Thursday, December 30, 2010

Orchids and Onions

I'm a big fan of making phone calls.

As someone who used to work in customer service, I know how important it is that a customer finds his or her experience with a company satisfactory. Companies provide a service; if they don't provide that service in an acceptable manner, they should know about it. Likewise, if you have a good experience, you should tell someone about it.

I read an article once calling these letters/calls "orchids" and "onions." Orchids are the complimentary letters and onions are the stinkers, obviously. This lady got in the habit of making calls or writing letters both when service was exemplary and when service was lousy.

To tell you the truth, I'm on hold with Office Depot right now. It's an onion. That's what prompted this post. Yesterday's e-mail to the AMC Theater? Also an onion. 

Sometimes onions yield results. Defective products get replaced. Coupons are sent because they want you to use their products again. Once I bought a pair of Champion yoga pants at Target that started unraveling on day one. String everywhere! I called Champion and told them how much I usually love their products and how disappointed I was with the quality of this particular pair of pants. They sent me a check for the full amount of the pants and apologized profusely. My e-mail to AMC Theaters yesterday got a lousy response, though. It was essentially, "Sorry about your frustration. Here's a link to our holiday pricing policies. Better luck next time." Boo, AMC.

Still on hold with Office Depot, by the way.

Not every call is an onion, of course. Once I called Excedrin just to rave about Excedrin Migraine. That stuff is da bomb. I told them it was better than the prescription stuff I was taking for my migraines at the time and that it's pretty much the best stuff on earth (sorry, Snapple). They sent me coupons for free Excedrin products. When I've had an exemplary experience with someone at a store, I'll call the manager when I get home to let them know how great their employee was. Everyone likes a pat on the back once in a while. I used to work in retail, and I felt so great when I helped a customer find something obscure. I felt even better when they'd tell my manager how knowledgeable and friendly I was. I made a call to Sears yesterday, in fact, to compliment a woman who went above and beyond to help us find what we were looking for. The manager was happy to get the call and seemed genuinely excited to give one of his employees a "high five," as he said.

And I'm still on hold with Office Depot. Going on 25 minutes now.

I try to make as many orchid calls as I do onions. I try to seek out opportunities to tell people and companies what they've done well. It ensures that they'll do more of the same, since someone clearly noticed.

Office Depot finally got back to me—and essentially told me nothing and resolved nothing. Annoying. I do believe they'll get this in writing now. Double onion time!

Do you let companies know when they're doing a great (or not-so-great) job?

1 comment:

  1. I wish I was better about letting companies know when their cemployees do a good job. Unfortunately, I am quick to let them know when I think the blew it. Another thing to add to the "need to improve on" list for 2011!


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