This Is How You Do It: Frank (Restaurant, Austin), American Express And Apple

So, after this whole “Intuit thing,” I got to thinking about companies that provide rapid response and provide value to their consumers.

Companies like that do exist.  They are not “dry land.”

Here are three companies that get it right.

Frank (Restaurant, Austin)

In one of my infrequent visits to downtown, I stopped for dinner at a restaurant called, “Frank”  and since I am in the habit of posting reviews to Yelp, I wrote this the following day and I got an almost immediate response from the owner.

Here’s the thing.  One e-mail from the owner isn’t going to immediately turn me into a rabid Frank fan.

But, a great customer experience with the friendly staff, a good hot dog, a fantastic cold root beer, a rapid and polite response from the owner…I hope you see where I’m going with this – by starting on the right foot and keeping the momentum the sum of all of these things are the building blocks that form the basis of increased loyalty by me (the customer).

I’ve since responded to the owner and plan to go back there the next time I’m downtown.  They have made me a a fan, and I’ve told a bunch of people this story (you included).

American Express (AMEX)

Last year, I purchased a one year software subscription and since then the computer with that subscription is not in use anymore.

This past weekend, I noticed on my AMEX statement that the software company automatically billed $60 to my card for another year of support.

I didn’t even bother trying to figure out how or why the charge got on my statement.  One of the reasons I pay the service fee for an AMEX card is that they have people who do that for me.

I say that and I can tell you that it was pretty much this simple:

  1. I called AMEX.  A nice phone representative asked me a few questions about the charge and politely put me on hold.
  2. He came back about two minutes later and gave me a confirmation code and told me the charge had been removed from my statement.
  3. The end.

I spent five, maybe seven, minutes on the phone from dialing to hanging up.

It is well worth my time to pay the service charge on my AMEX.

What do I mean by that?

Well, when I was a kid, my brother’s car was stolen.  At some point they found his car and it was in an impound lot in Arizona.  He got this letter saying that if he didn’t show up by whatever date, they’d sell it at auction.  So I asked my brother, “When are you going to Arizona?”  He said, “It’s not worth my time?”  I said, “What do you mean by that?”  And my brother, in a way only he could, proceeded to break down the mathematics of the cost of his time, the cost of the car, travel…all the variables involved, and after ten minutes or so of some serious math, I was in full agreement with him.  Not worth his time.

So, five minutes and a service charge is easily a better bargain than having to call up the software company and get into a shouting match with them and then going back and forth and around and around for however long it would take to resolve this mess (in fact, I had to cancel a credit card in the past because after seven months they would not remove a charge made to a hotel in a state I hadn’t been to in years  **ugh**).

So, I Twittered about my positive customer experience and wrote, “Why AMEX is worth the $. SW company auto renewed a sub without my authorization. Called AMEX. Charge is gone. #DONE! #TheEnd

Sure enough, the next day I got a very nice response from @AskAmex, “@NoahGK, Hi, it’s Beth from Amex. Noticed your tweet. Glad to hear issue was rslvd quickly. If you need assistance in the future, tweet us.

So now, I not only had a great experience with AMEX but I now have someone (Beth and @AskAmex) to contact if things get hairy in the future for whatever reason.

Like I said.  This is how you do it.

Apple Retail Stores

I recently convinced my father to switch from his 28 year run using PCs (he owned the original IBM 5150 PC) to a MacBook Pro.

So far he’s liking it and he opted to purchase the “One On One” to help retrain him and smooth out the transition.

The thing that we have both noticed about the Apple Retail Store employees is that they are highly educated on the products and highly motivated to help customers.

They’ll work to help you as much as they can.  If they don’t know the answer, they try to pass you to someone who can help you.  But they never give up.

When I was on the PC, I used to waste so much time going it alone and Googleing my way to try to solve problems.  I was forced to become an expert.  It was almost like how owners of early automobiles like the Ford Model T had to have mechanical skills to ensure their cars wouldn’t break down.

I joked with my friend Dan that in my first month switching over, I used to stare at my computer a lot not knowing what to do. Literally, since I used to allot time for doing disk defrags, antivirus updates, spyware checks and who knows how many other pointless tasks.

Now, when I have a problem, I write it down and just plan to stop into an Apple Retail Store at some point and ask someone.

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One Response to “This Is How You Do It: Frank (Restaurant, Austin), American Express And Apple”

  1. JSussin Says:

    Haha – this is funny. To anyone else who is reading this, I too tweeted about great customer service from AMEX a while back and today I tweeted about how great they were and how great Fidelity is.

    Noah saw my tweet and told me to check out his blog and I will say that you brought up a good point Noah. You know what makes great customer service, the fewest number of steps possible. The less you have to put me through an automated system, the less you need to transfer me to another operator. The better.

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