A Tale of Two Customer Service Experiences

A TALE

 

On the morning of September 27 at 7:40 AM, I had the pleasure of having my normal commute to work being interrupted by another car who felt it was necessary to run a red light and hit my car. No one was hurt and after the police took a report, we were all on our way.

The Bad

I called my insurance company and let them know that somebody hit me and that my car was in need of repairs. Apparently, according to the regulars of the car wreck scene, one should call the liable party’s insurance company to have them handle the damages. But I did not. I called my insurance company because I thought, “Hey! Isn’t this why I pay them every month? To handle things like this?” One would assume that is the case and they can handle it, but not without its caveats.
My insurance company took care of the damages, but I still had to pay my deductible and then wait for them to get all the money back through subrogation from the liable party’s insurance company in order to reimburse me for my deductible. They also provided me a rental car but once I met the rental rate max, I had to pay for the rental even though my car was not ready. I was quite taken aback by the fact that I had to pay for something that, according to the official police report, was not my fault. My simple goal that wonderful morning was to drive to work not to be financially burdened by the mistake of some other driver.

 

I did nothing wrong that morning yet was treated as if it was my fault. Due to this experience, my family is currently shopping around for a new insurance company for the first time in over a decade. It wouldn’t have taken much for us to stay…just good customer service. If my customer was in a wreck that was no fault of their own, I would have provided them a rental comparable to their car, waived the deductible and told them that we would have their car repaired and back as quickly as possible. That’s it. It’s that simple to deliver excellent customer service. And they failed. And this would have been an overall terrible experience except for the great customer service I received from the repair shop.

The Good

You may have noticed that I did not mention the insurance company and I have my reasons. One being that two months after that accident, I still haven’t gotten my deductible back and I don’t want to ruffle any feathers until then. I’m also not a big fan of speaking negatively about companies online. If I have a problem, I let them know and hope they are smart enough to fix it. I also have no problem telling my friends and family about the negative experience i.e. Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

But on the other end of the spectrum, I am more than happy to tell the world about the positive experiences I have with businesses like the great experience I had with the Tom Wood Auto Group. My car, a Subaru Outback, was repaired by Tom Wood Collision as well as Tom Wood Subaru. They always kept me up-to-date on the status of repairs and the only thing that slowed them down was my insurance company. When I met the rental max and was going to have to pay for it out of my pocket, I asked them if they could provide me a loaner. Since my car was at Tom Wood Subaru waiting for a part, I called the dealership and without batting an eye, they said they would be happy to provide me a free loaner until my car was fixed. And when my car was finally fixed and after driving it, I noticed some issues, Tom Wood Collision took it back, gave me a free rental and fixed the issues. Awesome.

The Obvious

Great customer service is that simple. Make the customer happy and they will be customers for life and constantly tell the world how great you are. Effective marketing and advertising can only take you so far if you don’t have impressive customer service. It’s the key, the cornerstone, the linchpin of every successful business.

Customer Service – How a Small Beer Company from Colorado Gets It.

CUSTOMER


In today’s world, it seems that everyone is talking about social media and “Twitter this” and “Facebook that.” And while, I am not about to downplay the power of social media, I was pleasantly reminded yesterday of something way more important. Beyond social media and advertising and PR and cool guerilla ideas, all of it doesn’t matter if your brand or product is backed by less than spectacular customer service. And while we can all recall from memory, stories of terrible customer service, this is not one of them. This is a story of a small Colorado brewery that went way beyond the call of duty to help a wife give her husband (that would be me) one of the coolest Father’s Day presents ever.

 

As I write this, it is not yet Father’s Day, but my wife decided to give me my Father’s Day present a little early (she’s awesome). Yesterday evening I came home to my wife and daughter waiting for me in the front yard with the garage door down. My two-year-old daughter gave me a Father’s Day card that she made herself with finger paints. Inside the card was a picture of her standing and smiling in front of our old, yellow garage fridge with its door opened. The fridge was packed full with New Belgium Fat Tire Ale cases and tall bottles of Fat Tire and New Belgium’s other beers. Being that I love Fat Tire, I was a very happy man. I couldn’t have asked for more. The end. Now let’s go to the beginning of this wonderful fairy tale.

 

New Belgium started selling Fat Tire in Indiana in April. I had heard about this news through Twitter and was excited to finally be able to get my hands on their beers in Indiana. It had always been this mythical beer to me ever since I had heard about it in college. It was a beer that people who had it couldn’t stop praising it. But it was a beer that had a small distribution and was nowhere near where I lived. To me, it was like unicorns and leprechauns. They do exist, but I’ve never seen one. But years later, on that fateful day in April, I was able to buy it in Indiana. It was like Christmas Day for beer lovers in the Hoosier state.

 

Realizing my new infatuation with this delicious beer, my wife wanted to surprise me with a fridge full of Fat Tire as a Father’s Day gift, but there was one problem. She couldn’t find it. So, she went online to their website and sent them an email. She told them her plan and how she was panicking because she couldn’t find it and she asked them if they knew where she could get a bunch. Within a half-hour, they not only replied to her but they had their Indiana Beer Ranger reply with links and directions to liquor stores carrying their beers. The Beer Ranger helped her find a liquor store close by, but he didn’t stop there. Most companies could have called it a “job well done”, but not New Belgium. Our Beer Ranger told my wife that he would drop off some items at the liquor store for her to pick up. He could have left a simple beer koozie and I would have been impressed, but instead, he left four cool posters of their beer label art and a really nice Fat Tire ball cap (something I would have gladly have paid money for). Through the whole process, our Beer Ranger made sure she got all the beer she needed and he also informed her about a new beer that was coming soon called Skinny Dip Ale. He has been more than helpful and it has impressed both my wife and I.

 

So what is the lesson learned? Customer service is golden.

 

If you go beyond the call of duty and provide great customer service, your customers will then spread the good news, just like I am right now, on those social media sites everyone and anyone is talking about. Thank you, New Belgium for providing unbelievable customer service, I can only hope others will follow in your direction.

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