This was not a planned post, but I had an amazing experience today that I had to share with all of you. I needed to get my picture taken for my passport and was looking to do it on my lunch hour. Being the diligent customer that I am, I called my local UPS Store and verified that there was someone there able and willing to take my photo. On my lunch, I grabbed my purse and drove over and after standing in the middle of the store for a few minutes, an associate asks if they can help me. Not how, but if. I mention that I need my passport photo taken.
"I just called 20 minutes ago to double check."
"Well, it's been broken since last night."
"I talked to a gentleman?!"
"Oh. He doesn't know it's broken."
Thanks, genius. I figured that out. So after arguing with me about whether or not the machine even worked, I got a half hearted sorry and was told to go elsewhere. Annoyed and realizing I didn't have all day and still needed to grab lunch, I drove down to my local Wolf Camera. I was a little grouchy and visibly flustered when the associate behind the counter asked what he could do for me. I told him I needed my passport photo and the experience of the next 8 minutes completely made my day.
"Great. I'll meet you in the photo area." (points to where I need to go)
"I can't smile, right?!"
"Well, you can smirk, but they really prefer you not to smile... I'm going to take three photos and then we'll review for the best one, okay?!"
After taking my photo and making me feel better about them looking HORRIBLE, he proceeded to ring me up.
"Are you going anywhere soon?"
"Yeah, ______ (you'll have to wait and see!) in October for my honeymoon."
Visibly happy and excited, "That's great. Congratulations! That sounds like so much fun. And you are so smart to be getting everything done in advance. Passports can take a couple of months."
We had some small talk where he told me about other customers who waited until the last minute and again, congratulated me on my engagement and wished me a great trip. He also said how he was looking forward to helping me in the future. And I believed him. This young man literally made my day. I came in so annoyed and frustrated and left completely satisfied. I am in an industry of customer interaction and so I am mindful of both how I act and how I am treated when I go into a business looking to spend money. I paid more for my photo at Wolf than I would at the UPS store, but the associate totally made up for the cost- I didn't mind paying for the excellent service.
And of course, this got me thinking about wedding planning and the customer service I have experienced thus far. I remember going to a bridal expo (I think every bride should go to one. Just to experience it. Some hate it, some love it, but all should experience it) where I gathered information and samples from the vendors across the venue. I made little notes to myself on the vendors I liked and disliked and didn't think of them again until it was time to start selecting a particular vendor. One of the things I have struggled with lately is wedding cake and one of my friends (who is also a bride in waiting and author of ring around the roses) suggested the lady she is using and the price range. I was so excited; until I checked her website and saw her picture. I remembered her from the wedding expo and it was not a friendly image; she was cold, rude and not engaging. I remembered thinking 'I will NOT be using her for my wedding cake.' And so even though her prices are right, I won't even bother to call her. And I'm sure she is a pleasant woman- and I hope my friend has a fabulous experience with her. But first impressions and overall customer experience go a long way. Especially in an overpriced industry like weddings.
I have to say- I have some pretty awesome vendors who are attentive, respectful and all around rock in the service area. I can send them the most random emails and they always respond with care- realizing that though this may be my 40th email on the color of dahlia's we'll be using, it is my wedding and it's a very important time in a persons life. They may not be the least expensive in the area, but to me they are worth every penny. So when things go a little over budget, I don't mind- their customer service skills more than makes up for the extra $50.
So in closing, how have the brides out there been treated thus far?! Have any amazing (or horror) stories about customer service?