Viewpoints
Lessons in great customer experience from an unexpected place

Lessons in great customer experience from an unexpected place

We all get attached to things. In my case it was a smartphone calendar app that is far better than my phone's native calendar. That's why I was upset when it stopped working correctly late last year. I felt the need to email the app's support team.

Hi, I’m a longtime user of your calendar app and I’m having a problem. When I click on a date, the day that always opens is July 20. Can you provide any guidance on how to fix this?

I didn’t expect much. You usually don’t get responses from app teams. And you can’t track them down like physical stores. But the response from the technician came within two hours.

Thanks for your comment. I’ve never seen this before but we would like to solve this issue. Would you be so kind to give us some more information?

The woman who replied asked specific questions about the problem and my device’s operating system.

I was excited and felt taken care of. It reminded me of the feeling I had back in November at a Florida Publix store, when an associate insisted on taking my cart to the car. However, I had to relay to the technician that the situation had changed.

Thanks so much for the fast response. It seems like the problem has corrected itself for now. But I’m now getting doubles of each new calendar entry.

I wasn’t sure how she’d handle this curve ball, but again a response came within a few hours.

Do you have Settings > General > Multiple calendars enabled or disabled? Would you be so kind to send us a screenshot?

The technician even explained in detail how to do all this. And it solved the problem!

I wondered how service could be this unexpectedly good. Surely it was no accident. I recalled how Hy-Vee Food Stores awards its best outlets based on a series of rigorous customer experience metrics.

Feeling very empowered, I decided to get greedy and raise a minor pet peeve.

I was a fan of the arrows that allowed a user to move from day to day without having to swipe. Those were removed in the new version. Now swiping is more complex.

I figured this was it; she’d really get tired of me. But not so.

Thanks for your comment. I already asked our designer to look into it and to come up with an alternative for arrows.


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This was too good to be true. It ranked as among my most satisfying customer experiences. I thought of independent food retailers and how they often ace the needs of shoppers in local markets.

That’s actually the theme of this month’s issue of SN, with profiles of five local independent retail stars, and our annual Top 50 Independents list.

Suddenly I became curious about where this exceptional app team is based. I was guessing Silicon Valley, but I secretly hoped it was near my local base of the New York-New Jersey area. So I asked. Not only was I wrong about the city, but also the country.

We’re located near The Hague in the Netherlands.

This was a vivid reminder that while best-of-class service is often local, it’s really a global concept.

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