A while back, I lost about a week of my life to SBC's labyrinthine and incompetent customer service system and I gave the my first and only Awful Service Award. While some have challenged for the award, SBC is so memorably awful, I have sort of retired the citation.
By contrast, Typepad just blew my socks off. I was among many who last week, had terrible performance problems, which I blogged about in frustration. Anil Dash, VP business development, wrote a quick comment of apology, which impressed me at its speed and sincerity. The service has since gotten better, a lot better, and the whole incident was falling into the back part of my memory.
But TypePad has outdone itself. In fact, Typepad has outdone anything I've previously experienced in terms of companies making good. This morning I--and I assume most Typepad users--received an email from Barak Berkowitz, Six Apart chairman and CEO. Not only did he apologize, he offered to compensate me for the "less than stellar performance" on Typepad's part. Not only that, the offer let's me choose--within reasonable limits--how many days free service I think I'm entitled to.
This is brilliant marketing. It increases both my personal trust and loyalty. I was inconvenienced, but I'm not going to request free service, because the offer alone is good enough for me.
Not long ago, I also reported on some good experiences from NewsGator. I'd like to say that there is evidence that blog companies universally give great service and at least show their embarrassment for poor service, but that would overstate the case. I'd like to tell SBC about this, but I just don't want to spend the remainder of my productivity years sitting on their help line, being told my call is important to them.