A Mix of Customer Service

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received customer service ranging from very good to very bad. Here are a few that come to mind:

BMW of Bellevue – I needed a turn signal bulb so I visited the service department at BMW of Bellevue. I spoke with a man at the service desk who said the light I needed was $2. I told him I’d take one and he rang up my purchase. He then took a small paper bag and put 5 lights in it and said, “Consider those spares. They will save you a trip next time”.

Hanna Andersson– Two very different experiences at two stores. We visited the outlet store in Woodinville looking for coats for next winter. A size we needed wasn’t available, but an employee called the Portland store, and the coat in the correct size was shipped to us overnight for $10. The next week I went to the Hanna Andersson store in University Village looking for a dress for Luca’s baptism. I walked to the counter where an employee was ringing up a customer. Another employee stood to the side folding shirts. I wasn’t carrying anything and it should have been clear that I had a question. But she continued to fold shirts for nearly 10 minutes, never once asking if she could help me.

Verizon Wireless – Experience tells me that I’d rather have a root canal than deal with a cell phone company. I’ll save the details of my experience with Sprint for another blog, but needless to say, I will never give Sprint another dime. Avoid them at all costs. But two weeks ago I called to cancel our two lines with Verizon Wireless. I was expecting a painful process where I was transferred from one person to the next. But, to my surprise, the first person who answered was able to cancel my account in a polite and efficient manner without the usual run-around. Verizon valued my time and didn’t insult me by saying their computers were down like Sprint did a few years ago. I have no problem recommending Verizon, and would consider going back to them if I have problems with AT&T.

The Pearl – This is a fancy but reasonably priced restaurant located in Lincoln Square in Bellevue. A friend and I wandered in for lunch last week and were met by a friendly hostess. She seated us, and for the next hour we were treated to some of the best salmon I’ve ever had. And yet their prices (at least for lunch) were very reasonable. The service was stellar. Our waitress was there when we needed but didn’t bother us by interrupting our discussion every five minutes. When she heard my friend worked at Lincoln Square she took 20% off the bill. Highly recommended.

DirecTV – I would not want to watch TV without my dual tuner DirecTivo. And when I can’t find anything on TV, I’ll browse through the PPV movies. I’ll usually find one or two to purchase and record to watch later. The key was that I was able to record movies to watch at a later date. The movie was there at the time we wanted to watch. But DirecTV has made a major change to their PPV service. Now each movie must be watched within 24 hours of purchase or DirecTV sends a signal to your DVR which erases the movie! On top of this absurdity, they raised the price of PPV movies from $3.99 to $4.99. This is a knucklehead move on the part of DirecTV. I’ve gone from purchasing a few movies each month to not purchasing any. How is this a smart business move?

Kent Commons – I’ve been playing basketball at the Kent Commons a few mornings each week. Unlike some gyms that won’t let you past the front desk without paying (Yes, you Pro Club and your $18 guest fee), the commons operates on the honor system. A group of us meet in the gym and play for nearly two hours. We then pool our money and pay on the way out. Makes the place feel the quintessential small town community center.