Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It's About The Customer Service, Stupid

Several months ago, I was going through a photo album of a vacation my father and I took to New York City back in 1991. We stayed at the famous Hotel Chelsea (Chelsea blog here) and had the big time. Among the photos was a letter from the Chelsea to my dad confirming his reservation. It was typed out in detail by the sender. (Was it proprietor Stanley Bard himself?) In closing, he personalized it by wishing my father and his son a good visit. Obviously, he had taken the time and care to remember more about my father than his credit card number.

How often does that happen nowadays? We're all so automated now. We press 3 for this or 4 for that when speaking to a real person is all we really want. The last days of the record store are upon us. Will Tower Records be here in a year? In three months? We go online and click and buy, but no one smiles and says "thank you" anymore. And if we see that phrase at all, it's just a meaningless piece of text on the screen. We don't feel it and we don't buy it. We just purchase and move along. Fair enough.

So I was smiling tonight when I received email confirmation of an order I made on CDBaby.com. Still just text on a screen maybe, but it felt genuine and was fun to read. It's probably just a standard script that every purchaser receives, but what a script! Thanks to CDBaby for putting a little effort into making me feel good about a purchase. Stuff like that buys loyalty from a guy like me.

By the way, I bought Heater by Nashville's own Newton Dominey.

Here's the fun confirmation in question:

Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with
sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make
sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over
the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that
money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party
marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of
Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in
our private CD Baby jet on this day, Tuesday, August 29th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as "Customer of the Year". We're all
exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,

Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music


Sam Davidson said...

Awesome. I'll have to check these folks out.

mom said...

that's so tough. that's one of the
places where they sell bobby's cd.
wish that he had known that. he
would have though it was truly

AWE said...

Even though I hate it when I have to provide it, I dread the day that customer service is all automated.

That was a cool letter.

Muffy said...

As if Newton's music wasn't reason enough to buy it.. now I'll have to find other stuff on CD Baby to buy!

Just for the letter.

Tower Records has completely shut down in Singapore... sad. I used to work there... now all Singaporeans have is HMV.

Webbspun Ideas said...

Wow, Im very impressed and loving how they make you feel like you are the king. I have heard of them but now will check them out and see what I can find so that I can be a king as well. Great story

Shauna said...

Just last week I recieved a hand-written postcard from Dean & Deluca thanking me for my purchase. It was a bit late (if it referred to my June purchase -- very late if it was the December one!) but I certainly took note of it and will remember it the next time I need a foodie gift.

newton dominey said...

first, thanks for picking up the cd. i'd love to know what you think of it.

now, on to cdbaby. these guys really are one of the coolest companies that i get to deal with. the neat little email you got? i get them all the time when i sell a cd or when they've got an update. they've always got personality and always seem to be thrilled to be dealing with me, the little indie musician that could.

i'll have your "bonus" cd in the mail shortly (by mid month). you've gotta make it out to a show so you can hear my version of "put the message in the box," by the way.