Random Chance In A Godless Universe: Three Good Customer Service Experience

An unprecedented miracle of good fortune has occurred, similar in scope to jumping out of an airplane only to land in the missionary position with Angelina Jolie, then finding that a naked skydiving Salma Hayek has drifted down to land upon your face. Reader Steve has had not one, not two, but three excellent customer service experiences in the last three days.

The first good experience was with Comcast. I know, I know — it’s like reality’s shattering all around you. Rest assured it came only after an initial bad experience in which they misbilled Steve. Order is restored in all things.

Steve’s second bout of good service comes from Citibank. It also involves resolution of not only a misbill, but two misbills and a late fee.

The last experience Steve had was with a small company that produces HDTV cards for Linux, pcHDTV. The product broke and they speedily replaced it.

Does anyone notice a parallel here? Is it disturbing to anyone else that in all three of these cases, we’re talking less excellent customer service than “acknowledging a fuck up?”

For those companies that think we can’t be placated: look at Steve’s email, in which he positively beams because you guys, for a change, decided not to just dick him over for your error.

Steve’s email, after the jump.

I noticed you occasionaly post about good customer service, and after enjoying three such events occur in the span of a few days, I remembered this and thought I’d let you guys know.

The first occured with Comcast surprisingly enough. It started when I had some trouble with our cable modem speeds being slow. So I called and got a phone tech who spent more than an hour on the phone, checking service reports in the area, etc. When my apt-mate told me he still had his old cable modem the Tech guy said we should try it, to eliminate the possibility of the cable modem going bad. Well, the one I had I purchased through a “Cable Modem for Free” deal and his was his old rental, so after this testing affair I got charged $99 for the modem which I was told I would get back when we return the modem. So I did, and was told the charge would be removed from my next bill. So when I got the bill late last week and the charge was still there I called Comcast up and the lady I spoke with said she would send a report in to their billing department and that I would get a call in the next few days and if not gave me the report number. Lo and behold I got a call two days later telling me they verified the modem had been returned and the $99 would be removed from the bill. So I checked my accounts recent activity online and the charge has been removed!

My second story is from Citibank, I was thinking of taking them up on an offer for a CC. So I sent in the information to see what the specifics would be if I opened an account, well, apparently that just causes them to open it no matter what (next time I do it over the phone!), well I got the package with the paperwork, plastic, etc. AND
a charge for $39.99, their yearly fee. Well I called, said I wanted to cancel and asked to have the charge removed (I hadn’t even activated the card). The gentleman on the phone said that if I use the card I can have the fee waved. Fast forward a month and I get my first bill, well, I hadn’t charged anything to the card yet (hadn’t purchased anything requiring a credit card, all on my debit), so the $39.99 is there as well as a $29 late due-payment fee! So I called them yesterday and told the lady on the phone my story and she removed the $29 late fee and connected me to some other department where another lady tells me she had the $39.99 yearly fee removed and has canceled the card. I should receive notification in the mail in two months if no unpaid charges are present on the account for that period of time. Considering I still haven’t activated the card I don’t see this as an issue. But I’ll definitely let you guys know if they don’t cancel the card!

Finally, I have a computer tuner card for HDTV produced by a small company, pcHDTV, for linux. They have a 90day warranty on their card. Well, I purchased the card about a year ago and a couple weeks ago noticed it was not working properly. I emailed their customer support and told them my sob story, after a few checks to make sure it truely was now broken (sadly it was), they said they would UPS me out a replacement! Again, great customer service!

So this leads to an extra happy Friday for me. Especially since I didn’t once have to raise my voice!


Edit Your Comment

  1. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    The only one of those I would consider “great” is the one with the HDTV tuner. The others are just fixes to customer service screwups the companies have already made. While it’s good to get that rectified, we shouldn’t be rewarding companies for this.

  2. Amys Robot says:

    Consumerist brain teaser:
    Q. How can you be in the missionary position with Angelina Jolie, but still be in a position to have Salma Hayek land on your face?

    A. Post your guesses below. I think I saw the answer (via an analogous question) on an episode of The Cosby Show once.

  3. amazon says:

    AR: What if you are on the bottom? (Assuming you are much taller than Jolie?)

  4. Amys Robot says:

    Getting warm, Amazon. But we need a little more specificity here in order to award The Grand Prize.

  5. TPIRman says:

    Re: “Is it disturbing to anyone else that in all three of these cases, we’re talking less excellent customer service than ‘acknowledging a fuck up’?” — Yes, it is disturbing. It’s called Stockholm Syndrome.

    Re: Amys Robot’s brain teaser — the surgeon is Salma Hayek’s mother.

  6. AppTechie says:

    Answer: you are arched with your face to the sky looking out for falling hot latinas!! :)

  7. Amys Robot says:

    Johnny, you are the winner. The grand prize: two slightly used rotary telephones, just coming off a lease.

  8. TPIRman says:

    Sweet! A $28,000 value!

  9. LafinJack says:

    I think three acknowledgements of fuckuppery is cause for celebration, too.

  10. Orac7 says:

    I too have used PCHDTV, and they do have excellent service, my card was shipped quick and the designer of the device himself (also the president of the company) replied to a tech support email personally. Well done!

  11. tz says:

    Good service with vehicles? Yes!

    My 1998 Subaru impreza is still alive and getting me around mainly because I get good service at Dwyer and Sons Subaru in Michigan (Oakland County). They usually have a 10% discount coupon, and this saturday I needed what would normally be 11 hours of work which was done in just over 5. Am I going to buy another Subaru from them? I was looking at them in the lots while I was waiting for the tech to finish.

    But I can go one better. I needed another vehicle, and the place was open on Sunday and later on saturday and weekdays, and would even pick it up, do the service, and return it when I needed to have that done. They have been very helpful in every other way both pre and post sale. The only problem is Motor City Harley Davidson only sells motorcycles, not cars.

    HD almost went bankrupt, but they realized what they needed to do to stay in business. And a large part was their loyal dealers. Now if only Ford, GM, and Chrysler would figure this out (before going bankrupt).

  12. RMBatenburg says:

    Interesting example and proof of the concept that customers CAN AND WILL BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED by good customer service. A further thought is that cable companies engaging in this kind of behavior over and over for the next few years will eliminate over builders, begin to take back the dish customers and enable them to mount an offensive against the telephone company attack. Customer service could very well prove to be the key to cable service providers’ long-term success. Given the Cable Industry’s ongoing struggles in the area, who would have thought?