Simplehuman's Excellent Customer Service Makes Other Companies Look Like Garbage

Pani just had an astoundingly good bit of customer service from aptly-named simplehuman—makers of those elegant-but-expensive trash cans—and wrote to let us know about it. Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and every cable, cellular, and telephone company, you might want to print this out and pass it around your CSR executive offices.

I just wanted to let you know about a good customer service experience.

We have a trash can from the company simple human. The trash can cost about $60 and it’s probably 2 years old.

Last week, the kick plate stopped working (the lid wouldn’t open when I stepped on the step petal). I called simple human to see what I could do. The rep I spoke to “Brittany” asked me for my name, address and phone number and said the part I needed including directions would be on it’s way via UPS. No questions asked, free of charge. The part arrived today (1 week after I called them).

Here’s the amazing part. When I went to install the new kick plate, I realized the whole thing had fallen apart because of a screw, which I now no longer had. I called simple human again, to see what we could do. Funnily enough, I ended up with Brittany again. She was MORE than happy to send me another screw, but I didn’t want to wait. So, she hunted down the same trash can in someone’s office, flipped the can over, UNSCREWED the screw I needed, and told me the measurements so I could go to my local DIY and get the screw. Amazing service. Wish more companies went out of their way like simple human and Brittany.

Now see, if this had been Hewlett Packard, you would have had to mail in the trash can so they could find some way to void your warranty.

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Letsgohokies says:

    That’s awesome. I too have one of their $90 stainless steel trashcans. The kick plate actually broke off of mine, maybe I should give them a ring.

  2. Shannon says:

    Outstanding.

  3. mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

    Warms my heart. After working at Disney, I learned the key to customer service is to:
    1) Listen to what the person has to say.
    2) Rephrase it so they know you understand
    3) Sincerely apologize
    4) Explain how you will fix it
    5) Follow through on doing it.

    Why is that so hard?

  4. Asvetic says:

    I use the grocery bag can, and love it. $30 I’m glad I spent.

    [www.simplehuman.com]

  5. Asvetic says:

    @mrsultana: It’s hard for several reason…

    A) Can you get a Human CSR when you call?
    B) Will said Human CSR listen to you?
    C) Does said Human CSR have the power to apologize for the company or offer any fix?

    It’s sad, that customer relations doesn’t mean what it used to, and so many businesses don’t seem to value that anymore. Once they get our $$, that’s the last they want to deal with us…

  6. bugsbenny36 says:

    One of my hinges broke off of mine, called them, within a week had the thing all nice and new!
    All they asked me in exchange was to take a picture so that they could ensure future cans don’t break!

  7. GMFish says:

    “So, she hunted down the same trash can in someone’s office, flipped the can over, UNSCREWED the screw I needed, and told me the measurements so I could go to my local DIY and get the screw.”

    Something like that happened at Home Depot once. A friend and me bought a shower from Home Depot, but after getting it nearly installed we noticed an important part was broken. We took the part to Home Depot and the guy opened up a new box, took the same part out, handed it to us, and we thanked him and left. No hassle at all.

    Of course if the employee’s boss knew what the he did, he’d probably be fired. But he sure made our experience great.

  8. Tightlines says:

    I don’t know, every time I read one of these great customer service stories, my first thought is, “plant!”. Am I just being cynical?

  9. Sarge1985 says:

    @Tightlines: Yes you are. Sometimes the CSR actually understands what the ‘S’ stands for and realizes that without the ‘C’ there would be no need for his/her job.

    I know it has been said here before, but attitude is everything. If you, as the customer, are calm and collected, 8 out of 10 times, the CSR will be more likely to help you solve your problem.

    More flies with sugar than vinegar.

  10. ivanthemute says:

    Some of those are $100+ dollar trashcans. They goddamned better well have outstanding customer service.

  11. nutrigm says:

    sounds like the CSR at refinance.com! lol

  12. RINO-Marty says:

    “simple human” always seemed like a bizarre brand name to me. it always reminded me of an insult an alien overlord might use against me as he probed my frontal cortex.

  13. InThrees says:

    Brittany’s time hunting down this screw vs simplehuman’s cost in shipping one out to customer, 321fight!

    So not only did she do a great job helping this guy, she saved the company money doing it. (I’m guesstimating here… 15 or 20 minutes of her time vs shipping costs.)

    Regardless, good to see this sort of customer service isn’t dead.

  14. Tom Servo says:

    We have a simplehuman trash can at our home. Great product and a great company.

