New Year's Resolution – Awesome Customer Service! (e.g. Sonny Bryan's BBQ;Brent Brown Toyota; EP Auto)

When I was fresh out of college I served as administrative assistant to an exceptional corporate CEO, Richard “Dick” Smith  of Smith Administrators in Salt Lake City.  Dick used to teach employees, “Rule #1: the customer is always right. Rule #2: when the customer is wrong, refer to rule #1.”

In every position since that time, and as the owner of my own PR firm, I strive for the highest level of customer satisfaction possible. As we round the corner to a new year, my staff and I recommit ourselves to this standard. Over the past year, I have utilized many vendors, service providers and products. Some have impressed me greatly with exceptional customer service — others, not so much. Social Media’s empowerment of the common consumer keeps savvy companies on their toes to excel at service and to monitor their online reputation. (Self-serving comment since PilmerPR offers this service.)


Sonny Bryan’s BBQ – Yesterday, I ate at the nearly new Sonny Bryan’s BBQ in Sandy, UT. Dallas residents are familiar with this humble cornerstone of Texas BBQ. Service was fast, ribs were great! Pat’s BBQ in Sugarhouse may still lead the BBQ pack in Utah (they have live Blues bands weekly) and Good Wood may dominate Utah Valley so far, but Sonny service is great!

Brent Brown Toyota – Every car dealer I know of has had unhappy customers at one time or another. Brent Brown did something about that in 2011. They hired a new service manager, and Toyota customer surveys are now tracking near 95% happy customers. Other steps now in place increase the speed with with the dealer responds to customer feedback. PilmerPR is proud to be a part of those efforts.

EP Auto – I don’t trust auto mechanics in general. Sorry, guys! Eric and staff at EP Auto in Orem, UT are an exception. I’ve used them for a decade and see no need to change. They other day, I was prepared to spend $300 on a fix to my wife’s car. When the final bill came, that amount was $150 because we didn’t need to replace what was originally considered the faulty part.

-Not so good:

CocaCola – Last year, I found a piece of clear plastic in my bottle of Coke Zero.  (I love Coke Zero). When I tweeted about the find to test the company’s social media savvy, they tweeted back the same day. Impressive! However, it went downhill from there. Instead of saying, “Mr. Pilmer, we are so sorry for your experience. What would it take to make this right for you?” the company sent me questionnaires and phone calls crafted to mitigate their risk. This made me less happy at each step as they appeared to assume I would sue them at the drop of a hat. They ultimately sent me a letter from what appeared to be a law firm saying there was no evidence wrongdoing on their part.  Give me a break!!! (The local bottler did send a couple of coupons which I still have not used–kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.)

Gold’s Gym – For around eight years, my daily exercise 5 days/week has included cardio or core workouts at Gold’s in Orem, UT. When the gym was new, I really felt there was something special about being a member there. Not so much now. Today, the TV didn’t work on the bicycle I rode; the heart monitor didn’t work on the treadmill I used; and the jets on one side of the jacuzzi haven’t worked for a week.  And, last week there was a Health Dept warning on the jacuzzi. I’ve never seen one of those before.

Have you had a customer service experience that was exceptionally good or bad?

About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.
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