Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Little Touches that Kick Ass

Just two happy customer service stories.

Number one: it's indoor season in Houston. This may be hard for those of you who don't live in hot, muggy, swampy places to relate to, but August is the time of year when Houstonians spend lots of time inside. It's not like the happy days of November or February, when we can don our shorts and run around outside. It was about 100 here yesterday, air thick as pea soup, and so we stay inside. And we don't open our windows. (In my neighborhood of historic bungalows, there was apparently a craze to seal your house shut years ago: there is exactly one window in my house that can be opened. That's one more than my partner has in his. I've seen real estate sheets that breathily exclaim that "the windows open!" as a special feature for older houses.)

And so it gets stale inside. And so I like candles. Soy candles, specifically. They don't throw so much crap into the air. They make it smell nicer inside, until summer ends and I can throw open my window, or open the doors, and let fresh air in.

I had heard several people mention these folks, so I ordered a couple of candles. And then I got an email from the owner telling me that he was so happy to get my order, and when they were going to make my candles, and when they'd ship them.

Totally personal, totally nice. I loved it. No, most businesses can't do this. But they can - so they do.

Number two: Apple. A while back I bought some music on iTunes using their "complete your album" feature. (If you have two tracks from an album you can quickly get the rest of it.)

Out of the blue I got an email telling me that they'd messed up and charged me 1 cent too much per song. I never noticed. To make it up to me, they sent me a $10 gift certificate to the iTunes store.

Now, they probably overcharged me by less than a buck. But to make sure I didn't get upset, they gave me $10 of music.

And I didn't even have to catch their error. (I never would have, honestly.)

That kicks ass. Is it any wonder their customers are so loyal?

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