23
Nov
08

Customer Service is NOT Dead: Best Companies I’ve Dealt With

In today’s word of big name multi-conglomerates many times customer service is tossed to the wayside the the name of lower prices (or whatever excuse they may come up with). Anonymous shopping is the fad now, go in and buy what you want and get out. We see this at many grocery stores now where we can self check-out. I admit that I am guilty of these self check-outs, especially when I only have a few things to buy. However, there is something special about checking out with a person, a human being. In the online world, we can’t have that experience because there is no face-to-face. So we must rely on phone calls and E-mails to converse with our merchants.

Over the years I have had some good and some bad experiences with merchants, both online and offline. Here are the ones that I have had excellent experiences with. I urge you to give them a try if you are in the market for what they are selling. Also, if you have someone that you would like to recommend, then please let me know. I am always on the lookout for places that still value their customers. I am only listing companies that I have had contact with their customer service.

Offline Stores:

REI – (Athletic/Outdoor Apparel): I have shopped at REI since about 2001. I have always encountered friendly sales people that knew a lot about their merchandise. But it normally doesn’t stop there, they normally know about their products because they themselves use it – they are not just salespeople, they are end-users as well.

La Famiglia Pizza and Pasta, no website – (Food): I’ve only been to this place twice. Both times the food was awesome – permitting that you like big huge thick pizza. The place is not anything special, just a counter with some little tables spread around. But, man, this pizza is the bomb. The second time I went I came with two friends, both of which are freaking pigs (they eat a lot, bottomless pits) and between the 3 of us, we couldn’t finish one of their large pizzas. The staff is fun and likes to laugh and challenge you to eat their whole pizza. I guess not many people have finished their pizzas, especially their big one.  Winner of Best Neighborhood Italian Resaurant in 2002, too.

Online Stores:

RoadID – (Outdoor Safety Equipment): I did business with this company back in 2004. I wrote them asking them which product they would suggest. They suggested that I get one of two products. The thing that was great about this company was that after a month after receiving my product, they contacted me to see how it “fit” me. Maybe this is more common than I think it is, but it wasn’t just some random shmuck that was making his rounds – this was the founder of RoadID. And when I responded, we had a small conversation. It was nice to know that the owner of a company would take time out of his day to write and converse with me not only about his product, but also about life.

NewGrips – (Athletic/Outdoor Apparel): I recently have gotten back into body building. I was on the hunt for some weight lifting gloves, due to my hands getting tore up. I found a small company, read a few reviews and decided that I wanted to order from them due to their innovative product (plus I like to be the one guy in the gym with odd products). Later I got a “welcome” E-mail from them and they were talking a “product tips” but at the bottom they talked about Gold and the Declaration of Independence. Whoa! Back the train up – that is right up my alley. I wrote them back and have been tossing E-mails back and forth about a few subjects. I feel that I have not only found a good company, but a friend.

Arriva – (Electronics): Like so many other times, I was on the hunt for something unique. This time, I was on the hunt for some earphones. How, unique can I get with earphones I asked myself. I ended up finding Arriva as a company with a totally new approach to earphones. Their earphones hold onto your head. If you don’t understand this, which you shouldn’t by that description, then go to their website. I ordered the in-ear canal version and got them. How freaking cool. However, after fiddling with them for a few days, I just couldn’t get them to stay in the ear (you need to get the buds to stay in your ear canal for good sound with canal buds). I E-mailed them to see if their other version, the iPod headphone style would work better. They wrote back within like 10 minutes saying, “Yeah that should work great for you. What is your address?” I was a bit confused, did they just want to send me a new pair or what? I wrote them back and asked them if they wanted the ones that didn’t fit or what, they said yes, but whenever I got to it, and that they already had the new ones ready to ship out to me. I was shocked. Most places want you to send your product back, charge you for restocking, then send you a new item. This company just wated to make me happy and trusted that I would send them the old ones back. Whoa. Amazing. Awesome customer service.

So there you have it. Those are my top companies. There are more out there, but these are the ones that have been burned into my brain. Anyone can sell a product, but these companies have shown me that they care about their customer before, during, and after the sale.

I will update the list as I meet more 5-star merchants.

(Other companies that are almost 5 stars in my book (good prices, good deals, seem to know a lot, but I have not had experiences with their customer service, so they can’t get a 5 star rating from me) are as follows: BodyBuilding.com, Albertsons, Newegg.com, TongueStud.com, and Zappos.com).

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