Over the course of  July, guest bloggers from around the world share their good, bad, or ugly customer service experiences…all of them very real. But, this isn’t a forum of complaints. It’s a place to celebrate when companies do well, processes work effectively, service representatives are our advocates, and we leave a situation as stronger believers in the product or service than we started.  
Designer-blogger-fashionista extraordinaire

Designer-blogger-fashionista extraordinaire

Today’s post comes from Katrina, blogger from ‘Sota is Sexy. In my world, Katrina wins the best-dressed award…Every.Single.Day. Her fashion sense flows into every aspect of her life, from graphic design to creative writing. She’s also the most positive person I know. Her optimism inspires me to look on the bright side every day.

 

As self-proclaimed “Queen of the Annoying Dog Moms”, buying this Oscar de la Renta pet dish for my chihuahua Jolie was practically a non-negotiable maternal duty.
Photo via NiemanMarcus.com

Photo via NiemanMarcus.com

It was ornate, ridiculous, and easily twice the size of her tiny, quivering body.

Unfortunately, it was also forty dollars.

Luckily, I live in rural Minnesota. A place where there is a serious lack of appreciation for the finer things in life–such as overpriced designer dog bowls from the Target + Nieman Marcus collection. This meant that after a mere thirty days, my precious ODLR puppy china was on sale for fifty percent off. I snagged two bowls (one for water, one for food) and rushed them home to place directly under Jolie’s mounted chihuahua wall hanging.

Told you I was Queen of the Annoying Dog Moms

Told you I was Queen of the Annoying Dog Moms

It was love at first lick. Even my initially skeptical husband became fan of the giant bowls. “They’re so big, I only have to refill her water once a week!” he exclaimed joyfully.

I smiled with satisfaction. The Annoying Dog Mom Queen had done it again.

For six months, we basked in designer dog dish bliss. The glossy white bowls were a highlight of our kitchen decor, earning of dozens of compliments from various apartment guests. For once in my life, I didn’t long for a secret back room in which to hide our hideous dog bowls. These saucers were designer, and I wanted everyone to know it!

And then things got complicated.

In other words, we adopted a second dog.

Penny the Min Pin

Penny the Min Pin

Bringing home a new dog wasn’t exactly a picnic. Jolie has been an only chihuahua for nine years, and didn’t take well to her new little sister. There was growling, biting, scratching, and even some “pay attention to me” pooping. Yet one problem was so significant, it made all these other issues seem like child’s puppy’s play.

We needed to locate a third Oscar de la Renta dog dish.

“You’re never going to find one,” my husband Scott warned. “That line sold out months ago…we’re just going to have to try our best to find something similar.”

Alright.

If there’s one thing you take away from this post, let it be this:

The Queen of the Annoying Dog Moms is never defeated by a shopping challenge.

In other words?

That third dog dish would be mine.

Fortunately, the search for a third bowl wasn’t nearly as difficult as Scott anticipated. After a few minutes of searching, I was able to locate a brand new one on Amazon. Sure, it was priced at nearly fifty dollars…but I didn’t care. The Queen would be victorious at any cost!

I’ve been a long time Amazon customer, and recently upgraded to Prime a few months ago. It’s easily one of the best investments I’ve ever made. I absolutely love the complimentary video streaming and instant Kindle downloads. Perhaps even more life-changing is the free two-day shipping I’ve grown utterly dependent on.

The second I saw the bowl was Prime eligible, I pressed the “Buy now with 1-Click” button without a second thought.

Scott was going to eat his words!

(Or so I thought.)

I was concerned when the much-awaited package arrived two days later, sounding eerily similar to a box full of jingle bells. Sure enough, I unwrapped the package to discover Penny’s designer dog dish, broken into hundreds of unrepairable little pieces. I gasped so loudly, I suspect it startled the neighbors. A single tear streamed down my face as I realized there wasn’t enough super glue in the world to fix this type of crazy.

(“Crazy” was meant in reference to the dog bowl…but I suppose it might also apply to my  unhealthy obsession with canine dinnerware.)

I rushed to the computer and pulled up Amazon. After two clicks, I had arrived at a page detailing all of my recent orders. The Oscar de la Renta dog bowl was at the top of the list. I clicked on the giant “Return or Replace Item” button next to the product image, hoping the return process would be quick and painless. (And that they would have a second dog bowl in stock!)

Unfortunately, Amazon informed me that because the item was purchased from a third-party, I would have to contact the seller directly.

Contact the seller directly?

This seemed like way too much of hassle!

With nowhere else to turn, I did the unthinkable.

(Clicked on the ‘Contact Us’ link.)

Here’s the part where I explain that I absolutely loathe the ‘Contact Us’ link. It almost always takes me to a poorly designed page where I’m either forced to call an 800 number and wait on hold for twenty minutes, or send an email that will be met three days with an automated response. Still, a small part of me hoped that Amazon would be different.

And they were!

Yep. Totally ordered a regulation size CornHole set. Jealous??

Yep. Totally ordered a regulation size www.CornHole set. Jealous??

I was able to simply select the dog bowl order, and then choose whether I wanted to call Amazon directly, send an email, or begin a live-chat with a customer service agent. Because I hate being on hold, and was too impatient for email, I went with the live-chat option. But I was skeptical. I’ve tried IM-ing with other customer service departments and it hasn’t always gone well.  (Like…I’m-pretty-sure-they-tried-to-hit-on-me-not-going-well.)

I’m happy to say that once again, Amazon took my by surprise.

Henry, the customer service agent who assisted me, was polite, efficient and completely typo-free. He didn’t try to hit on me once! He did however assure me that he would instantly refund the money from the broken dog bowl to my credit card. When he asked me to return the damaged item in the mail, I explained that it was ceramic and had cracked into dozens of small pieces. Because Amazon has a policy that broken glass or ceramic doesn’t have to be sent back, I was saved a hectic trip to the post office.

Henry then replaced my order and upgraded me to complimentary overnight shipping  for my trouble.

The next morning, this happened.

One happy, designer dog family!

I should probably mention that Penny didn’t eat for 11 days after coming home with us. While I realize this was probably from the stress of a new environment–not to mention the fact that she had to battle an extremely territorial chihuahua to get anywhere near her food dish–it can’t be just coincidence that as soon as her new bowl arrived, she rediscovered her appetite.

Amazon, your easy-to-use web interface, convenient contact options, and lightning-fast make-it-right process have earned you favor in the eyes of the Annoying Dog Mom Queen.

Now if only you offered Amazon Fresh here in Minnesota.

(So I could have organic, pesticide-free peanut butter delivered for the dogs each Tuesday, obviously.)

Not all customer services experiences end in hair pulling, head banging, blood-curling screams. Henry was equipped with the right resources to respond and take care of Katrina. Sounds like this Queen Bee is an Amazon advocate for life. Have you had a positive experience with a company?  Share how they’ve turned around a horrible situation into a positive one!

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There’s no exchange of moolah behind these blog pages, pro-deals, or freebies with this series. What you see is what you get; real stories from real people who are sharing their experiences to challenge the status quo, inspire companies to take action, and ultimately build a life long customer.  Be sure to check back for the next blog post about Nike+ Fuelband!

July 1: Are you kidding me? by Evelyn Wolf