it, or you can simply order a new or used copy online.

The little guy doesn't get kicked around as easily these days either, thanks to the viral nature of sites like YouTube and applications like Twitter. It amazes me at how many views some of the videos have gotten on YouTube.

Today I found out about a particular person's use of YouTube to publicize his beef with United Airlines. Dave Carroll, a musician with the Sons of Maxwell band, had boarded the plane for a flight to Nebraska for a one-week tour when passengers saw his $3,500 Taylor guitar being thrown around by United's baggage handlers in Chicago. The guitar was severely damaged as a result.

While United admitted the damage, they refused to compensate Dave. After nine frustrating months of getting the runaround, passing the buck and getting refusal after refusal to pay for his guitar, he grew tired of fighting and decided to make a video about his experience. After this, United offered an apology and compensation, but it was too late, the damage was done.

The video is below.

After you watch it, please take a moment and head over to my beta monkupoll survey spot and vote for your impressions of the situation. Your vote counts!

I thought this was a great example of why customer service is so important and personally, I feel that United got what they deserved. Customer service should have been involved from the very beginning because it's the right thing to do, not because all of a sudden they get worried about negative publicity.

I'm always telling people that wherever I live, there has to be a Costco and Trader Joe's in the area. I've found that they know how to take care of their customers. Sure it isn't always perfect but I feel they do a much better job than most of their competitors. When I go on vacation I always look for an In-N-Out when fast food is in order. That's another great example of taking care of your customers. You would think that other fast food places would get a clue from them, considering how they seem to always be crowded. Have you ever seen an In-N-Out that wasn't busy?

Now with a tool like the internet, word spreads rapidly. As of today, there have been more than 3.5 million views of the video. That makes having great customer service all that more important!

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