Friday, December 30, 2011

Good customer service exists?

In an age of consumerism, it's nice to know when your voice is heard, and a company is willing to provide good customer service to retain you as a loyal customer.   My mother in law mentioned in one of our early conversations that she writes to companies that provide her with a good service, and many times they respond in kind with coupons.

I've done this a few times with a good return but I was never as loyal of a customer as I am to Martinelli's.  You know, the company that makes those green bottles of sparkling cider for those of us that like to look like we are drinking without actually having to imbibe alcohol?  Sugar is a better drug, but that's beside the point.

About a week ago I bought 8 bottles of Martinelli's from the Safeway down the road from me because they had a sale which made them cheaper than buying them at Costco, which is where I always just buy the packs of four that my husband will consume far too quickly.  I happily got them home and later we opened a bottle. My husband mixed it with a little pomegranate juice and eagerly held it out for me to taste.  Expecting something wonderful I was grossed out when I tasted...vinegar? What the hell? I told him that I thought something was wrong with his drink, but I don't think he has a particularly sensitive palette because he couldn't really tell.  We opened another bottle...same vinegar.  Then I realized that they were the same lot.  I decided to write to Martinelli's expressing concern that an entire lot of their juice might be spoiled and being sold.

What followed was a lovely conversation between a representative of Martinelli's and I, who informed me that the juice wouldn't make anyone sick, since it had been pasteurized. I realize it just turned into apple cider vinegar...which is great in salad, but not so much in my glass.  Last night, after pulling out all the bottles from the first 'sell by date' we opened a bottle from a different date. I made the husband take the first drink.  He didn't have an issue with it, so I tasted...and spit it back out. SAME thing.  So, apparently all of Safeway's juice had gotten too warm and was turned.  I would like to mention here that after this incident, I had some Martinelli's from a bottle purchased at Costco with no issue.

Martinelli's is sending me a refund, since Costco, where I generally buy it, doesn't accept coupons.  I'm conflicted over contacting the store where I purchased the juice to begin with, because they don't care if I am a loyal customer, and they just want to move their stock.  I contacted Martinelli's, not because I wanted them to furnish a refund (I actually didn't know they did that), but because I wanted to make sure people weren't getting sick off of mishandled bottles.

Moral of the story--write to companies. It is worth it for them to send you a refund if they can keep you as a customer.  I just went and bought 12 bottles of cider for my party this weekend (from Costco, the other amazing customer service provider). I'm a loyal customer, and their kind treatment ensured that I would stay that.
Here is a pretty picture I stole from google:)

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes. I have written to a few companies in my day. Usually to complain, but I keep my writings very professional. I remember one time I bought a certain brand of dishwasher detergent (back when I had a dishwasher) and it was supposed to be good for the water supply.....being that it broke down easy or something when it went back to the city water tanks or whatever.
    However, it left a nasty white film on my dishes. Even after scouring them by hand I was not able to get some of my plastic spoons back to their normal hue. I tried several different loads.....even cleaned out the dishwasher to make sure it wasn't the machine's doing.....and still had the same result.

    So I wrote to the company and explained that their detergent that supposed to be good for the water supply was actually wasting water because you had to re-wash the dishes. I wasn't asking for a refund, but I just wanted to let them know of their inferior product.

    A few weeks later I received several coupons for other products they made, and some time later I noticed that detergent was no longer being sold.

    Did I have a hand in that? Who knows.

    That's just one example of the many times I've written to companies.

    But you are right. I should also take the time to give positive feedback as well.

    I do write good reviews to local restaurants on urban spoon and yahoo!, but that's about it.


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