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Aug 14 2005

Tales of Great Customer Service

Perhaps I'm spoiled dealing with very capable and professional people in my work. Because, when I leave the office, it seems like the majority of my interactions are with idiots...people who are rude, ignorant or who simply have grossly misplaced priorities. Here are three tales from this past week that started out on a poor note but ended with great customer service experiences.

240megabloks.png (1) We recently acquired some Mega Bloks for Drew or, more accurately, some more Mega Bloks for Drew. He loves them! But, after reviewing the enclosed products brochure and then visiting their website, I noticed a discrepancy in what we had received and what they advertised. I called Mega Bloks on their well publicized toll-free number, expecting the typical automated system and was pleasantly surprised by the friendly live voice, "Hello, Bonjour." Their Canadian, eh.

I stated that I had a non-safety related complaint to make, expecting that I would begin an odyssey of transfers and please-holds. However, to my continued surprise the same person who had answered my phone call also assessed my problem and offered a generous solution. She was never defensive and genuinely appeared to want to help me and, in fact, remedied my complaint far beyond my expectation. We will continue to be a loyal customer of Mega Bloks and pass their praise on to others.

241bandwidth.jpg (2) While reviewing my website's logs earlier this week, I noticed one of my images that I host being used on number of eBay auctions. For those not familiar, it is somewhere between being rude and outright stealing to use an image, especially on a commercial site, without permission that someone else hosts. The image was being used by a company that sells a fair amount of stuff on eBay and was selling multiple instances of this particular product. So, my image and my bandwidth which I pay for were being used to support a half-dozen eBay auctions.

When one discovers this type of activity, there are several options that present themselves. Some just substitute an image that says something generic like, "Please stop stealing my bandwidth." Other times people will substitute something more humorous often insulting the user. And, other times the person hosting the image will substitute an inappropriate image in order to teach a lesson to or embarrass the image poacher. I thought I'd take the high road and sent an email to the company and called their customer service number to point out their transgression. After being transferred to their technical department, I was assured that using images hosted by other websites was not their normal practice and that the problem would be immediately corrected.

The next day, however, several of the company's auctions continued to use my image. Having given them every opportunity to correct their error, I switched images on my server and now all of their auctions using my image showed the image on the right. Being the good guy I am, I also called their customer service number again and informed them of the switch. Within an hour all of their auctions using my image had finally been pulled. I considered the matter closed. Then, I received the following email from the CEO of the company:

I wanted to apologize for the unauthorized use of one of your graphics for one of our ebay auctions. This action was one of pure laziness by one of my staff members. This employee is no longer with our organization. Ultimately, as the owner, I take full responsibility. Thank you for your understanding.

I had thought about doing a post slamming the company so that anyone searching for it would know of their poor business practices. But, after receiving this email and others I've exchanged since with this individual, I no longer have a desire to badmouth the company. It is rare and very much appreciated when someone in charge steps up and takes responsibility especially over something that is relatively a small matter.

[Just FYI, my post complaining about Federal Express is third in a Google search for "FedEx Sux" and fourth for "FedEx Sucks."]

242volvos80.jpg (3) A couple of weeks ago, I was exiting a parking lot waiting to make left-hand turn. While I was stopped, a Hummer coming down the street from the right was making a turn into the parking lot I was exiting and the driver was, apparently, focused solely on oncoming traffic which she was turning left in front of. She turned right square into me, swerved at the last second and scraped my front left fender. So, egregious were her actions that someone who had been behind her, pulled up to my car, said that the collision was 100% the other driver's fault and that they'd be a witness if I wanted.

The young girl was very apologetic. We exchanged information and I also got the witnesses' information...just in case. It turns out the girl's family is well off and had bought the girl and her four older brothers whatever car they wanted when they got their licenses and none of her brothers from high school, to college, and on until they were on their own insurance had ever had a single accident or claim. But, the girl had had so many accidents that her parents decided to pay for my bumper, trim and headlight themselves rather than submitting it to the insurance company. The girl, her family and their insurance agent were all very nice and forthcoming with payment in excess of all damages.

I got the car fixed at Fox Collision. The experience was so pleasant and they did such a fantastic job that I will not hesitate to return there in the future. The car came out as good as new. They detailed the car and did such a fine job as if I'd done it myself which is about the best compliment I can give them.

Posted by Don |


  1. Love your experience with bandwidth leechers. :) Initially I wanted to tone down my message to them, but seeing where referrals where coming from I figured I'd make it caustic. Honestly, having followed referrals back to vampire forums, some death metal discussion boards in Netherlands and such I realized those folks considred bandwidth theft a norm of life.

  2. #2
    Jan said on August 15, 2005 | Reply

    You know, there are so many people using computers with little experience, I think they don't even understand bandwidth and how it can be "stolen." I know I don't!

    If I see an image and save it to my computer, does that steal bandwidth? Or does it only happen if I link to it? I have copied images to send in emails to friends before - did that steal bandwidth?

  3. I've had complaints with several child product companies which were turned around into fabulous interactions due to wonderful customer service and immediate action to correct the issue. Its amazing how well people treat you if you just give them the chance. My father is pissy with his complaints and has never had a pleasant experience with the "at-fault" companies. If he would only quit complaining and let them speak, he might find out how much there are really willing to help!!

  4. One bit of caution regarding image substitution. Your replacement image can suddenly become the target of abuse instead of the warning it was intended to be. The "Please stop stealing my bandwidth" image above was mine to discourage eBay auctions using pictures. Unfortunately my experience with directly emailing abusers was less successful.

    Soon after using the image it suddenly became popular as a forum avatar. In November 2005 alone I recieved 12319 requests from a single referrer site. All of those were *weeks* after I'd removed the image from my server entirely.

    I've since used mod_rewrite to redirect off-site referrals to normal pages instead.

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