great service

It’s common for all of us to complain about terrible customer service, and indeed, bad service is all too common. But I had two experiences lately that remind me that good service is still alive, at least somewhere.

First, Kensington. I’ve been a long-time user of their laptop saddle bag cases, dating back to 1997 or thereabouts. They have a lifetime warranty, and when after many years, the strap on my first saddle bag broke from wear and tear, they shipped out a replacement at no charge and didn’t even want the old one back. That replacement is still in great shape, and I’d continue to use it except that it wasn’t designed to fit a 15.4” MacBook Pro. So I had bought a new one that did fit newer laptops, and aside from some minor differences in storage (the new model doesn’t come with internal dividers and the outside sleeve is much smaller), it was perfect. That is, for about a month or two. I then noticed that a grommet where the handle contacts the top of the laptop bag cafe loose in part, and that part had some sharp teeth exposed. Carrying it between Wyncote and assorted destinations for work (I just reached Platinum status on US Airways this week, so I know I’m flying a lot) was pretty uncomfortable since the grommet kept digging into my skin. So I called Kensington and they replaced it for free. Unfortunately, as soon as I lifted the new saddle bag up with my laptop in it, the same thing happened with one of the grommets, but I let it go and kept traveling. This time, the grommet actually cut a nice gash in my right elbow, so I knew this was an untenable situation. I snapped a photo of my arm and the defective area on the saddle bag and sent them to Kensington’s customer support department over the Web. I then called their support line, mainly to ask them to notify their developers, since this was clearly a defective product and not a fluke. They were very nice, and promised to tell their developers of the defect. I also got sent as a replacement, a backpack laptop case that, while it is different from what I’d been using for many years, is very comfortable and fits everything I schlep with me. While I wish their saddlebag wasn’t defective, since the previous model was a real winner, I’m glad that their customer support team realizes that they’re there to help their customers. I give Kensington a ton of credit for this, and will continue to rave about their products.

Next, I can’t say enough about Arpeggio Restaurant in Spring House, PA. We’ve been going there for many, many years back when we lived a lot closer in the Montgomery, PA area. Now that we live in Wyncote, we don’t get there that much, but we had a hankering for great Middle Eastern food over the weekend and couldn’t find anything we wanted in the Wyncote area (our favorite Lebanese food place closed recently, unfortunately), so I drove up to Spring House and placed our order. I got it and took it home, a 20-minute drive away, only to find that they didn’t include the pizza for our son. I called them, and without any prompting from me, offered to drive it down to us in Wyncote. Even better, the person who was our delivery person was one of the two owners (I recognized her photo from a news article on the wall of the restaurant), and not only was she apologetic, she brought homemade brownies in addition to the pizza. She remarked that we live quite a ways away from Arpeggio, and I told her the truth, that her food is well worth the drive. I’m sure that made her evening. And the food and brownies made ours. The fact that one of the owners went so far out of her way to please a customer is something I rarely find this day in any industry, and while it must have been very inconvenient, she’s made a customer for life.

Now if only other businesses understood customer service…