Three separate but themed stories:
1: Bose:I recently purchased a Bose Sound Dock. This is a device that enables you to place your iTunes or Pandora radio from your iPhone or iPod. Initially, I was using this with my iPhone, but then I upgraded to the iPhone 3G. As I started to use SoundDock with the 3G, there was a loud pop every 2 minutes or so, the music would fade out and then fade back in. Very, very annoying.
I called Bose, explained the problem. I was passed to a real engineer who took down all of the details and promised to keep me up to date on the plan of action and the fix. A week goes by and he calls back, verifies a little information and asks a couple more questions. Calls back two or three days later, "We have a fix, we worked with Apple and troubleshot the issue and they will be updating the iPhone with a software fix. You should see it in a couple of weeks".
Score: Passed with flying colors, for (1) following up on the problem and (2) calling me back to tell me what was happening.
2: Hertz:I rented a car from these folks back in December in the wonderful city of Atlanta, GA. After a day or so of driving around, I returned to the airport to catch a plane (late of course) and didn't have time to refuel the car. On returning the car the wonderful folks at Hertz stuck me with their refueling charge of $90.60 based upon $7.50/gallon. I didn't have time to complain at the time (trying to catch a plane) and I didn't have an success when I attempted to complain on the phone after the fact.
Score: FAILED, it seems to me the car rental business must be based on a huge amount of repeat custom. I have not been back to Hertz since and will probably not go back because of this experience. I get that you don't want to refuel your vehicles, but please don't stick pins in my eyes because I didn't have time.
3: BuyOwner:I watched a TV add for these folks this morning. At the end of that advertisement they played two or three video testimonials, one of, presumably their customers, exclaimed: "This is the best customer service I have ever experienced. When I call and leave a message, I get a call back normally within a day". Hmmmm...a day...how about within an hour? or even better still, how about not needing a call back, but getting an answer on the first call. That would be customer service.
Score: Dubious, it seems like customer service should be immediate, at least in the first instance, not requiring a customer to leave a voicemail and hope for a call back. I have never used BuyOwner and thus cannot really comment very well on their service, but this idea of getting a call back within a day being the best customer service this person had seen? I don't buy it.