It’s been many years since the “Dell Hell” episode in the life of Jeff Jarvis, and customer service across the country continues to have its ups and mostly downs. In my limited experience, however, I sense that companies are really trying to use technology to assist with the heavy lifting today, although we still have a very long way to go (will somebody please invent a replacement for telephone answering technology?).
I want to share with you today a remarkable experience I had last Wednesday with Vanguard USA, a manufacturing company that specializes in photo, video, and hunting accessories. In my case, I was looking for a quick release shoe (see photo) for Alicia’s old tripod, made by Vanguard under the Forceguard brand. My search for this was like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack, and I ended up on Vanguard’s website. They offered 10 or so quick shoes, but the dimensions weren’t offered, so I was stuck. On their contact page, right under their phone number, is an email address. At first, I was taken aback. I mean who knew? I clicked on it, opening my Outlook and presenting me with a simple method of contact.
Below is the entire email chain. Note especially the time stamps. Every company in America (hell, the whole world) could learn from this, and I am happy to present it here for you:
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 12:28pm
To Whom It May Concern:
I’m in need of a quick release plate for an older Forceguard (Vanguard) tripod (MG5-OS). The opening for the plate clasp is 1 1/2″ x 1 3/4”. Do any of your QS products (except #40) fit that criteria? You don’t give the dimensions.
Sorry, but I really NEED this.
7435 S Catawba Circle NW
Madison, AL 35757
Thank you for your email and your interest in our products.
You need the QS-36. You can purchase it from our website at www.vanguardworld.com
We thank you for choosing VANGUARD and we hope to keep you as a satisfied customer.
Vanguard USA Inc
Your are amazing! Thanks.
I ordered the part, Michelle. Too bad I can’t request overnight shipping. Seems like something’s missing in your ordering process. I need that sucker and was willing to pay what’s necessary to get it. Boo-hoo.
Call me here at the Service Center 800–875-3322 x120 and I will see what I can do…
It will be going out today 2nd day air. Tracking # is as follows: 1zew00150265006143
You are SUCH a blessing. Can you give me name/email of your supervisor? I’m so often underwhelmed with anybody’s “customer service,” that I’m really trying to come to grips with the opposite. Love to get you a raise.
Thursday, February 5, 2015 12:48pm
Email to Michelle’s supervisor:
I had just a wonderful customer service experience with a staff member of yours yesterday. I’ve got to say that in all my years of contact with various “customer service” units, I’ve really never had one quite so positive as I had yesterday with Michelle Rainbolt. You know, everybody has horror stories, and I always dread contacting companies, because it’s just so often useless. Just the fact that your company provides an email address online that is actually watched is remarkable, and I appreciate it so much. I sent my need (a little Quick Shoe for an old tripod), and Michelle got back to me within the hour to give me the information I needed. Unbelievable! I then went to your website and made the purchase. Unfortunately, speedy delivery was not an option, so I wrote Michelle back to thank her and tell her I wished I had the option of 1 or 2 day delivery. She got back to me immediately and actually gave me her direct line. So I called and spent 5 minutes on the phone with her, where she was able to arrange 2nd day delivery for me. I’ll now have my part tomorrow, and I am one truly HAPPY customer.
Give Michelle a raise, pat yourself on the back, and go tell your CEO that I said he runs a terrific company.
Thank you so much,
Thank you so much for the kind words for Michelle.
I have shared your email with the whole company, because you are correct too often we only hear the bad.
Lynn A. Slagle