I recently dealt with 2 companies regarding customer service issues. One company totally and completely gave me the “warm fuzzies” while the other made me so sickened that I have vowed to never do business with them again.
Marketing & customer service always fascinate me as a musician. I think that all of us could stand to take cues from companies that provide fabulous products and services to customers. After all we’re providing a product or service for other people, aren’t we? 🙂
Let’s get the crappy company out of the way first.
Case Study: United Airlines
I recently flew home from Denver International Airprot with a guitar in one of my Casextreme.com road cases. It’s big, but very light…the entire guitar comes to 23 lb or so.
It’s bad enough to pay extra to get it on the flight, but I’m used to that. However, the lady at the gate insisted that it was oversized. Mind you, skis in cases which are way longer are not considered oversize. When I interrupted her and said I’d never paid for oversize for this item, I was threatened that they’d call security. Gimme a break.
She got her tape measure out and proceeded with fuzzy math. It’s triangular but she measured as if it was a rectangle…length and width.
With her plastered on smile and customer service phrases out of a book, it was clear that I was dealing with a very scared little sheep who was afraid to think.
The point is..I fly all year. No one ever ever has charged me oversize for this. She was worried about keeping her job, not a customer.
Their fee: $100 on top of the baggage fee.
What did they get?: $100, and lost a customer
What did I get?: To take a plane ride that I thought I already paid for.
Their consistency: All airlines pretty much decide at the gate what your fate is and don’t have a standard. Sucks.
The “Warm Fuzzy” Factor? I now despise them and never want to fly on their airline again, I feel cheated.
If I didn’t use the big case, this would be the alternative, more than likely:
Case Study: Apple
A few years ago I paid $300 for Apple Care – Apple’s service contract for repair.
Last week, my laptop screen went black AND the keyboard and trackpad died. I went to the NYC Apple store and dropped it off.
First off, when you go there, all the workers have uniforms so that you can pick ’em out of the crowd. Every one of them has a personality and loves computers. Every one has intelligence twinkling in their eyes. And it’s a diverse bunch. Tattoos, piercings, black skin, white skin, short, fat, old, young…Apple’s diversity speaks volumes.
They took my MAC and diagnosed it. Wrote me an itemized list, and then the bill had a big, fat , delicious $0.00 at the bottom.
7 days later I picked it up. (I am typing on it now). When I picked it up, I tried it out, and dealt with another smart dude at the Apple Genius bar.
Their fee: $300 on top of the price of the computer
What did they get?: $300 but with their service I will buy again
What did I get?: A no-questions asked repair policy, and I have a brand new screen, keypad and mouse on my laptop. They did the mental ju-jitsu with me…even though I spent $300, it feels “free” and friendly.
Their consistency: 100% no questions asked. If you are their customer, YOU and your product is taken care of.
The “Warm Fuzzy” Factor? I now love then even more. Will buy again.
Apple got me for $200 more, but it’s not about the money. It’s not what they did, it’s how they did it.
The question we all need to ask ourselves is….what are we giving, what are we taking, how are we making our customers feel, what is our “warm fuzzy” factor.
Musicians – this means you (and me). No matter what the gig, be it teaching, small gig, big gig, CD, book….how warm and fuzzy do we make people feel?
I wish I could do even better than I do. Let me know how.
Long live the fuzz.