I had an unexpected experience today.

I went shopping with my husband for a new watch for each of us or at least a new battery for his existing hanging watch which can be quite difficult to replace. We arrived at a well-known department store, Walmart, when they were already open for about 2 hours, they were in the middle of their morning motivational meeting in the middle of the store. I feel that’s something that should happen behind closed doors and not in the customer’s faces. We felt very uncomfortable walking around, right beside them as they were chanting whatever motivational Yahoo! remarks they were saying. I have to admit, I tried hard to block it out.

We had to go ask for someone to help us since the jewelry area had been abandoned for the meeting.

What I expected to find were some helpful clerks that could answer my questions. We asked about replacing the battery in my husbands watch. The clerk had an answer for us I wasn’t expecting. She couldn’t help us by replacing the battery for us because we could complain/sue that they broke our watch if something went wrong. She couldn’t let us use the machinery (which we’ve done in the past) to replace the battery ourselves and to replace the back of the watch tightly… again afraid we’ll hurt ourselves and complain/sue. They can sell us a watch replacement battery, but we can never get it into the watch — a policy which if every store adopted… would result in a permanent dead-watch problem. She did say that Zellers (another local department store) does still make that machinery available for us to replace the battery ourselves, at which my husband suggested directly in front of her that we go there (which we did).

What has happened with the level of customer service? There are still some companies out there that go past what it is expected of them, but apparently, they’re a dying breed.

In contrast about 2 years ago my husband purchased a domain name with GoDaddy.com. The next day he received a call from GoDaddy thanking him for his patronage and reviewed his package with him. They pointed out a couple of items he had included in the package that he didn’t need. They canceled those items and refunded the money. They have always been prompt in replying to any concerns we’ve ever had. That has been the best experience of customer service I’ve ever seen. He now refers to all internet domain needs to GoDaddy.

Customer service, even if it ends up losing you a few dollars, STILL makes all the difference.

Have you had any really positive or negative customer service stories recently? How did that affect your ongoing relationship with that vendor?