Customer Service

The Problem With Being a ‘Regular’

The City Room’s Metropolitan Diary is one of my favorite things because it’s filled with very short posts of very normal occurrences (calling a restaurant to make a reservation for Feb. 14, for example).

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In-N-Out Burger Has Remained Popular and Profitable While Treating Employees Well

Orange Coast Magazine has a profile about Lynsi Snyder, the 31-year-old president of the much beloved In-N-Out Burger chain, and it’s filled with a bunch of interesting tidbits about the family that founded the company in the 1940s and how it has remained profitable and popular even as competitors like McDonald’s saw a sudden rise, and other beloved chains like Five Guys entered the market.

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Credit Reporting Agency Says Woman Is Deceased, Woman Says Hey I’m Alive

Kimberly Haman was applying for a new mortgage when her application was put on hold. The reason? Equifax, one of the U.S. consumer credit reporting agencies, thought she was dead.

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Man Tweets at Brand, Sees Results

Adrian Chen lost his laptop at the airport. Jetblue helped him find it.

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More Retailers Were Victims of a Data Breach. Have You Looked at Your Accounts Lately?

On Dec. 19, Target was a victim of a data breach that initially affected a reported 40 million payment card numbers, but was later said to have affected 70 million customers. Neiman Marcus was also a victim of a cyber attack. And a new report by Reuters says that there are other retailers that were affected by smaller breaches, but those stores have remained unnamed.

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Which Business Gets You to Swear on the Phone the Most?

An analysis of 1.2 million U.S. consumer calls from March 2012 to November 2013 by Marchex, a mobile advertising company, found that we are most likely to swear while on the phone with satellite TV providers, housing contractors, and cable providers. Here’s their full list:

1. Satellite TV providers – 1 in every 82 conversations 2. Housing contractors – 90 3. Cable providers – 123 4. Auto Repair – 144 5. Tow Truck – 159 6. Locksmith – 192 7. Storage – 214 8. Pest Control – 215 9. Heating & Cooling – 215 10. House Cleaning – 218 11. Lawn Care – 271 12. Carpet Cleaning – 275 13. Plumbing – 334 14. Home Buying – 411 15. Auto Dealers – 870 16. Flowers – 1,110 17. Property Management – 1,390 18. Hotels – 1,486 19. Senior Living – 1,742 20. Veterinary – 2,634

Our favorite swear word to say on the phone? The F-bomb, though sometimes we’re polite enough to wait until we’re on hold to let it out.

Photo: Frederic Bisson

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French Café Enacts Rudeness Tax

Owners of the Petite Syrah café in the south of France were fed up with rushed customers coming in to order coffee and forgetting their manners, so they decided to take action.

In a feat of brilliance, they edited menu prices to hit customers where it hurts: their fancy French wallets.

The new menu prices (translated for your convenience) include:

“A coffee” €7 “A coffee, please” €4.25 “Hello, a coffee, please” €1.40

Although Pepino admits he’s never actually had to enforce the price scheme, he says he has noticed a difference in his customers’ behaviour.

“Most of my customers are regulars and they just see the funny side and exaggerate their politeness,” he said, adding “They started calling me ‘your greatness’ when they saw the sign.”

“But people are more relaxed now, and they’re smiling more. That’s the most important thing.”

Photo: phvolmer

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Perhaps My Nightmare Experiences With My Student Loan Servicer Will Finally End

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced recently that it would begin to supervise the seven largest “nonbank student loan servicers.” I’m pretty sure I’m not the only student loan borrower who yelled “finally!” at her radio when the announcement was made.

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The Other Side of One Latte a Day

After about day two of buying this tea, the young guy that works at the deli said something like, “Hello my beautiful baby! So you really like this tea?”

“Uhh, yeah!” He walked out from behind the counter and over to the refrigerator where my beloved Amazonian teas were lined up. We both peered in, quiet.

“So, which one do you like best? I’ll make sure we always have it for you.”

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Amazon Reviews As Market Research

Jason Feifer at Fast Company badgered his way into interviewing a very random and very successful online company he stumbled upon called C&A Marketing, whose business model is based on reading product reviews on Amazon and manufacturing products to fill in the gaps of what people want.

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Spirit Airlines: So Bad It’s Good Again

Spirit Airlines is famously terrible — they serve no in-flight snacks or beverages, seats don’t recline, and it costs $50 to CARRY ON a bag — but according to Derek Thompson at the Atlantic, their business is still doing really, really well. Between 2008 and 2012, Spirit Air “saw fuel costs rise by nearly 60 percent, increased salaries by about half, flew more miles at higher costs, and, despite all that, still managed to reduce its average ticket price by 20 percent,” earning 40% more per airplane than their competitors.

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Zadie Smith On Tipping Your Delivery Person

Zadie Smith has a charming little essay in the New Yorker — is that the most insufferable phrase I’ve ever typed? — about ordering delivery in London vs. New York. Of course, the focus is on tipping, a topic that just may never get old. As far as I am concerned Zadie Smith can write charming little essays about whatever she wants and I will read them.

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