Although the last week has been a busy one with almost more time pushing snow around than not (a few hours this morning was spent making it go away instead of relaxing ride on the trails), there were a few instances of great customer service that I experienced in the last week or so that I thought I would share.
I have blogged about some companies where I have ceased to be a customer, so it is only fair to point out when a company goes out of their way to make me happy.
My flight back from Oklahoma City last weekend was eventful to say the lease. First, a big THUMBS DOWN goes out to Delta Airlines overall. They had cancelled my Sunday morning fight back to CWA already early Saturday morning and booked me on a flight out Monday afternoon. However, they neglected to inform me of this. I learned of the change in flight when I was not able to print out my boarding pass Saturday morning. It was not until we talked to the people at the Delta Airline counter at the airport that we learned of the flight change.
Although Delta Airlines overall really dropped the ball, the person who was serving us at their counter at the Oklahoma City Airport (Scott) did a GREAT job. We came in because we couldn’t print the boarding pass. The first person to serve us asked us who changed our flight. We didn’t. Scott was just walking back to the desk and had a sandwich (I assume was his lunch), but put it down quick in the back room to take care of us. It was Scott who told us about the flight cancellations and explained our options. We were debating flying or renting a car, but we had no idea if we would be able to get a car. Scott’s advice was to go ahead and get our boarding pass taken care of for the Monday afternoon flight, but if we did get a car, we could call Delta and cancel it. Even though it was a non-refundable ticket, Delta should issue a refund because of the situation.
It took about an hour to secure a rental vehicle, and we decided to go ahead and cancel the flight while we were still at the airport. Walking up to the Delta counter, Scott saw us coming… I held up a car key while I was still a good distance away and he read my mind and by the time I got up to the counter, he already had the flight cancelled and the refund issued.
Great customer service story #2 also happened at the Oklahoma City Airport. After getting the bad news from Scott at Delta, we headed downstairs to where all the rental car agencies were. I don’t rent cars very often, it has probably been 10 years since the last time. But the last one I rented was from Hertz, a black Mustang that I spent a few days with in Lake Havasu City, AZ. So, that is where I went to first. We told them we were interested in a 1-way rental to Wisconsin, something 4-wheel drive. The lady at the desk said that the only vehicle she could rent on a 1-way basis was a full size, 15-passenger van. Let’s see, I am going to be driving home through a blizzard, so somehow driving a rear-wheel drive sailboat was not my idea of a good time. I did ask that if I was able to go to the Hertz website and reserve a car one way to Wisconsin, then would she be able to rent other vehicles out that way. She said yes, one could be rented that way, she just couldn’t do it.
Well… before signing online, let’s hit the other rental car counters. Apparently, no one does one-way rentals. It wasn’t even an option with National or Enterprise. Avis was the last counter in the airport and our last chance. The girl behind the counter (whose name I really should have gotten to mention here) said that they do one-way rentals. Fine, I need a 4×4 to be dropped of at CWA in Wisconsin. She had a number of SUV’s, but didn’t know if any where 4 wheel drive. She sent one of their lot workers to check them out. However, as soon as she mentioned that one of the vehicles was a Jeep Wrangler, I said DONE… don’t even have to check. Jeep doesn’t make a two-wheel drive Wrangler.
Then came the bad news. They can do one-way rentals, but not to CWA. The Oklahoma City Avis is a “company store” while CWA is a franchise, and the car can only be dropped off at a company store. So… my next question was what was the closest company store to where I wanted to be? I thought that was what she was trying to figure out on her computer while we were discussing seeing how far we could get with the Hertz website. Just as we lost hope, the girl behind the counter said “Done”. So, where to.. Madison? Milwaukee? Chicago? She said nope, we could take the Jeep to CWA.
She was wondering if the company store vs franchise was the real reason, so she started playing around with the computer. And with some other cars, she was able to book me with a CWA drop off. So she did some “back door” computer stuff where she set me up with a different car, then once the drop off was locked in, changed the car to the Jeep, and it worked. Unlike the Hertz lady who basically told me it can’t be done… the Avis lady found a way to make it happen. I don’t rent cars often, but I can promise you the next time I do… its Avis!
The final great piece of customer service happened more locally. I use a John Deere X475 tractor for snow removal on sidewalks. Depending on the amount of snow, I either use a plow blade or a large broom. During the last big snow fall, I had a steering issue. The piece that connects the front tire to the rod for steering just allowed that steering rod to fall off. I was able to snap it back on, and we wired it up for good measure. However, after taking the tractor out Tuesday morning, half way through the rod came off again and no amount of wire would hold it back up there.
Thursday morning I had a little time to take the tractor to Central Wisconsin Co-op (CWC) in Stratford where I have most of the work on the tractor done. Normally I call first, to get myself in the schedule. But I didn’t anticipate having time on Thursday, it just happened… so I loaded the tractor on the trailer and off to Stratford I went.
When I described the problem, the guy at the service desk was almost 100% sure he knew what it was. And after a quick check on the computer, they had the part in stock. He asked me if I had an hour or so for them to fix it right now. HECK YES! This saves me another trip to come pick up the tractor. This was the right front tire, assuming what happened to the right could also happen to the left, and after learning the part was not very expensive, I asked them to fix both sides.
I pulled the trailer around by the shop door and didn’t even get the first tie down undone when the service guy was out there saying .. hey.. there is a lot of room on this trailer.. just leave it sit. So, I don’t even unload the tractor and I start walking around the CWC store (if you are a John Deere fan – which I am – there are few places more cool than CWC). About 20 minutes later, they found me walking around and said I was done. DONE!! 20 Minutes… MAX!
So, this morning, I was able to clear Saturday’s snowfall with the tractor because of the excellent service CWC provided me. However, I do want to say, based on my personal experience with them, what happened on Thursday was no fluke. They have always been great and getting me in and out and often just talking me through things on the phone to save me the trip to Stratford. Actually, once in the summer I went there wearing an old ball cap. It was one I got from Power Pac in Marshfield when I got my snowmobile. The guy at the counter commented that I needed a better cap that that one. (I had completely forgotten that Power Pac also does John Deere lawn equipment.) So, the guy behind the desk just gave me a really cool black ball cap, with the John Deere logo on it from CWC. It is so nice, I just keep it on the front dashboard of the truck.. it looks very good there.
So… Scott at the Oklahoma City Delta Airlines counter, AVIS car rentals and the girl working the OKC counter, and Central Wisconsin Cooperative all have the Dr. Rent SEAL OF APPROVAL for GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!