Companies With Great Customer Service

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I’ve worked in customer service for my entire work career: first as a retail sales associate through high school and college, as a helpdesk technician for a multi-national corporation, as an ESL teacher and assistant and even now, my position basically boils down to a very service-y role. All that experience makes me perhaps the worst kind of consumer, because my expectations can be a little high when I am out shopping. Some companies meet my ridiculous demands, and others are a little less easy to deal with (have you ever been drunk at the hand of an airline who upgraded you to first class, only to arrive at your connecting airport to find that your next flight is oversold and you were bumped? Yeah, I’ve had better flight experiences.) Here are a few companies that I have had fantastic customer service experiences with!

sephora customer service

Sephora – While logging in to my Beauty Insider account a few weeks ago, I noticed that my most recent purchase (a pretty hefty one, at that) wasn’t listed on my transactions. Social media is always my first line of communication because it’s the easiest for me to manage, and their community engagement team was fully empowered to drop the missing points into my account with just a few direct messages. There was also a time a few years ago where I finally mustered up the courage to buy Flowerbomb, my now-signature scent. I ordered a travel size, but when it arrived, the bottle was open, and some of the liquid had leaked out. After a quick phone call, they sent a replacement out immediately, and didn’t even ask for the original to be sent back.

nordstrom customer service

Nordstrom – Another social media success, these guys are the epitome of customer service cool. I had never shopped with Norsdtrom until last fall, and I reached out to them a few times with questions about shipping on Twitter and Facebook. They responded quickly and were super helpful. Nordstrom also offers a live chat on their website and I’ve utilized that several times while looking for specific things or if I’ve had sizing questions. (As far as sizing, I’ve always ordered on their recommendations and not been disappointed.) In my last order, I was shipped the wrong color of dress. The Twitter team phoned me to make sure I received the right color and size, and I had the replacement dress the next day. These guys are champions.

bing bang nyc customer service

Bing Bang NYC – I don’t think I ever included my lightning bolt earrings in a favorites post, but I should have. I got them in March and wore them every day until one of my Energy bras took hold of the post in just the right way and it popped out of my ear. We found the earring, thank goodness, but the back was lost to the ages (aka, the carpet of the Wyndham Smoky Mountains.) None of my other earring backs fit it securely enough for me to feel comfortable that I wouldn’t lose the earring, so I shot an email over to their customer service asking if I could purchase an extra back. Within a half hour, I had a response that they would drop an extra in the mail for me. Awesome. (Maybe I should have tried this with Tiffany & Co. to avoid that heartbreak.) I had the package within a week, and they not only included one, but about six of them. A+++++.

amazon customer service

Amazon – I have had a couple hit or miss experiences with Amazon. Most recently felt like a miss – they mailed a package to a billing address and then were extremely condescending while I was trying to sort out what happened. But a couple years ago I ordered a Muppets gift set, received delivery confirmation from the courier (a company I’d never heard of, but that Amazon apparently uses regularly,) and couldn’t wait to get home that day and rip into the package. But when I got home… nothing. Nothing on my doorstep, in my mailbox, or in the complex office. I spoke with a representative who took ownership of the issue, calling me back several times for followup, and they overnighted the replacement to me with Fed Ex.

What’s been your best CS experience? Has anyone ever actually had a good airline interaction?

High Anxiety & the Power of Staying Positive

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It has been truly another whirlwind month. After thinking that I had finished the transition process (and trust me, there’s no part of this summer that was NOT a transition) I was proven wrong again. I am typically a glass-half-empty kind of person. It’s just my nature, and I work very hard to overcome it and be the happy, bubbly girl you see here ;)

Earlier this month it felt like my world was falling apart and that I had no way to control it. I won’t go into the gritty details yet. But it’s been a crazy, chaotic, stressful month. It’s no secret that I have pretty severe panic disorder, so coupling that with the pessimism that lives in my head made it really tough to keep on keepin’ on.

I heard this amazing story from The Moth by Peter Sagal, one of my favorite NPR hosts, that really helped me feel like I could get through. He talks about his divorce and running Boston as a guide for a blind runner during the 2013 Marathon.

There were nights that I literally could not sleep and I just kept saying to myself “relaxrelaxrelax” in my head, over and over and over, in order to keep other thoughts out of my head. And then I’d wake up two hours later, still panicked into a frenzy, and have to repeat that “relaxrelaxrelax” mantra.

It’s funny to look back on when Sixx and I first met – he was really uptight, followed the rules to the letter, was totally the opposite of me. It took us years to get him to go with the flow. He teases me about this now when he tells me over and over to “let it go” and just breathe.

