Twitter, Zappos & My Love for Both

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My love for Twitter is well documented.  My love for Zappos, not as well documented, but I do believe that it is an amazing company.  Whenever we’ve needed shoes for the family, and they aren’t an impulse buy, we hit up Zappos.  The service there is impeccable. Low cost, high quality shoes delivered to your doorstop.  It is a beautiful thing.Much has been made about Zappos being on Twitter.  I’ve been following Tony, Zappos CEO and the voice of Zappos on Twitter, for a few weeks and, like following any CEO, it is always intresteing.Holly and I have been over due on running shoes for a while.  We have been wearing Asics Gel-Nimbus for about 6 years and have no plans to change, but our latest pair have far too many miles on them.  Last night, a tweet about being part of the Zappos VIP program went out and I noticed it just as I was leaving the office. Sweet, perfect timing, I’ll get home, check it out, sign up, order my shoes and have them in time for a run on Saturday morning.Of course, disaster struck when I got home and I found that my router had died.  No internet, no VIP program, no shoes.  First thing this morning, I DM’ed Tony at Zappos to see if I could still get into the program.  He replied almost immediately, hooked me up with Rob, a customer loyalty manager, all was well and I was welcomed into the party.  Tonight, I ordered shoes.  My knees are giddy with anticipation.A year ago, I might have been able to email Tony, but I never would have been alerted to the program at Zappos in the first place.  More than likely, I still would have ordered the shoes from Zappos, but there is a chance that I would have swung by the running store down the street and grabbed them too.  Today, Zappos pretty much ensured that no matter what, all shoe purchases will come from them.Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Customer Service – Compare and Contrast – Updated

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Over the past 2 weeks, I have had two incredibly different customer service experiences, 2 very different results and 2 surprises in the attitude from the companies that I have dealt with.Let’s start with the good. Despite what the the team at Consumerist says, I’ve always had really good experiences with Comcast. Maybe I’m lucky, but I’ve found their product to be excellent, always available and their customer service, when needed, to be available, polite and helpful. From anecdotes, I recognize that I might be in the minority here, but I’ve always felt that they do a good job.Yesterday, I needed to log into my account and couldn’t remember my password and the password reset feature was broken. Rather than call, I had heard a lot of good things about ComcastCares on Twitter, so I decided to give it a shot. I sent a message and sat back. Amazing!Within an hour, I got a direct message from Frank, who manages the account. He explained that they were having some trouble with that server, but that someone would call me directly to get my account issues resolved. Within another hour, I got a phone call from Melissa who again, explained that the server was down, but that another agent would contact me when it was up to walk me through the process. First thing this morning, I got a call from George letting me know that the service was up and that he was happy to walk me through resetting my password. Was there anything else that he could help with? Sure, my bill is too high, can you help with that?He couldn’t, but that someone in the local office would call me to review my services. Sure enough, I got a call a few hours later from a sales manager to walk me through my bill and get me a lower rate. I had a bunch of meetings this afternoon, so I’m still working on that one, but for the past two days, Comcast gets an A+++++ for customer service. I’m blown away.UPDATE: Please see my updated post on the matter around Lulu.com. Things are working out for the best!Compare that to Lulu.com, the self-published book site. Ugh. Where do I start. A few weeks ago, CovervilleTimely Persuasion by Jacob LaCivita. I loved the description of it (click the link for that) and ordered it off of Lulu. ran an ad for a great sounding book calledFirst, they have a really confusing check-out process. Maybe I’m too accustomed to Amazon, but I found it very unintuitive. But my point is on customer service. Lulu does printing on demand. When I got my book, the cover was that of Timely Persuasion (the book I wanted), but the content of the book was printed wrong and there was some other book on the inside. No biggie, these things happen.If you run online customer service, Zappos or Netflix should be your bar. After dealing with them, anything else will be a disappointment.I go to Lulu’s online chat for support to get a new book shipped out. I figure I’d chat with someone, explain the problem and they would send out a new, correctly printed book. No such luck.My support rep via the chat did everything but accuse me of lying about the problem and went so far as to explain that their policy was to have me scan in images of the book and email them with these images at which point they would decide what to do. He also went on to explain that, while he couldn’t do anything that night, that someone would contact me via email for a resolution in about 2 days.30 minutes of chat and 7 days later, I hadn’t heard from anyone at Lulu. Yesterday, I filled out another customer service form and today I received the response that, again, they need me to scan or take pictures of the book and email them in.IMO, this is a screwed up process for Lulu. This is a $15 book that we are talking about not a plasma TV that I’m trying to scam out of them. Instead of printing out another copy and sending it to me (i.e. make the customer happy), they are accusatory, annoying and have probably spent well over $15 trying to solve the problem. Lulu customer service = FAIL.