I believe in rewarding companies that go out of their way to care about the people who are supporting them (e.g, buying their products and keeping them in business). I also believe in giving companies who aren’t quite up to par a second chance to do what’s right. If they don’t, then I believe in letting the entire universe know about my experience and letting the market decide if they want to keep that company in business.

Smiles and Kudos

I’ll start with a great example. The JW Marriot in Palm Springs just absolutely WOW’d me. From the moment I stepped into the hotel, nice employees were engaging me with smiles and helping me get where I needed to go. I spent a few days there last month and everyone—from the check-in manager to the guy who delivered my room service, to a maintenance guy at the pool—were ALL superb in their communications with guests. Even when some guests weren’t following the rules, the pool guy offered alternate solutions that showed initiative and friendly help. LOVE them! I have not seen that kind of service in a long time and I’ve stayed at enough four-star resorts and flea bags to know what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s excellent.

Poop and Pitch

So now on to the terrible. I’m sad about this because this is a company that I previously really liked. The Byer’s Choice company makes these unique Christmas carolers that I collect. This past year my parents bought me a caroler that I had just purchased so I ended up with two of the same kind. When I wrote to the company, the first response from them did not address the problem I was asking about—instead I got a curt note that was not personalized, not friendly, and not at all helpful. When I responded again to clarify my request, I got another impersonal, unfriendly, unhelpful answer. No salutation, no name of who was writing to me, and no effort. Their policy is that they only take back the caroler (within 30 days of purchase) if there was a receipt and then they could give a credit to the person who bought it. That doesn’t help me at all.

So, I thought maybe there was just an inexperienced person who responded or they had a bad day. My next and final attempt was to call directly. I got a guy who said the same thing. When I asked if there was a supervisor I could talk to, he said he was the customer service supervisor. When I asked if he was empowered to help me out, he repeated his company line again, “That is not something we normally do.” Okay, well how about doing something not normal? I tried to be nice and let him know that this was not a customer friendly policy and that I can’t understand why (if I had the packing slip and the original box and a caroler in its original packaging) that I couldn’t swap it for another one that was the same price. Nope, still no deal. He then went on to make it worse by asking me when it was bought. When I said some time before Christmas (again, it was a gift), he said they had a 30-day return policy. Thanks dude—now I have another reason to not ever buy from you again.

This company relies on people like me who collect these figures to keep them in business. It’s not a commodity and they aren’t cheap. I’m disappointed and will be telling my friends about the terrible customer service displayed by the Byers’ Choice company. Too bad, I hope it was worth it to them to lose my business and the business of anyone who sees and cares about all the reviews I will be leaving on the Internet about their customer service policies.

If you are a business owner in this day and age, why—when customers make purchases largely based on reviews by other customers—would you hold fast to a policy that is so strict and let’s be honest, unreasonably ridiculous?