A Tale of Two Companies

Sandy Botkin
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Several years ago, I went to a Whole Foods store to order some special Ezekiel Bread; which is a low carb, low salt bread; and I also wanted to get some organic, self-ground peanut butter. I stopped a clerk in the middle of what he was doing to get directions to these items. I figured he would do what most grocery store clerks would do – just direct me to where these items could be found.

Instead, he stopped what he was doing and walked me over to where the bread was and asked me which type of Ezekiel bread I wanted after noting my alternatives. After I told him that I wanted the low sodium version, he reached in and got me the bread. He then walked me to the area where the peanut butter could be self ground and offered to grind it for me if I wished.

I never forgot this degree of customer service and have always shopped for my food at Whole Foods ever since that incident.

Company two is Dell Computers. I have bought Dell computers for over 18 years, I have been a loyal fan due to their on site, in home service. Thus, I ordered a high-end Alienware laptop from them.

Sadly, I had lots of problems with them… and with my computer. My computer was giving me lots of issues. Thus, I called customer service. Despite having “premier customer service,” I only got representatives that could barely be understood. I can only wonder what I would have gotten without “premier customer service.”

The reps had me spend dozens of hours on the phone with them to no avail. Moreover, they would call me, have the call dropped and never call me back. After at least five different calls on various occasions.

In fact, I had to send my laptop to Dell four times to be fixed (and I am not exaggerating here). I kept asking why they couldn’t just send a technician to repair my laptop since I have the on site warranty, all to know avail. So much for on site warranties.!!!!

I even asked for a refund after 90 days,when my computer was sitting in the Dell Warehouse being fixed ,which took almost 45 days!!! I was told that I can’t get a refund unless I request it within 30 days of receipt and sent back the computer. Thus, even thought Dell had my computer more than I had it, no refund was to be given. Believe me, I tried very hard to get a refund too.

There is no question that Dell’s quality control has some real issues now.

The last time, Dell didn’t have the replacement part that I needed and so sent me a “new computer” replacement, which I found out was a refurbished one and not a new computer. I complained about inheriting someone else’s issues to no avail.

The last straw, however, was that my Microsoft Office would not work because I kept getting an error message that I had two many computers on the license. Obviously, Dell didn’t get a new license for Word and the program thought I was using my old computer.

After spending over two hours… again to no avail, I requested that they just buy a new license. When the agent said “they can’t do that and it’s not their policy” and wanted me to call back, I hung up and bought my own license for a measly $60.

As a result of this crappy customer service, I will never, ever buy another Dell computer again. In fact, you can see that I am spreading the word about them too.

Bottom line: Jeff Bezos , Founder of Amazon, once said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It is our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

The key point regarding your business is to set realistic expectations and then NOT just meet them, but to exceed them, preferably in unexpected and helpful ways. Whole Foods understood this while Dell did not.

Think about this post as you go about your week.

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