Another Happy Customer

I can't help but share my most recent and as expected, positive, interaction with Zappos.com. I think my exact words when I hung up with their customer service rep (was it Christina I was talking to?), was "how are they so nice?"

Story goes a little something like: my folks bought me some Hunter boots and liners for Christmas. The boots are grey and the liners ma purchased were green--and boy oh boy did they clash. So those had to go back and get exchanged for charcoal. As for the boots, I wore them one day after Christmas and unfortunately the insole of the left boot rode up the back of my heel as the day went on, making for a very uncomfortable fit.

I had emailed Zappos a few times to figure out how to do the exchange and they said I should call--they'd be available 24/7. So finally, I did tonight and with ease, the transaction was completed. But this wasn't your normal transaction--the customer service gal was so nice! Chatting me up, asking what I was doing this weekend (and when I said going for a training run for my half-marathon, she made conversation about that). Looking up the gift order was easy--all she needed was my mom's email address. And, apparently the boots were $35 cheaper when my mom ordered them than they are now, but the gal just waived that. I was slightly worried about the boot exchange since they had been worn once, but they chalked it up to a defect--no questions asked. Additionally, since my mom and I are both VIP customers, my order is shipping tomorrow for arrival Monday.

Gift returns and exchanges can be difficult when you're in the store, standing across the counter from an associate. Thanks for making this process easy, breezy, beautiful, Zappos.com.



As a follow-up to my past blog post, I have to give a huge shout out to Southwest for helping me book my airline ticket to Austin! I really appreciate them listening to me and helping me with the process. I was agitated with the events of last Tuesday, but they have redeemed my faith in their customer relations after all. LUV ya' SWA!

What do I also LUV? That I have officially reached my fundraising goal for the 2012 LIVESTRONG half-marathon! $500 down? CHECK! Plane tickets booked? CHECK! Training--working on it!


Letter to Southwest Since I Exceeded their Character Count on their Email Form

Dear Southwest:

On Jan. 3, I started the entirely-too-long-of-a-process to book my flight from Kansas City to Austin, where I will be running in the Austin LIVESTRONG half-marathon. I’m running with my uncle, a cancer survivor, and his nephew, also a cancer survivor (stating this to put into perspective that all of this is for a good cause). By the time we run our 13.1, our team will have raised $2,000 for the LIVESTRONG organization.

This debacle started when I found a flight to purchase on southwest.com. To Austin would be flights 1509/3388 departing KCI on Sat., Feb. 18 at a rate of $39, and the return flights would be 1198/3072, departing Austin after the race on Sun., Feb. 19.

Because I had a one-way voucher that expires on Jan. 26, I called 800-I-FLY-SWA to make sure a voucher-worthy seat was available for the Sunday flight. I wanted to confirm that before I paid $50 to extend the voucher. The nice man on the phone ensured me there was and said I should book the flight quickly, which I did. I completed transaction one of paying the $50 fee, extending my voucher and booking my return flight home from Austin. Easy as pie, as is typical when booking and flying Southwest.

Because my other flight would not be with a voucher, I then went to complete my separate transaction of booking my $39 flight to Austin; this was minutes later. I got an error message when I tried to select my flight, so after refreshing the webpage, imagine my shock when I see the flight price had risen from $39 to $178! An increase of $139 in a matter of minutes! I was floored!

I immediately called 800-I-FLY-SWA back and explained the situation to them. I was floored what I was told by Southwest—a company I covet for customer service: there was nothing they could do for me. They gave me another number to call: 214-932-0333. I called the number and got a response I don’t think I’ve heard in the 21st century: a busy signal. I looked at my phone, back and the number I scribbled down, and back at the phone. They matched; I must of written it down wrong. I tracked down the number on Southwest.com and low and behold—it was the right number. Because of the wonder that is the iPhone call log, I can prove that I called 214-932-0333 at 5:01 pm, 5:05 pm and 5:13 pm Central—being greeted by a busy signal all three times.

It’s about this time I call 800-I-FLY-SWA back and tell the woman that answers this time what is going on. I paid $50 to extend my voucher, went to purchase my $39 flight and it went up to $178. I’d either want the $39 rate or the $50 refunded. She told me she can’t do either, but that my newly extended voucher is now good through Jan. 3, 2013…to which I wanted to respond with, “at this time, I hope to never fly your airline again.” Alas, there’s nothing she can do; I need to call customer relations and she gives me the number: 214-932-0333. I explained I had called that number and it was busy. She said again there was nothing she could do, that I needed to call customer relations.

“Then who am I talking to?” I asked?
“Customer service,” she replies.

Oh, I see. Not.

It’s around this time I send an email to Southwest asking for someone to call me back and also tweet to @southwestair “@southwestair your customer relations line has been busy for an hour now. What's the trick to get thru?” And then I pack up and head home from the office, because my colleagues are tired of me getting worked up about all of this.

5:40 pm
6:15 pm
6:21 pm
6:24 pm
6:38 pm
6:52 pm
7:02 pm
7:19 pm
7:42 pm

Those are the next attempts at getting through to customer relations, again, only to hear the dreaded beep, beep, beep.

Finally, at 8:02 pm I get through. No busy signal! But the greeting on the other end did tell me they closed at 8 pm.

Yesterday, I received a tweet back from @southwestverity and she and I tweeted back and forth about her helping me, which I appreciated. But what if I wasn’t on Twitter; how would I have been helped? This morning I received a response to my email, but ultimately I asked for them to call me, which didn’t happen.

At this point, I’m just disappointed that I was told no twice and basically ignored 12 times by a company I’ve long admired for customer service. And unfortunately, I’ve shared my thoughts with many friends, family members and co-workers.

I guess what I want is this:

1.  Let’s get this flight booked. I’m going to Austin. I’d like the $39 rate that disappeared in front of my eyes. If that isn’t possible, I’d like to be told if there is a voucher seat available for the Feb. 18 flight I referenced above. My uncle has a voucher that I can extend and will use for that flight if a voucher seat is available. (They are transferrable, right?)

2. Please recognize the annoyance Southwest has caused me the last few days. I’m a loyal customer. I travel frequently and SWA is my preferred airline. I accept rules and policies. I just felt I wasn’t listened to during my communications and the inability to talk to who I apparently needed to talk to added fuel to the fire and was frustrating. I like you; like me back. In the end, I’ll continue to fly Southwest and I’ll probably even fly Southwest to Austin (though there is a $59 on Delta I’m seriously considering). Please just show me a little LUV cause I haven’t been feeling it thus far in 2012.

Wendy Fitch