Recently I’ve been noticing how often companies falter when it comes to customer service, even when it’s doesn’t cost them anything. I was talking to my husband about it, and his response summed it all up perfectly for me: “It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.” Well said, hubby.
Here are a few examples of companies/people who could be a whole lot nicer, and some who were really nice. Thank you to the latter, and the rest of you need to get a clue.
Beware the Unknown Internet Company
Even if they’re legit, they still might suck.
I was in the market for a Balanced Body Pilates reformer earlier this year (if you don’t know what that is, look here), and I was researching them on the web. There aren’t a lot of options for finding one, you either get a new one from Balanced Body or you try to find a used one in your area. I was able to find a refurbished one on the Global Fitness site. Now, I’ve been burned on internet purchases before, so I checked to make sure this company was legit before I even considered the purchase. Then I called their 800 number to make sure I talked to a live person. It took me a few calls and voicemails before I spoke with someone, and that made me nervous, but I finally talked to a person and they seemed legit. They had an A+ rating on the BBB.org and they had YouTube videos showing their process for refurbishing. Their units were about half the price of a new one, and when you’re buying something that costs $2500 new, that’s a big difference. I ordered the unit, and was told they were in stock and ready to ship. The thing is, they weren’t. They hadn’t even been refurbished yet. However, I didn’t find that out until almost three weeks later, after many voicemails and emails, and I found out by emailing the Vice President of the company. I had sent him an angry but polite email, because I had been lied to about the unit’s availability and I was angry, but I kept the email professional and courteous.
Now, this guy could’ve replied to me in the same manner, but he didn’t. He was defensive, hostile and rude. And he was the Vice President of the company. I never accused him of not being a legitimate company in the email, but in his reply he seemed defensive about that. He also mentioned that they had never charged my credit card so I shouldn’t complain. It was a long rambling email that infuriated me. I immediately cancelled the order. I was never charged, but I was angry. I will never do business with this company again.
Now, this guy spent a lot of time and energy typing up this email to me, when a short apology and a delivery date would’ve placated me. JUST APOLOGIZE! I don’t want your crap or your excuses, I want to know that you know you have a problem and I want it fixed, and you’re very sorry it happened. That’s all. And it costs nothing.
Instead of giving Global Fitness my business, I purchased a new reformer from Balanced Body. They have amazing customer service. They contacted me after delivery (via email – which is awesome because I hate phone calls) just to make sure the delivery went well and that I understood how to set it up and use it correctly. One of the wheels was bent in shipping and they sent out a replacement right away. I was so pleased with that purchase that I didn’t care it cost twice as much.
They Have Crappy Motels in Paradise?
Last month we travelled to Hawaii for a friend’s wedding. The first three nights we spent in Hawaii at the Trump Tower. We got a great deal on the Costco Travel site, or we never would’ve considered staying there. Now, I think Trump is kinda loony, but let me tell you, this hotel was amazing. The attention to detail and the warmth of the employees was something I’ve never experienced before. I’m not stupid, I know that this is an expensive hotel so you’d expect great customer service. But I’ve done a lot of travelling and I can’t say I’ve ever had service like this before. Free slippers and the packed beach bag with water, fruit and towels made me so ridiculously happy, and they can’t really cost that much. It’s really just the idea that people want you to enjoy yourselves, and they’ll do what they can to make that happen. It’s so simple. If everyone in the service field kept that in mind…but I know that a simplistic view of a complex thing. But maybe that’s what it’s all about, just trying to make people happy.
Unfortunately, the second half of our vacation our lodging was a disaster. We went from the classiness of the Trump hotel to a glorified motel room. I compared it to staying in a spare bedroom in your Grandmother’s musty old basement. It was the absolute worst room I’ve ever rented. This room was located in the Hanalei Bay Resort in Kauai. Some of the units are rented by the resort, and some are owned by individuals who rent them out on their own. I did my research, as always, scouring the internet for the best places to stay. The reviews all said to stay in the individually owned units, which is what we decided to do. I contacted a few places at the Hanalei Bay Resort and most of them were super friendly. The pictures looked great. The reviews sounded great as well. One woman I contacted didn’t have the unit listed available, but she said she had another one that was a little cheaper that was very nice. It had a kitchenette and a great view. The pictures looked nice enough.
We arrived at the resort, and it looked lovely. It was supposed to have an amazing view and one of the best pools in the world. The view was great, if you could actually see the mountains through the clouds. We never used the pool, it was too crowded and wasn’t nearly as nice as I expected. The resort was enormous. You had to call for a golf cart or walk for fifteen minutes to get to the parking lot, which made going anywhere a hassle. The restaurant had closed down so you had to leave to eat (and do anything else). And then there was the unit itself. There was a nasty musty odor, more like a stench, that overpowered us as we walked into our room. It was disgusting. We tried to find the kitchenette, which consisted of a tiny fridge and a teeny-tiny microwave shoved in the corner of the closet. The furniture was old and the bed was a lumpy sunken mess. Awful, awful, awful. I called the owner immediately to complain.
Now, here’s the thing. I know she wouldn’t do anything about it. She had no incentive to do so. We had prepaid in advance and there was no way we’d get our money back. But she could’ve done something more. Apologize profusely. Help us find another place to stay. Clean the unit again. I don’t know….SOMETHING. The only thing she did was send housekeeping to check on the room, and they thought it smelled fine. She said “It’s a tropical island, you have to expect some dampness.” This was our second trip to Kauai. We’d visited our other friends’ rooms in other resorts and none of them had any problems with dampness. That was no excuse at all.
I was so downhearted and here we were on an expensive vacation in Hawaii. How could I enjoy my trip when I couldn’t stand being in this room? I tried to stay optimistic and we spent as little time in the room as possible. However, when I woke up in the morning my chest and neck were covered in red bumps and my throat was itchy. I couldn’t take it anymore – we had to find a new place to stay. We talked to some friends who had rented a three-bedroom unit down the street that was absolutely amazing. They let us stay with them and we split the rent. It was the best decision we made.
Now, here’s the part where I *HOPE* these owners at the Hanalei Bay Resort pay the price for their lack of customer service. I wrote a scathing review on every travel site I could find. And I’m writing one here too. I didn’t notice until after we stayed there that the reviews I had seen where ones that the owner added to the site, so of course, there were no negatives. They don’t even support adding a comment directly on their site, so they’ll never have negative ones. Hopefully people will see my reviews and make a better choice than we did.
Here are the details on this unit. Maybe others are better, but beware before spending all your hard-earned vacation money! The owner of this unit is The Oehm Group in Denver CO. The unit number is 9124 at the Hanalei Bay Resort in Princeville Kauai. I think we spent about $125/night plus a $75 cleaning fee. Please consider your vacation plans carefully before renting this unit. I would absolutely not recommend it. It’s your vacation and you’re spending a lot of money on it. You won’t need to be there often, but when you are you want to at least be comfortable. Hopefully word gets out because we lost over $600 on this rental.
There You Have It
In summary, be nice and don’t lie. That’s all I’m asking for.