The Holy Grail of Customer Service

Customer service is my bugaboo. As someone who goes out a lot and spends perhaps too much of my income on consumables (or at least so says my financial planner), I am incredibly aware of how I am treated, and make my decisions accordingly. I'm also not shy about letting people know (as those on my Twitter feed can attest).

Case in point: Punch Pizza, for whom my love is well-documented. I made an offhand tweet recently about how the service had been a little off but how G.D. good the pizza was, so I forgave it. Soon after got a tweet asking what happened, and an exchange of information about what I was disappointed in, how it could have been better, and a gift certificate in the mail (against my protestations, since it really was not a big deal.) Well done, and if I wasn't already a customer for life, I would be now.

A similar situation happened over the summer with Pizza Luce, including an email exchange. And then, radio silence. Not even a "Hope you'll give us another chance!" Won't be brunching there soon. And Heidi's? After a horrible experience there a few years back, and them swearing (after Patrick called them about it) they would look into it and then never calling back — well, I don't care if the new location is giving away truffle risotto and a 1932 Bordeaux, I'm not going.

Same with service industries. my roofing company (Springer Exteriors, for those keeping track) has been amazing at helping us deal with recent hail damage, even though it did not affect the roof at all. They've made 3 trips out here to help with work they didn't even do. The Sears Appliance Outlet responded to a frustrated tweet I made a while back and solved the situation with grace and humor. I have to say that, though I love my Select Comfort bed, their customer service has been abhorrent; jy side of the bed leaks so badly I wake up in a deflated section with pinched nerves and all they can do is tell me it will cost $100 to fix it. Or I could just buy a new bed...

I guess what I am saying is that I have a lot of things I look for in a shopping experience. I prefer to buy locally if possible, and I like establishing a relationship with the business. But top on the list is customer service, and it's pretty much the make-or-break of how I spend my money. And I'm not shy about talking about it.

What about you? What are your top (or worst) experiences?

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