Code Play a software blog by tim benke

Great Customer Service

There’s one thing that still stands out in these times of impersonal internet shopping; great customer service. One prime example of greate customer service was CDBaby. Instead of only sending out boring notification emails for sent orders CDBaby had this (I am not sure if they still use it):

Customer name- Thanks for your order with CD Baby! Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, October 7, 2009. We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Sigh… We miss you already. We’ll be right here at, patiently awaiting your return. – CD Baby The little store with the best new independent music. (503)595-3000

Nowadays everybody gets so many automated emails, that it’s sometimes a relief to realize that there actual humans at the other end. The makers of the app fetchnotes can relate to that. The essentially called their customers “bitches”, but having a sort of more human style to their email increased the success by a lot.

CDBaby didn’t stop there. It’s founder Derek Sivers, who sold CDBaby some time ago, had a third of his company deal solely with customer service, making it a priority. Moreover they had a little box in their ordering processing that said “Can we do anything else for you?” or something to that effect and here’s what happened when somebody actually entered sth. there:

It’s all nice and dandy to read about these stories on the interwebs and you might think “That’s all great, but it just happens so seldomly that it doesn’t matter.” But I’ve seen some examples of great customer service myself.

I’ve supported a project on kickstarter, that aimed at producing a camera clip to attach your DSLR to your belt or backpack strap. When the founding was over we got very frequent updates on the shipping process from the engineer Peter Doering behind it and when it arrived I was very happy with it. Some weeks later I lost one of the fly screws that holds the whole thing together and posted a message on his facebook page, about where to get replacement screws and what size I’d need. He responded and asked me to send him an email with the details. Being fairly busy at the time I didn’t answer for some days. Then I got an email notification that there was a package sent out to me from Peter Doering via air mail. I was thrilled that he actually took the time and effort to look up my name from the kickstarter supporters and just send me the screw without any bureaucratic support process behind.

Another case of great customer service happened to me 2 weeks ago. I had sent my Ultrasone headphones in for repairs, because one plastic part had broken after years of use. Contacting their service about this was very easy and they quickly told that I’d probably have to pay some 30 euros to get the headband replaced. Great was my surprise when their package arrived some days later with a replaced headband AND new leather ear pads. In their email they said – I’m paraphrasing the German letter here: “We replaced your headband because it was still under warranty. Additionally we put new ear pads on you headphones :-) - for free. We hope that we made you a little more happy – now your headphones are “like new” :-)”. Needless to say that I was very happy indeed and it was like this company had just made me a really great present.

When given such a great customer experience, many people are overjoyed tell their friends about it and thus create a nice little ad that is 1000 times more credible than any fake amazon review rating can ever be.