In the day and age where almost everything is done online, and you don’t look anybody in the eye when you make a purchase or come to an agreement, “customer service” seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way. There’s something to be said for making physical human hand-to-hand contact when shaking over any kind of arrangement, an unseen bond, a trust. It’s that unseen trust that you hope to never have to fall back on, but rely on being available, in case something comes up with your purchase or agreement. It’s hard to find a company who will not only stand behind their product or service, but who will also go that extra mile just to make you, the customer, happy. In doing so, it creates a special loyalty to a business, and having experienced this twice this week, I felt the need to share a good word or two about two companies who I will always do business with.
Everyone goes through tough times in life, unfortunately that’s just how life works. This year has been especially tough for us financially, due to the long anticipated tax refund (that so many Americans rely on) not arriving as expected, so everything has to be budgeted and every single penny accounted for, and there’s very little leeway when it comes to extras. Add a very old and very sick Pony to the mix and you never know what might happen. This is where the 2 companies I had to deal with came into play. The first was SmartPakEquine – equine supplements. I knew my precious little pony, Mikey, was not doing so well, so I made an tough financial decision to order him some extra supplements to help him. That set me back nearly $50. The company has great products and they offer a unique service, and I have ordered from them before, so that wasn’t a concern. What happened next was very heart wrenching but unfortunately part of life. Before I could even get a chance to use the supplements, our precious boy went on to Greener Pastures. He was in his 30s, so it wasn’t completely unexpected, but I was hoping he’d be with us one last season. I called the company to check on their return policy, as these supplements were specifically packaged for him. What I was told not only satisfied my concern with returning the products, but also went beyond the call of duty by offering me a refund without even having to return the supplements! I could simply dispose of them or donate them to someone whom I thought could use them. And of course I immediately thought of my nearest and dearest friend, who also had an elderly horse who could use an extra boost. I never expected that kind of generous offer so I feel the need to express my gratitude by mentioning it to everyone who will listen, including my faithful readers. $50 might not seem like a lot to some, but I can feed my family of 4 supper for a whole week with carefully thought out budgeted meals!
In the same light, I had a similar experience with another company around the very same time. The folks over at WPMUdev offer a great service for WordPress designers and developers in the form of awesome plugins and a great support forum. I have utilized many of their plugins and help on the support forum, but the ones I am most looking forward to using are the Supporter plugin for an upcoming DIY Farm & Ranch Website Building Service (more to be announced later) and the e-Commerce plugin for any shopping cart site I build. Well worth the price but a little bit higher on the price scale, I had been planning on purchasing an annual membership after my current one was up in June. I was budgeting for it and only had part of the fee saved when I noticed a charge from them on my bank statement. For some reason I was billed early and for a 3 month plan. I contacted the company and instead of simply saying “sorry about your luck” as most online companies would have, they worked with me to figure out the issue and resolve it in a quick and mutually satisfying arrangement.
What has my experience with both of these companies brought me? An extreme sense of loyalty and devotion to use their companies in the face of any needs for any similar products or services. And I am happy to tell anybody that I know that may be in the position of using or needing similar services or products. THAT is how you offer Customer Service the Cowboy Way.