How to Win Customer Loyalty

Do you know what might be one of the best companies in the world, at least as far as customer service?

Expedia.

Now this isn’t a paid endorsement, merely one person’s opinion.

Expedia is awesome!

Recall that Domer and I just returned from our failed trip to Ireland.

One of the hotels we’d booked (for a four-night stay) was through Expedia.

When we decided to come home early, we spoke with the hotel desk clerk and were told they couldn’t refund our payment because we’d booked through Expedia. Then they provided us with phone numbers to call upon our return.

Since then, I’ve been trying to get my money back.

Aer Lingus, the airline, turned me down. But the parking company kindly refunded me and so did the first hotel we didn’t stay at.

All I was waiting on was the abbreviated stay at our last hotel.

Yesterday, I received a call from Expedia’s Customer Service Department, wanting to know who we’d spoken with at the hotel desk and whether we’d received a receipt.

Neither of us could remember a name; we had no receipt.

The Expedia rep said the hotel told them they had no record of our leaving early.

Uh-oh. I started hearing the faint sound of Cha-Ching again.

This morning I was going to call the hotel and beg the manager to substantiate our claim.

It proved unnecessary.

Expedia just called and said they’d honor our request for a refund — whoo hoo!

I told her the only thing I had to prove we’d left early was our stamped airline tickets, copies of which I’d be glad to forward.

No need, she said. Your refund will arrive in seven to 14 days.

Happy Dance!

You know, it’s easy to see why companies with superior customer service are successful. Customer service is one of the tenets of business. It’s what enables people to return goods without hassle, speak with a real person over the phone, and feel prices are fair and treatment is gentle.

I think this quote sums it up perfectly:

There is a spiritual aspect to our lives – when we give we receive – when a business does something good for somebody, that somebody feels good about them!

— Ben Cohen, Ben & Jerry’s

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23 thoughts on “How to Win Customer Loyalty

  1. Yahooooooo! I am so glad to hear that Expedia refunded your money, Debbie!

    I’ve heard about them, but have never used them. So thank you for sharing this post.

    “You know, it’s easy to see why companies with superior customer service are successful. Customer service is one of the tenets of business. It’s what enables people to return goods without hassle, speak with a real person over the phone, and feel prices are fair and treatment is gentle.”

    Amen and hallelujah! I TOTALLY agree with you!!!! I am in the customer service industry myself, so I know (especially with today’s economy) the importance of getting customer for RETURN business, through giving outstanding customer service. Too many companies only care about what they’re going to GET from a customer, rather than what they’re going to GIVE.

    And it’s so ironic you posted this today, because I may be posting something about this same topic in the next few weeks.

    Have a faaaaaaaabulous weekend, dear lady!
    X

    • “Too many companies only care about what they’re going to GET from a customer, rather than what they’re going to GIVE.” That’s it in a nutshell, Ron! If a company only concentrates on the initial sale or purchase, without making that purchase as pleasant as possible for the customer, why should the customer return??
      I’ll be interested to read your take on this, from the customer service industry point of view.
      Smile — it’s FRIDAY!!

    • Thanks, Suzi. My wallet is especially grateful. It’s bad enough to experience a dashing of one’s dreams, but to add salt to the wounds is overkill!

    • Really? You never used Expedia? I’ve used them pretty often in the past (especially when trying to get the lowest rates for a Notre Dame football weekend!) and always found them good. This just reinforces my opinion.

    • Thanks, Kathy. Yes, treating others with kindness and fairness is paramount in doing business in today’s competitive world. When one finds a true gem, it’s nice to be able to pass along the good stuff — we do enough complaining when service is sub-par, don’t we?!

  2. I appreciate this same service level from Amazon too. They are always so good, reliable, have refunded many an item that didn’t work out, have credited my Visa for price differentiations when an item has appeared online less than what I paid for it through them, etc. That’s one of the reasons I’m a prime member and very loyal.

    • I totally agree, Barb — Amazon has great customer service! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with them. Companies that go the extra mile in serving their customers should always get first preference, shouldn’t they?!

  3. I love when someone receives good customer service and shares their experience. We are quick to complain when our needs aren’t met. I don’t think it occurs to many to speak up so quickly when good service is provided. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Terri! Yes, I agree — we’re quick to complain when we get poor service. I’ve always thought praise for good service goes a long way toward more good service — something my late dad advocated about “catching more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

  4. At this ripe old age of 60…I refuse to get service from any company who doesn’t treat me right. I will speak up and gets refunds or get just what I pay for. I’m not playing anymore. That’s what happens when you get wiser and or you’ve been burnt to many times in the past. I will keep Expedia in mind from now on! Deb are you the new Angie’s list LOL!

    • You know, Tanya, as a business owner, I have a deep-seated fear of Angie’s List! I worry that a customer might be more inclined to post a bad review than deal with the inconvenience of trying to set things right with the business. That doesn’t seem fair to me. But I admire your resolve and applaud you for it!

        • No, I didn’t know that, Tanya. How very cool! I do Web design myself and looking back, I probably could’ve used a coach when I got started (not that I could’ve afforded one, ha!)

        • Well it is pricey…but the mistakes people make when staring their business is way more expensive. It’s so good you do web design. I haven’t improved my blog because I have gone as far as I can go with what I can do. I haven’t even figured out how to post all the awards people have given me and many other things I can do with my blog. I’m sure web design has helped you with your blogging.

  5. Great news! How convenient that the hotel had no record of you leaving early (baloney!) So glad Expedia came through and you didn’t even have to go through the hassle of sending copies of your plane tickets.

    • Thanks, Janna. You know, the last thing we needed was somebody pouring salt in our wounds! We’d had a rotten time and spent way more than we anticipated; the least they could do was reimburse us what we didn’t use!

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