CUSTOMER CARE- There was a time, not so long ago, when the Chamber and other business leaders here became alarmed at the lackluster customer service and welcoming skills demonstrated by our retail and restaurant employees- the most critical workers in a tourist economy. Well, I am pleased to report that anecdotally at least, the customer service bar seems to have been raised and I have been showered with customer care of the highest order just in the past week, and largely from businesses I had never dealt with until recently. To wit:
My iMac started telling me it could not complete its backups and was also unstable in other ways. I hadn’t had it worked on since before the demise of Capital Business Machines, so I called Cornerstone Computers in Henderson Center, largely because they were willing to make a house call. They fixed it in an hour, but then the next day it started having power problems, so I ended up taking it back in. Of course, as soon as it got to their store it started working perfectly. They ran some tests, kept it on for 3-4 hours to make sure it wasn’t overheating, then I took it home and now everytime I turn it on it performs better. They didn’t charge me for the in-shop work. They have made a new friend and I will be using them again in the near future to undo some of the CBM work that seemed like a good idea at the time.
I stopped by Mike’s DriveUp for an LA/Tommy’s style cheeseburger and a shake. It was supposed to be a chocolate shake but only tasted of vanilla. The next time I went in, I explained the problem and asked if they could put more chocolate syrup in the shake this time. They not only did so but refused to charge me for my new shake. Now, I always cringe a little bit at their political literature on the counter- politically they seem to be to the right of Louis IV and I’m a lifelong Democrat- but I can see how hard they work and how they came to their point of view. They are NFIB members and the kind of salt-of-the -earth people who made this country great. They want to put up Obama cartoons, let’em. I will gleefully boycott certain establishments (Walmart, Safeway) but Mike’s had me at “Chili with that?” I’ll be back, you bet. (No website, phone 707-442-4755).
Also last week I slammed the driver’s side door of my Cruiser on the seat belt in such a way that it jammed and I couldn’t open the door. I called AAA and was told they couldn’t help me because “you can turn the engine over.” Well, yeah, I could turn the ignition but you can’t steer a car from the passenger seat, or if you can, I’d like to meet you. I called Lithia, where Robert reassured me that a fellow named Bob at Humboldt Lock and Safe (no website, phone 707-445-4865) would fix me up without us having to tow the car. (This happened when I was trying to take the iMac from the first story above, back to Henderson Center.) Anyway, Bob got down on the concrete floor and went through numerous and demanding procedures; I never saw anyone work so hard in my life. He got the door open in an hour and advised me to appeal my bill to AAA, which I am in the process of doing. Humboldt Lock gets good grades for customer service. Let’s see how AAA does.
Finally, a couple of years ago I had a new furnace installed through the PG&E Energy Partners program, which replaces old appliances with energy-efficient ones. Recently, the thermostat stopped working. I made a few calls to the program, whose hotline was staffed with people who knew very little, then finally I called the contractor who had installed the furnace, Evans Mechanical. Within four days I had a new thermostat. Service was superb. Enough said.
Do you have any customer service heroes or heroines who deserve recognition? Tell us about them!
FORSTER-GILL FADES AWAY – Cutten breathed a collective sigh of relief last week when County planning staff confirmed that the ill-conceived “second city” development has been relegated to the inactive file. There is still a nuisance lawsuit filed by F-G in the system, but all in all it appears the intense opposition from the residents and the concerns of the Eureka City Council over adding retail space to a town with many many retail vacancies carried the day. I couldn’t agree more. Let’s fill the empty storefronts downtown and in Henderson Center before initiating a sprawl south of town.
Happy Official Summer! It’s been a long time coming.