Service With a Smile

By: Lara Winburn

I am a sucker for good customer service. I once wrote a note to a waitress at a Pizza Hut because her service was so stellar. I have been a waitress and have owned a retail shop; in my mind, service is what separates a good place from a great place. My roommate and I once called the customer service number at Sonic to rave about the service we received…it got us a coupon for a free burger, I do believe – more great service.

Recently my three year old broke her arm. She is fine but it has hindered her social calendar quite a bit. A few weeks before the break, I had scheduled some time at The Little Gym. We had a gift certificate that was going to expire (typical) and I thought both Great customer servicekids would like it and it would be a nap-making kind of activity. Well, I have been to The Little Gym (N. Beltline Blvd) one time for a birthday party. They do not know me or my cute kiddos, but due to arm break I had to cancel our classes there. (It just seemed like the heavy cast might make a balance beam more of a challenge.)

You see that picture of that Get Well Card? That is what they sent my daughter. Just because I told them the reason I was cancelling and that we would try again when all of our appendages were in working order. The inside is signed by who I assume are the sweet teachers that spend their Saturdays teaching kids there. Is that service or what? A little human touch goes a long way. I am now a huge fan of Little Gym.

I am not much of a shopper, because of time and money restraints blah blah blah. But a few weeks ago I ordered shoes from Zappos.com. I feel certain you may have heard of this little company. My mom may be single handedly keeping them in business. Anyway, I ordered some shoes that magically appeared on my door in two days. I tried on the shoes and they did not fit quite right. (One more blessing of pregnancy…new shoe size.) As I studied the shoes I noticed they looked previously worn. Or, at best, tried on by an elephant kicking a soccer ball. So, I decided to call customer service. Not because I was mad, I just did not want to send the shoes back and they think my pet elephant had been kicking a soccer ball with them, or that I wore them out on the town and sent them back. I explained to the lovely sales representative (after listening to the Zappos “joke of the day”) that the shoes did not fit properly. I also wanted to tell them for the record if they looked worn it was not by me. I even said “I am not mad about this and this is not why I am returning them I just thought someone should know and mark it in my shoe chart. The sales associate apologized for the inconvenience and we disconnected. Thirty minutes later, I got a $25 gift certificate because of the inconvenience. Yep, the total hassle dialing 10 numbers just to cover my own tail before I mailed back (on Zappos’ dime) shoes that magically appeared on my doorstep a day before. Total hassle?? If this is someone’s idea of a real inconvenience, let’s talk.

When humans treat humans like humans it really just warms my heart. I am sure we all have lots of examples of bad service, disappointing products, and total retail disrespect – but sometimes there is a little service with a smile. And for that I am thankful. (It doesn’t take much.)

**Disclaimer: For the record, I LOVE LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES and do not buy everything online. These just happened to be my two examples as of late.**

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