I have read several articles over the last several years that customer service is dead. Or at least I’ve read articles asking if customer service is dead. It however doesn’t take reading about customer service online to know that there are many examples of terrible customer service out there. Rather than complain about companies that suck at customer service, I’d like to take time today to talk about a few companies that don’t.
First we have Buffalo Technology. When my wife and I moved to Austin, TX from Indianapolis, IN I had to move out about three months before she did. In that time she packed up the house and shipped everything to me. unfortunately the power adapter for our second wireless router didn’t make the trip. I had reached out to Buffalo via their contact form asking if it was possible to order a power adapter, and if so how much it would cost. Later that same day I had a response saying that they didn’t sell power adapters by themselves, but he would be happy to mail me one free of charge. When I provided my address he let me know that “since you’re in Austin, TX if you like I can just have one sitting at our front desk with your name on it if you would like to drive by and pick it up. This was well above and beyond my expectations, and it had the exact effect I think Buffalo was looking for. The next time I need to buy a router/access point/commodity NAS, I’m likely to purchase one of their products.
Second, is a company called Kershaw. Kershaw makes pocket knives. They have some fairly inexpensive knives made in China, and some very high quality pocket knives made in the United States. I owned a middle of the road, made in the USA Kershaw Leek. When I experienced a hand full of minor problems with the knife I messaged Kershaw’s customer service via their website at something like 2 in the morning. Not only did they send me replacement parts with no questions asked. They sent me three or four of each part I needed, shipped next day, so they arrived on Thursday. All folding knives I’ve purchased since then have been made by Kershaw.
Finally, and most recently I had a fantastic experience with not one, but TWO companies related to the same problem. My TCX X-Cubed motorcycle boots, purchased in December broke. Not in a way that would have prevented me from riding in them, but it was annoying none the less. I reached out to TCX via their customer service form online, and received a response the following morning from their office in Italy. TCX opened a trouble ticket for me, but then directed me to talk to the company I had purchased my boots from, which in my opinion was acceptable. So I reached out to the second company in this event Revzilla and shared the same information I had previously shared with TCX. Within ten minutes of me reaching out to Revzilla, TCX American partner/importer contacted me saying that “Italy had forwarded my trouble ticket to them” and wanted to know how they could help. I let them know I had followed their instructions and reached out to Revzilla. I mentioned that if I didn’t hear anything from them I would get back in touch. The American partner had high praise for Revzilla, and assured me I’d be taken care of. In the time it took me to read the response from the American Partner, Revzilla had provided me an RMA number, and a pre-paid UPS shipping label. I couldn’t have asked for more!
It’s now one week from when I originally contacted TCX, and I have confirmation from Revzilla that TCX has accepted my return, and I’ve been granted in store credit for a full replacement of my boots. Sure it’s a little annoying to be without something for about two weeks when it’s all said and done, but you know what. Both companies met or exceeded my expectations at every turn.
The moral of this story is, just because many companies suck at customer service doesn’t mean they all do. I’d recommend rather than complain about the companies that get it wrong. Take your dollars to the companies that get it right. Stop rewarding bad behavior, and do reward the good. One of those articles I linked at the beginning of this post says that almost universally bad customer service is our own fault for continuing to purchase products at places that get it wrong.
I can’t recommend the companies listed above any more highly! If you’re in the market for motorcycle boots do yourself a favor and shop at Revzilla, and take a long hard look at TCX. If you need a good high quality pocket knife it’s impossible to go wrong with a Kershaw. Finally all home routers really are roughly the same. Do yourself a favor and don’t overlook Buffalo just because they don’t have the same kind of flashy, high dollar marketing a company like Linksys has.
If you’ve got a killer customer service success story, please leave it below in the comments!