Customer service seems one of the few abiding practices of retailers, food service and other consumer industries. This is true of the ones who wish to excel, at least. If you've ever worked in any of these industries, you know what I mean. Customer satisfaction is paramount. If pleasing the public requires staying open an extra hour, walking people to their cars, or listening to complaints about your store's pricing, you will accommodate. Customers know this.
Still, though, there are those organizations that persist flunking customer satisfaction tests. These are places like insurance companies, mechanics and movie rental establishments. They know you need them. I think they may even have an agreement, the first knowing full well you'll need a movie to escape your tormented soul after dealing with them. Then, you're so stressed you forget to return the film for three days past its due date. True, they've abolished late fees--now you simply pay for the whole movie before you go pay to have your oil changed. The movie usually costs more than the oil by that point. It's vicious and cyclical.
Exceptions to these exist and I love them for it. USAA insurance--bliss. I believe I could call them on a bad day just to feel better about life. "Hello, Miss Steagall, what can we do for you today?" "I'm having a bad day, actually." "Oh, well, may I offer you a list of suggestions? Proven pick-me-ups? Loose leaf oolong delivered to your door?" "No, thank you, the mere mention made me smile enough." No, they haven't offered me tea yet, but they would. And I'd take them up on it.
In answer to my other usually trying experiences, I've found Hensley Auto Services and Netflix alleviate all stress associated with fear of hidden fees. (Ok, overdue movie fees are not hidden, but I detest them). What other auto shop sends you a thank you note the next day for having your oil changed there? Or remember the conversation you had on your last visit? (Corey Automotive ranks up there with this, too, but I moved too far away) And Netflix is simply brilliant. I can instantly watch all Audrey Tatou films and have Chuck shipped to my house. I can keep him as long as I want. Well, the DVDs, anyway. Plus, I love the mail. Stress...gone!
So, thank you, lovely establishments who make me think better of your industries. Keep it up.