Remember "Customer Service" meant "we care about you and your business and will do whatever we can to make you happy"? These days, Customer Service seems to be more about companies following strict policies and doing as little as possible to keep the customer happy. You often encounter inexperienced, indifferent, unknowledgeable individuals who are just collecting a paycheck and who couldn't care less about your particular issue. In fact, it is this customer service attitude that makes me dread calling anywhere when I do have an issue (which I think may actually be the point...).
Anyway, it is pleasantly surprising to me when I have an acceptable customer service experience, and downright shocking when an individual goes out of his or her way to make me happy. This has been my experience with Babyworks, a small mail-order
company based in Portland.
Some of you may have read my cloth diapering story that has turned into a bit of a saga. You can read my initial glowing review of Babyworks in Part 1, here. Well, as I mentioned in Part 2, I have some issues with the diapers I ordered and am having to send them all back to Fuzzibunz, the manufacturer, to be replaced.
Fuzzibunz has a strict policy that all returns must be accompanied by proof of purchase or they will not be accepted. Well, when I looked for my invoices, I found one but not the other. At the insistence of Jason, I called Babyworks to see if they had copies of my invoices and if so, if they could possibly e-mail them to me. They readily agreed to send over my invoices and expressed sincere concern that my diapers weren't working out for me.
Now this alone might seem like a pretty good customer service experience, but it gets better. the first e-mail came up with blank invoices, so I had to call back. I spoke with someone again and she apologized profusely and sent over the invoices right away. Well, because of some confusion with how we ordered our diapers, and back-orders and various other little things, the initial batch of invoices that sent over didn't match up with what we had. When I called up to see if they could resend and perhaps clear up the confusion, someone spent a good 10 minutes or so helping me figure it out and then re-did and resent the invoices to match what I have. At no point did she seem irritated or annoyed with me. When I expressed amazement to my mom that they were willing to put so much work into helping me with this, she commented that they didn't really do it right the first time, so i shouldn't feel bad and I shouldn't really be all that impressed. I disagree, and here's why:
First of all, it was completely my fault that I didn't have the invoices in the first place. I should have been responsible and kept track of them. I would not have been surprised if, when I called, someone either said that they no longer had the invoices, or at the very least acted irritated with me. Neither happened.
Second, at any point in our back-and-forth phone calls, someone could have said "This really isn't my problem, and I don't have time to keep helping you with something that was your mistake in the first place." But no one ever said that. Every time I called, I was met with kindness and patience. Truly a difficult thing to find these days in the way of customer service.
I have a few theories as to why my experience was so good. First, Babyworks is a small, independent company. They have to win over customers with stellar customer service because they won't always beat out larger competitors in the price department. Second, the women who work at Babyworks are not only knowledgeable about cloth diapers, but also seemingly very passionate about cloth diapering. They sincerely want people to use cloth diapers and to have a pleasant experience. Their efforts seem to extend beyond the bottom line into an actual desire to help people. I find this remarkable.
Not only will I continue to patronize Babyworks, and to recommend it to anyone seeking cloth diapers, I think I will also start seeking out other independent businesses in hopes of having similar positive experiences.
*By the way, if you are at all interested in cloth diapers, I highly recommend contacting Babyworks and at least asking some questions. They can help you figure out if cloth diapering is right for you. And because they are a mail order company, you don't have to live in Portland to use them.