But it’s funny, because since this life-altering thing and getting through the initial few weeks of terror, I feel this sort of peace now. For once, I really believe when people say that things will be okay. (Basically because at this point if anything else goes wrong, I’m going to be just checked into the hospital :)) But there came a point where I made a decision to take charge and override the doubt and take a page from the book of The Hold Steady and stay positive.

Since I decided to do that, things have improved greatly. This girlfriend of mine has a saying she liked to trot out in college: “it’s all about the bounce back.” I’m hoping to bounce a little higher than I have before, and I think my attitude change is going to help me get there. And I have a lot of things to be happy about – Sixx comes home in a few weeks, I’m seeing my family this weekend. My mom bought me a really nice set of headphones. TV season is back in full effect.

It’s tough because my life doesn’t look like I thought it would look right now, but in a way, it looks the way I always thought it would.

And here – if that wasn’t enough positivity for your day, check out this cute little interview from a high school football player.

New Fitness Adventures

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Since I moved, I’ve gotten to broaden my work out horizons and take some new classes, different workouts, and try some disciplines I’ve never gotten around to (I took hip hop cycle a week ago and my “area” is still not totally recovered) .

As part of my gym membership, I got a free health assessment/personal training session. I knew it was just going to be a sales gimmick, but I went anyway, hoping that a trainer would correct my form on things like squats and lunges where I’ve been having so much knee pain lately. It started with him asking about my fitness goals, why I joined a gym, etc etc. It was totally scripted and geared toward someone insecure who had never been a gym member (or at least hadn’t been for a long time.) Once I think it was finally clear to him that I’m not unhappy with how I look, he started to go on about body fat percent like I hadn’t heard any of it before. Once we got into the actual workout, it was hard, and he had me do weight training things I’d never done, but he didn’t once correct my form and spent half the time watching a female bodybuilder lift. I guess I had always thought that trainers were as much for counting reps and teaching new moves as they were for correcting and motivation. (Needless to say I did not sign up to train with someone four times a week for the low low sum of $500 per month.)

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I compare that with the group classes I’ve taken – all the Les Mills teachers in my Charlottesville gym were The. Best. I loved every single one of them were extremely engaging and took the time to help, to fix form, and motivate.

This weekend, a new friend invited me to the hot yoga studio where she teaches. By the end of it, I was so sweaty that I was sliding all over my mat and falling out of poses, but it felt great. I never really thought yoga was something I would enjoy (aside from restorative, which, let’s face it – is more “naptime” than active) and I really didn’t think that anything would stop the racing thoughts I’m so used to now.

What you can't see is the salt caked under my shirt and the beads of sweat rolling down the sides of my face.

What you can’t see is the salt caked under my shirt and the beads of sweat rolling down the sides of my face.

Both the training session and the hot yoga class have gotten my mind thinking hard again. Ever since I started taking group classes, I’ve known I want to teach someday. But I had never seriously considered personal training. After having a bad experience, I’m starting to consider it more and more – like there are probably a whole lot of people I can connect with and help without making them feel bad and helping to empower them, whether their goal is weight loss or something else.

Do you prefer group ex, personal training, or just working out by yourself? What do you think would make a great teacher?

Stand Up 2 Cancer

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This post is a sponsored post on behalf of Yahoo! Live.

Stand Up 2 Cancer is a non-profit whose mission is to raise funding for leading oncologists and cancer researchers. The first televised fundraiser event, held in 2008, raised over $100 million dollars for research and featured dozens of musicians and celebrities, including Patrick Swayze and Sheryl Crow, who spoke of their fights against the disease. The SU2C theme song, “Just Stand Up,” featured more than ten female performers (girl power!)

In the years since, the annual event continues to get bigger and feature more influencers who are standing up to fight cancer. The concert airs tonight across all the major networks – ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox – and many cable partners. This year, through a partnership with Yahoo! Screen, it’s also streaming online. Yahoo has partnered with LiveNation to launch Yahoo! Live to air select concerts live, and then loop them online for 24 hours after the performance. Yahoo! Live will air one concert every day for a full 365 days, so you can see a concert from the comfort of your house for a full year. (Join me this Monday as I watch my favorite band in sweatpants and a messy bun. And then join me for the next 24 hours as I live the dream of my life always being a The Hold Steady show.) Check out the next 30 shows here.

I’ll be watching Stand Up 2 Cancer live tonight, thinking of those I have lost, those who have won their battles like my mom, thinking of friends who are still fighting, and sending special prayers to a friend as her family rallies around their fighter. If you’ve never had the chance to watch Stand Up 2 Cancer, it’s a deeply moving experience. To donate now, visit Stand Up 2 Cancer’s website.

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“In my world, in my vision the hero always defeats the villian, the boy always gets the girl, and cancer is no more.” SU2C cofounder and guiding light, Laura Ziskin