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Sometimes it “pays” to be nice

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in General | Posted on 20-06-2006

Last week I was in Boston, MA for Tech Ed. Roughly 10,000 – 15,000 IT professionals decended upon Boston to add to the already horrible traffic situation. It was my first time in Boston and I had a blast. I went to Cheers twice, Jullians, Avalon, Fenway Park and of course the Convention Center where I walked about 10 miles a day (no joke). Before I left for Boston I was trying to get an order re-filled for my contacts. My eyes are extremely sensitive to light and this is why I typically have a pair of sun shades on my head even in the heart of winter. I have been using 1-800-Contacts for several years now to get my contacts. The only *catch* using them is you have to have a valid prescription. Right before leaving for Tech Ed mine ran out. So I got an appointment, got a new prescription, called 1-800-Contacts and placed my order on a Wedensday before leaving on Sunday. Since I had already placed an order before they told me I would get priority shipping and my shipping costs would be waived. Great. It turns out USPS doesn’t give a damn about its 1-2 day express shipping. To them it means, 1-4 days. They just don’t care, litterally. Fed-ex will drive through swamps and face a huricance head on to get your package delivered in 1-2 days. To make a long story short I had to leave for Boston without contacts. I called 1-800 and they were going to ship me another order to Boston and I was to instruct my wife to refuse the package when it arrived to the house from our lazy friends at the postal service. Turns out there were problems with the shipping address. For some reason a major carrier has trouble finding a 25 story &#*#$^^*#$ing hotel! By this time it was middle of the week and I just said screw it, I’ll deal with it when I get back home. This morning I called into 1-800-Contacts. Side note here. Usually when you call a place like this you expect to be on hold. 9 times out of 10 when I call the phone rings and I get a rep immediately. No pressing this number for this, or dial this extension for that, just straight through to a sales rep. I sure wish the rest of the world would pay attention to this. Put your freaking sales people as the first line of defense! We have the same philosophy where I work, get a human on the phone with a client as soon as possible. Moving on. I knew I was going to have to explain this long story to the sales rep so being a great southern story teller with years of experience I began painting a verbal picture filled with southernisms. The gentleman on the other end said, “Mr. Elder I really appreciate you explaining that. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot with this. The first thing I am going to do is put a $10 credit on your account. You’ve been so patient, most people would be yelling and cursing at this point at me.” I then said, well, it isn’t your fault so what’s the point. The gentleman on the phone then created a new order and as shipping the contacts business overnight. So this little order has cost them 2 expedited shipping fees and $10.00. Now of course they aren’t making any money on this order, but it doesn’t matter, I’m a happy customer because the sales rep showed compassion and my problem was fixed in the most expedited manner it could have been. The $10 credit is just a bonus to this whole mix-up. The moral of the story is, it doesn’t matter if the business screws up. The real true test of a company is how they “fix” or “handle” the problem after something does get messed up.

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