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Feb 18, 2011 12:53 PM

Do you email companies if you have a complaint or compliment?

A recent thread about product satisfaction got me thinking about this...
When I purchase a product that is not to my liking, (not damaged goods) I email the manufacturer and tell them my experience with their product. Usually they are more than courteous, and send coupons for alternate products.

Here are some recent examples;
One of the yogurt companies came out with a couple of new flavors. One was Red Velvet Cake flavor. I bought 2 containers of it and was not happy with it at all. It was inedible. I emailed Yoplait and told them how I felt about the product, and that it was not up to the same standards as their other flavors. They sent me 2 coupons for any Yoplait product free.

I purchased a can of Baker's Joy spray a few weeks ago, and was very interested to see how it worked on my bundt pan. The first time I used it, the lid was so difficult to put back on that it slipped sideways and broke off the spray head. I emailed the company and told them what had happened, and that I had really wanted to try their product. A few days later I got a coupon for a free can in the mail with an apology letter telling that they are trying to rework that lid style to be more user friendly.

Now and then I'll email a company just to tell them how much I like their product. Usually they send coupons in response. That's good customer service.

The best example of great customer service isn't about food, but it's a nice story. Some years back I had this great pair of red leather ankle high lace up boots from Orvis. I'd spent about $160 on them and loved them. Long story short, I ended up in the midst of a divorce and my ex felt that the boots belonged to him because "he had paid for them". I wore them every day just to be sure he didn't go in the house and get them. Then during all that mess, my golden retriever ate a third of one of the boots in the middle of the night!
I emailed Orvis (subj. "the dog ate my boot") to ask if they were going to carry that boot again the next fall because I loved them so much that I wanted to order another pair as soon as they were available. In the letter, I told them the whole story about the divorce, the dog, and the boots. Just when the world was looking very unkind to me, this company sent me a brand new pair of red boots for free. Yep, for free.
That's good customer service.
My faith in mankind was renewed.
And since then, I do make a point of telling a company how much I like their product. We all need a pat on the back now and then.

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  1. I've recently started doing this myself. So far it has gotten me discounts from chain restaurants (Boston Pizza gave us a gift card that meant a free night out - bad service the first time round), free frozen entrees for liking their products, and some great contacts at smaller companies where I now get better service because they know who I am.

    It also feels good to do it - we all appreciate feedback and it's nice to be rewarded for taking the time to do it.

    1. I've only done it with complaints and inquiries (typically regarding replacement parts), never compliments.

      I complained to Fra'mani once about the sparseness of meat in one of their Costco products. They sent a replacement in a very nice insulated styrofoam cooler with frozen gel packs. I still use the cooler and the gel packs (for other things), but the replacement proved that I shouldn't buy the product again, since it had the same issues. I did thank them, and complimented them on their other products though, which I still buy.

      Otherwise, I don't usually e-mail compliments only. That reminds me too much of the pennypincher stories they used to do about people who spent a ridiculous amount of time writing to manufacturers to try to score free stuff.

      1. ALWAYS!! The food industry is a dog-eat-dog world, & I think every company wants to know where they stand, as well as ensuring customer satisfaction.

        Normally I just contact a company when there's been a problem, but always preface it with a compliment (if true) about their products in general, etc., etc. However, if something is truly outstanding, I will shoot them an e-mail compliment, if only to help ensure that they continue to produce that particular product.

        1. I was able to locate Nathan's natural casing hot dogs in my area by e-mailing the company. No coupons but was glad to find the product

          I also reached Coffeemate the same way because we love our Nespresso electric frother but found that certain Coffeemate flavors would not froth all the time. They told me that they make the product in two different plants and that the issue was probably that OR that PLUS differing fat contents in the milk at different times of the year. They sent some coupons, but I'd rather have the product perform the same way all the time.

          Non-food related, I emailed The Charlie Rose TV show when our local PBS station went independent and the show disappeared. I got an immediate response, but they were still 'in the bushes' about what was happening. Thankfully, another PBs affiliate here took on all or most of the shows they were not carrying before and all's well.

          I've tried contacting other companies by email with no success. Conclusion: it's worth a try if you really want some help.

          1. I email companies when I am looking for products, or to make statements. Sometimes I get responses, sometimes I don't.