First, the excellent customer service. I have been dragging my feet about using recycled printer ink cartridges for lots of different reasons, but my ink ran out suddenly in the middle of a job at work. I drove a few blocks to Cartridge World, a local franchise, and bought a refilled ink cartridge. If I liked it I planned to buy more, but this was a test.
It worked beautifully.
For three days.
Inexplicably, my printer stopped working and gave me a strange error message. So I called Cartridge World, where Jeff told me what to do, and asked me to call him back to keep him updated.
It didn't work.
I drove back with my receipt and the offending ink cartridge in hand. Jeff asked me numerous questions, explained what had likely happened, then gave me not one but TWO replacement cartridges in trade. "For a back-up, just in case," said Jeff.
I'm happy to report the replacement ink cartridge has been working perfectly for at least two weeks, but more important, Cartridge World's customer service was fantastic. Jeff listened to me, solved my problem, and effectively halved my cost for my trouble. This is how retail is supposed to be.
But I saw another side of retail customer service that day, and it was pretty awful. I've wrestled with how to present this, because I didn't want to smear an otherwise terrific company with whom I have been very happy for years. So I will call them Stinkbug.
Stinkbug is a web-based full-service photo processing business -- prints, calendars, photo books, photo storage, and more. I generally love everything about them. But I had a problem and sent them a nice e-mail -- not asking for anything, just telling them about the problem and asking how to fix the problem. The answers I got were somewhat defensive, decidedly canned, and ultimately unhelpful. Here are the e-mail exchanges (all names but mine have been changed and all emphases are mine):
and here was the response:
*Laurie here: THAT'S THE PROBLEM. The date did NOT show up on the proof or I would NOT have approved it!
Click on this one to open it so you can read it:
**Okay, is it just me, or was this REALLY SNOTTY?
***Here's what's really funny about these instructions: I have been using the latest version of Firefox since 1.0. This was not the problem.
So, am I just being silly, or would this have ticked you off, too? As far as they are concerned I'm handled. They never checked back and I never pushed it further. Next time, though -- if there IS a next time -- I will be taking screen shots of the proof pages and I will NOT be paying for their mistakes.
At least I still have the Chico Cartridge World -- *sigh* -- my new business crush.