Thursday, April 21, 2011

Customer Service

Recently I've had instances of both good and poor customer service, and because I've continued to think about these experiences off and on, I thought they were worth mentioning here.

When I was off work and re-doing one of my bathrooms last week, I bought a bathroom cabinet with an open bottom shelf that I thought would be the perfect place for a few small decorative touches. Among my errands one day was a stop at JoAnn's fabrics to look at what they had--specifically I was pretty sure I wanted some kind of faux ivy or similar greenery.

Right inside the store, I found an ivy "bush"--a thick stem with wired ivy branches. In the same floral section, I found ceramic tea cups--actually they were half cups meant to hang on a wall. I thought one would fit well on the open shelf with ivy "growing" out of it. Kind of like this:

Of course, during that shopping trip, I found several other things to add to my basket too. The most interesting part of the trip, though, was the checkout, where a friendly young man waited on me. I was pretty amazed when he asked if I planned to make an arrangement with the ivy and the cup; of course, he was right. Then I just about fell over dead on the floor when he asked if I would like them to cut the ivy branches off the stem or whether I had the cutters I needed to do that myself to construct the arrangement.

Okay, seriously, what cashiers ever think about their customers' purchases to that extent and then offer to help? Yes, quite often a cashier will ask what we're making, right? But to really be that curious and responsive to our needs? Amazing!

On the other hand, about three weeks ago I started getting several weird emails from Olde America Antiques. The subject lines made me suspicious, so I didn't open them. There had been a lot of news about hackers getting into the email databases of online companies and I wondered if that might have happened in this case. I accessed the company's website and contact information and emailed them to let them know I'd received odd-looking emails and ask whether they had experienced any problems with their email system.

It will be three weeks tomorrow since I emailed them and I haven't heard a word back. Normally I don't name names when I have a complaint about a merchant, and I wouldn't have this time except I've mentioned the company several times on my blog because I really like their products (they print vintage images on cotton). So, in this instance, I'll make an exception because you need to know that if you've ever ordered something from them, you may have received suspicious looking emails. Really, I don't know that there's any problem with the company's computer system but I figure it's better to be safe than sorry--just don't open anything that looks like it might not be legitimate. Good advice when it comes to any unsolicited emails, right?

As far as JoAnn's excellent customer service goes, if you're in the Sacramento area, visit their store on Sunrise Boulevard and you might be lucky enough to be waited on by the same young man. Too bad he doesn't get tips!


ladybug said...

I love that you mentioned the men who work for JoAnn's - My favorite employee at the location in Modesto is a guy, too....

Sunnybec said...

When you buy something here in France that may be a gift, you are always asked if it is for a gift and would you like it wrapped. If it is a gift it gets wrapped in lovely paper and then tied with ribbon.. Lovely. At the bakery they also put little cakes in boxes and tie those up with pretty ribbon too... Just makes such a difference.

Wilma NC said...

There used to be a guy that worked at Hancock's here in NC who made, sold and WORE kilts. I love a man in a skirt, lol.

Quilt Hollow said...

Customer service is everything to me! If I find a store I love but the customer service is horrible it isn't even worth going back to. Thankfully my favorite coffee house has GREAT service!

Shannon said...

I find myself becoming more and more annoyed with that question. "So, what are you making?" Most of the time they only ask because they have to. I feel if you don't really care then don't bother me. But every once in a while you will get some one that will have a conversation with you about what you are making and that is always great. That was a very sweet young man!