  15. startertan says:

    @GMFish: Same thing happened to me at HD (even though I hate them and won’t shop there), before the Lowes opened in my old neighborhood all we had was HD. I needed a new tip for my sprayer. This guy opened up a beat up box and just gave me the one out of there. He said, “We won’t sell it anyway”.

    I have a SH trashcan at home but it’s in the box still after I moved. Me thinks it’s time to unpack it.

  16. Jaded_Pani says:

    @InThrees: I’m a woman :)

  17. MyPetFly says:

    I have to blame the consumer on this one.

    Oh crap, sorry. Bad habit.

  18. vladthepaler says:

    So: simplehuman’s products are expensive, but they offer great customer service. If customer service is something you value, maybe their products are worth the price.

  19. Angryrider says:

    Great story on great customer service.

    How I laugh at the need for a trashcan with a “kick pedal.”

  20. jakesprincess says:

    I once saw a pair of shoes in like at jcrew.com. However, I could not tell if they were black or navy and the description did not state the color, though I was fairly sure it was black, but I wanted to be 100% sure (the shoes were two-toned with the base being suede and the toe cap being platinum colored leather). I called J.Crew and the person did not know, either. She asked if I wanted to hold or be called back while she found out. I said I would hold. About 7 minutes later she came back on the line and told me the suede was black—her supervisor had gone to the warehouse, pulled a box from the shelf, and verified the color.

  21. wmpp says:

    I had a similar positive experience with Simplehuman.

    After a similarly priced store-branded can I bought at Target simply fell apart, I purchased a Simplehuman can. The kick plate on my trash can broke in half after a couple years of ownership. After one email describing the situation and another verifying the trash can model, Simplehuman had a new kick plate assembly shipped to me UPS. I couldn’t really ask for anything more.

  22. induscreed says:

    all i wanted was a screw, called cust supported and brittany screwed me.

  23. P_Smith says:

    @Tightlines: I don’t know, every time I read one of these great customer service stories, my first thought is, “plant!”. Am I just being cynical?

    No, I’ve had similar experiences where in-store staff went “above and beyond” what I asked for.

    In all cases, they were recently hired people who weren’t jaded and lazy…yet.

  24. Trai_Dep says:

    Gives my cold, dark heart a pulse of warm, trickley schadenfreude to see HP & Microsoft keeping the same company as cable and cell-phone companies with regards to abysmal customer service.
    Would have been nice to see Dell there as well, but I guess they’re in their own universe of suckitude.

  25. I love simplehuman (when I can afford it).

  26. wfujim says:

    I had a similar experience with a simplehuman trashcan. The footpedal on my trashcan broke and when I called, they said they were aware of a design flaw in the pedal, and promptly sent me out a replacement pedal (which was a new and improved design). It’s rare to have a company respond like simplehuman, but when one days it definitely puts a smile on my face!

  27. linbey says:

    The reason they have good customer service is because you PAY for it when you pay $100 for a trashcan that probably cost about $8 to make. When you buy dirt cheap products you get crappy customer service because they cant AFFORD ship free parts after warranty, etc.. This is why Apple computers cost twice as much or more than Emachines. You call Emachines and get an Indian who doesnt care or you call Apple and get good customer service 9 times out of 10. To get good customer service with every company, everything you buy would be a LOT more expensive and then everyone would bitch that the stuff costs too much. You cant have it both ways.

  28. FrankenPC says:

    Good customer service reps are Like Tuttle (Robert DeNiro) from the movie Brazil. They come out of nowhere with an obsessive desire to fix the problem and they bypass protocol to get the job done. (And, in the process, Tuttle is labeled as a state terrorist BTW.)

    I can count on one hand the number of times Tuttle’s have come into my life. And I remember each one of them.

  29. TheNerd says:

    Yay for Brittany!

  30. laddibugg says:

    @jakesprincess:

    LOL…Jcrew and their creative colors…

  31. liquidhypnotic says:

    I think the racial discrimination in linbey’s comment was unnecessary. Furthermore, I think it’s depressing that everyone thinks that it is IMPOSSIBLE to get good customer service without paying for it specifically; sometimes people are just good at what they do.

    I’d rather not pay a premium for good customer service because I’d rather pay for a good product that just won’t break.

    Good story, though!

    @tightlines: I always wonder that, too.
    @P_Smith: I think he was wondering whether the entire story was a plant, written by someone who has an ulterior motive for advocating for SimpleHuman.

