Customer Relations

It seems as if I've written a lot of complaints lately.  There was the tote bag issue with Charming Charlie ( which NEVER was resolved.  (Oh Charlie, you have seriously lost any charm you once held for this customer who visited your store just about once a month and never walked out empty handed.) There was the non-lathering incident with Alba Shampoo ( There was also the Mead five star flex binder incident (not blogged about, but you can see what my issue was, especially as the company CLAIMS they don't break):

And then this past week my laptop keyboard died.  (Started off with just the space bar not working, which made writing anything coherent difficult and when it was finally replaced, a whole bunch of other problems cropped up.  Never mind the fact that the thing never kept the right time.  I'd reset it day and after day and it kept speeding up.  By Tuesday morning, the computer would be thinking it was Wednesday afternoon!  Toshiba must have only 50 seconds in their hour or something like that!)

Finally, there was the pedal exerciser that my father bought for me after the one he had gotten for me several years ago broke.  (Pedal fell off and could not be put back on.  Was still usable, but not the most comfortable way to use it.  Instead of the pedal, my foot rested on a bar.)  He purchased another one (not the same thing...a cheaper model) from Harriet Carter.  The directions that came with it where perfectly clear...if you can read no words and only bad icon drawing, but my husband got it together for me and I used it for about a week before the entire bar that one of the pedals was on snapped/broke off.  (You'd think I was spending hours a day using the thing from the way the bar bent and broke...not the case.)

Believe it or not, this post is NOT about bad customer service.  Charming Charlie aside (tsk, tsk), all the other companies I dealt with were pleasant and LISTENED to me (or actually read what I wrote in an email.)  I am THRILLED to say that customer relations is NOT dead. (After the experience or lack thereof with Not So Charming Charlie I was afraid it was.)

Let me start off with Alba.  I had bought this GIANT sized shampoo at TJ Maxx.  I had never used their product before, but I did love the scent.  Plus, I NEED volume.  (My hair has been baby fine since...I was baby.)  I tried to lather up, but even with two pumps, nothing much was happening.  I had to use 4 or 6 just to get any kind of lather at all.  As a result, I used the stuff up pretty quickly and wasn't happy about that.  So I went to their website, which was pretty easy to use.  I went to the contact page, filled out all the information and within a day had an email back asking for some more information (ok, some of which I had included in the initial form, but...I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt).  I did not ask them for anything, just wanted them to know that I was not pleased with the product.  Within a week, I had an apology letter and a coupon for $10 (which is what I spent for the product).  I thought that was more than fair and I'm certainly willing to give their product another try.

Moving on to Mead: I emailed them to let them know that their unbreakable three rings, DO break.  I mentioned that one binder had broken after a little over a year (my son had reused a binder from the previous year).  I had no problem with that and replaced it, but then the replacement only lasted a few months.  Mead also responded to my email promptly and asked for further information as well as requesting a photo, which I was happy to provide.  Last week (on the same day as I got the Alba coupon), I received a package from Mead.  A new five star flex binder, in the exact same color as the one that had broken!  (Someone at Mead was really paying attention!)  Now I had already purchased a new binder for my son, but this one will certainly not go to waste!  (There's always next year!)

Harriet Carter is not a place where I usually shop, but I know my father does frequently and I wanted him to get a credit for the exerciser.  I called and explained the situation.  (I think it helped that my father had forwarded me his confirmation information so I could provide customer service with an order number and other details.)  I was asked if I would like a replacement, which I declined.  (Personally, I think the product was very poorly made.)  I said that I wanted my father to have his card refunded.  I was told that if I sent back the item, they would do that and that they would send me a return label.  This was done in a prompt manner.  Now that I have finally found a box to return it (my son used the original box for a project) and just have to get to a post office to send it out.  (Postage has been paid by Harriet Carter; as it should be, but these days you never know.) I have faith that when they receive it they will remove the charge.

Finally, this weekend I had to deal with a laptop that was no longer functioning properly.  Since my husband is the computer repair guy, he was NOT happy to find that he could not fix it.  I was not happy that I was going to have to replace it.  We did some research, tested out a few models at our local office supply store, but ended up ordering it at Micro Center.  We are lucky enough to live not too far away from an actual store, so we were able to order it and then drive up within the hour to pick it up.  This was a great process.  We walked in, handed over our email confirmation and within 10 minutes walked out again with purchase in hand. (Actually it was in my husband's arms...I didn't get another laptop I got an All-In-One.)  We were home just over an hour after we actually ordered it.  Micro Center made the whole process very easy.  I hope that I don't have to go back there, but logic tells me that something is bound to fail again and if so, Micro Center is the place where I would go.)

So, as unbelievable as it does seem; good customer service DOES exist.  (Charming Charlie take note!  Read and learn!)  Here's hoping that this is the start of a trend nationwide:  listening to what the customer has to say and working together for a reasonable resolution.  


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