Thursday, June 7, 2012

Above and Beyond

So now that I am an wise old lady who owns a home, I have a husband and children I totally understand certain things that before were beyond my comprehension. (like how I somehow only got one leg shaved in the shower, or the value of going to bed before the sun goes down, the ingeniousness of a budget and the love of a good fix it man.)
In all seriousness though I grew up listening to people say things like "you get what you pay for", discussing customer service responses and interesting for my generation, watching people buy things in small stores and paying double the price it was being offered online or at a discount place. It baffled me to be honest and until I got older I never really got it. Now that I am older and wiser I have discovered there are some companies out there that might cost more to buy from directly but who have policies and customer service that go above and beyond the norm. Making it not only more pleasant to shop with them, but also approachable with your problems and concerns. So here is my list of companies that I am more then happy to do business with, they are the places who get our business first, they are head and shoulders above others in standing behind the products they sell or the service they offer and are always quick to resolve any issues.

L.L.Bean- Lets just start with one of the most talked about companies for customer service out there. When you call their 800 number it rings and a live person answers with HELLO. In a day and age of automatic, frustrating speak/type your response this is such a wonderful surprise. Living in Maine we consistently shop at the L.L.Bean flagship store as well as online and in their outlets. We have made numerous phone calls when we have questions about a product and always gotten precise answers and understanding of what we are talking about. The employees always seem genuinely happy to be at work and more then helpful in sorting out what you want/need. Their return policy is superior to none. If you are not 100% satisfied with the product you purchase please return it. They do not want you to have a product you bought from them that you are not satisfied with. The most important part of this is that they MEAN it, they really and truly want you to be happy with your purchase. As a company they want to sell only quality products that people are happy to buy and to tell others about.

Bogs Boots- An Canadian * American company based out of Portland, Or that offers, important to us for our climate, snow boot/rain boot. So when its 20 f, out with muck rain and slush these boots are the trick. With a neoprene shaft and handles the girls LOVE their bogs. We happened to have big sassy's sole wear out near the heel of her boots this December (when boots are needed most), I was very frustrated since they had hardly been worn. After a quick, painless phone call the company happily stood behind their product and sent us a replacement. This speaks volumes to us, we will always have bogs boots in our house because we know that the quality is there and if not the company guarantees the product. They were very pleasant to deal with and had everything handled and in the mail in less then 24 hours. They have a policy almost exactly like L.L.Bean, they want their customer to be satisfied and to feel as though they have the best product for the money.

The Natural Baby Company- More specifically, Gro-via diapers. This is a company that makes and sells cloth diapers, we have used their all in one diapers since Chloe was 10lbs and just love them. However we were part of the first batch of these to be sold and there were quality control issues on two separate occasions. They very promptly troubleshot on the phone and then sent out new diapers with a return package for the diapers that were having issues. They offer what I consider one of the best deals for the quality of product out there in what is surprisingly a very competitive world of cloth diapering. With a receipt and original ownership they offer a surprising 1 year from date of purchase warranty for any manufacturing defects with their diapers. Want a better warranty then that? Purchase them at Kelly's Closet , an authorized gro-via retailer, and you get a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee.

Marriott- We have stayed at many Marriott hotels through the years, and without fail the employees are happy, helpful and manage to make you feel as though you make their job better by being there. Most specifically we have stayed on a longer basis at two particular hotels that went above and beyond. These are the places that hands down we recommend to our friends and family time and again. Residence Inn Portland, Maine and Residence Inn Savannah, Georgia. Having worked hospitality and in hotels almost all of my life prior to being a stay at home mom, I really appreciate when hotel employees take the extra effort to seem to be happy at work. It takes good management who loves their jobs and are very competent and comfortable in their work to hire employees of this caliber and to help encourage them to continue being this way. It also takes a group of smart, bright, self motivated individuals to make you want to come back somewhere, not just for the city but for the experience of being around people who make you feel so welcome.

Xm/Sirius Satellite-An odd one right? We have had Sirius for close to 10 years now, and have always received exemplary service from them. We bought a car last year and had decided to put satellite radio in since we have loved it so much. Mr.Sassy spent close to 2 hours on the phone attempting to spend more money with this company and was treated pretty crummy. We contacted the company and within a matter of hours had a real live person call US on the phone, she apologized for our inconvenience and explained that the agents involved were going to be receiving extra training. I found that pretty impressive, I hate hearing someones in trouble when I complain, actually that's probably a major reason that I do not complain when I feel service was sub par. I was blown away that they didn't mention discipline but rather that they want their employees to learn how to present the face of Xm/Sirius and provide a high level of service and customer satisfaction. They followed up the next day as well to make sure that our radio was working properly and to apologize again and thank us for our continued service.

I am sure that there are many, many more companies that offer extraordinary guarantees and service but these just happen to be the ones we have seen first hand. Anyone know of anyone we left out? Share your experience with a company that has won over your family!

*So having just moved from Toronto, while buying our bogs we were always told they were a Canadian company, lo and behold they are NOT. Based out of Portland, Oregon they started making boots for farmers that could stand up to the cold, wet muck of the outdoors and withstand a beating. They do have a branch based out of Canada, hence my confusion.

(none of this blog or article was paid, sponsored or requested by any of the above companies.)

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