  32. BeeBoo says:

    I have had two great customer experiences with SimpleHuman.

    After buying a garbage can and a dish drainer directly from their website, somehow the pedal to open the lid stopped working after about a year. When I asked for a replacement part, they sent me a whole replacement garbage can as well as a knife rack for the dish drainer because I commented that I wish my model had come with one or that I could purchase one separately. What a nice surprise that was.

    Then a couple of years later, about three months ago, I broke part of the dish drainer trying to take it apart, and they immediately shipped me a replacement part.

    They paid postage both times and were very polite and responded quickly to my emails. This last time it was Brittany, it may or may not have been a few years ago.

    Definitely one of the best companies I have dealt with, especially by email.

  33. DeeJayQueue says:

    When I worked at Bed Bath and Beyond, I did stuff like that all the time for customers. I’d grab single pieces out of RTV (return to vendor) stock on anything from Dyson Vacuums to cookware to furniture, to pretty much anything we sold. I hated that job so much, but it was mostly because of the inter-employee politics, and the incompetent management, not because of the customer service part. That part I liked. I also liked that we took classes on just about every product type we sold. These weren’t classes on how to sell the merch, though that was covered, but more on how the stuff worked, how one brand compared to another, features, etc. That way when we were talking to customers about it, we could be honest and find the right product for what they needed, not necessarily the most expensive one. I respected that a lot.

  34. DeeJayQueue says:

    @DeeJayQueue: and no, that’s not a plant for BB&B. Most of what you can buy there can be found cheaper at Target or somewhere else, but I always prided myself on the level of training they gave me as an employee and the level of service they stood behind.

  35. jrat84 says:

    I see all of this as a nice little ratio for customer service. The larger the profit for a company on a product, typically (not always) the better the customer service is. I’ve seen those trash cans, and I’ve been amazed why someone would spend that much. I have cheap little plastic ones that work fine. But there is a point behind that price. The point is that you expect a good product for that, or at least a company willing to stand behind it. When margins and profits for retail computers are as slim as they are now, expect a company to skimp as much as possible on frills, such as customer service. HP and Dell work hard to get your business with low prices, not reliability, unless you’re willing to pay for it. The $100.00 trash can comes with it included.

  36. Okiedog says:

    The original bags I got with my simplehuman trash can would always rip right under the drawstring when attempting to pull them out. I wasn’t just yanking them out – being very gentle – and still they would rip.

    Wrote them a nice letter explaining this and I also indicated that maybe it was a problem with their manufacturing. They sent me 3 free rolls of trashbags (none of which experience the same rip). They said yes there was some problem with one of the batches and I must’ve gotten that.

    TIP – those tube trash cans create a lot of suction when you pull out the bag. Take a power drill and a half inch drill bit and drill a half dozen holes in the bottom of the can. The pull out plastic sleeve – not the actual can. Helps release the bag.

  37. Mike8813 says:

    Good story! I’ve been looking for something to blow my Amazon reward money on… Maybe a shiny trash can from Simplehuman?

  38. NoNamesLeft says:

    @linbey: Yeah, because Apple is so quick to send out replacement iPODs when they break.

  39. linbey says:

    @liquidhypnotic:

    Why is telling the truth racial discrimination. Emachines Tech support is located in India, therefore youll get an Indian when you call. Nothing at all negative about Indians

  40. linbey says:

    @NoNamesLeft:

    I said in general Apple has much better customer service. No company is perfect

  41. visionep says:

    I have a trashcan from them that the kick plate broke on and they sent me the parts to fix it too. Quick and easy.

  42. Trai_Dep says:

    @linbey: Considering Dell, HP and Microsoft were all finalists on The Worst Company in America, while Apple’s inclusion generated mainly chuckles and “Hell the WHAT?”, I’d say that, yup, Apple’s quality and support are better.
    And when you’re comparing apples to (heh) Apples, they’re price-comparable as well. eMachines are cheaper because drunken monkeys assembling them cram them full of substandard parts: you get what you pay for above a certain level. Apple simply doesn’t go down below that level. Probably why they can have a friendlier support policy.

  43. theysaidwhat says:

    @Okiedog: I have a simplehuman can and I remove the plastic liner of the can, bag still in it, and then take out the bag.

  44. ceez says:

    good csr story…
    but i use one of those 5 or 10 buck plastic rubbermaid cans with the plastic grovery bags….no need for screws or pedals to break! :) No need for a csr call either!!!!