Contempt of Customer

Recently I ordered from an up-and-coming online food delivery service. It was the first time using their service, and although doubtful about their value prop, I thought “Let’s see how it goes.”

Well, to put is nicely, the food sucked. It was cold and unappealing.

I contacted their customer service and expected a prompt refund and a note saying, “Sorry you didn’t like it. Please give us another chance.”

But no. They said, “No, you can’t have a refund.” So they would rather have my $26 than a happy customer.

I found two things interesting about this experience. The days of caveat emptor seem so long ago. After my many positive experiences with Amazon, Zappos and Progressive Insurance, it seemed that the practice of abusing your customer was coming to an end. But I guess not. I was just getting used to the wonderful customer service of a few companies.


Does treating your customer right pay off? I think so. I made 139 orders from Amazon in last year alone. I haven’t added up the total, but the vast majority of my shopping happens on Amazon. Is it because they have the lowest prices? No. Is it because they have great customer service? Not really.

Ultimately it boils down to how we feel about the company. If we have positive emotions about the company, then we will naturally choose to shop there. We don’t even need to think about it. Our favorite companies become the go-to default choice. As soon as we decide to shop for something, the first place we check is that company’s site.

It’s interesting to note that our positive feelings make us find reasons to buy from our favorite companies, even when we wouldn’t normally do it. Recently I decided to get a new computer. Newegg has good service, great prices, great reviews and is great for buying individual components. In fact, it is better for computer components than Amazon because the customer base is more technical and the reviews are more helpful.

So you would expect me to go to Newegg to get the computer, right? No, I chose Amazon. Because Amazon had built up so much good will. Because Amazon had made so many deposits into our energy bank account (as described by Steven Covey), or, as the kids say, street cred.

In fact, I have so much good will towards Amazon, that I set a goal of making 150 orders this year. I plan on making 0 orders from the crappy food delivery service.

So, that’s the story of the good company vs. the bad company. Will one company succeed and the other company fail? I hope so. But I can only do my small part, of making 150 orders this year.