***42 emails and counting***‏

That was the title of the email I sent to Petflow.com yesterday morning at 7:45am when I realized that my inbox was inundated and it wasn’t showing signs of stopping.

Before I go on I should probably warn you, this is not one of my rants.  This is a story about customer service.  Good customer service.

I had checked my email on my phone at some point in the wee smalls and noticed that I had a lot of email from Petflow.  This was odd as I usually only hear from them about once a month and when our prescheduled orders of cat food are about to ship.

For the record, Bucky is a very picky eater and he and Scratch eat a prescription cat food that is just about impossible to find in stores.  When we found out that we could get it from Petflow, delivered on our schedule, and with free shipping, we were sold.

We started ordering from them back when Smoky was alive and fairly healthy so we had to order more regularly.  When Smoky fell ill, we had to revise the schedule a bit.  When he died, we had to dial it back even more as Bucky is rather a free feeder and tends toward wet food the older he gets while Scratch will just pig out on anything you put in front of him, so we have to control his portions.

Anyway, one time I tried to reschedule an order that was about 10 days out and the website brain farted and double scheduled me.  I called up their help number and was connected to a live person immediately.  I was stunned.  The man I spoke to was so helpful and immediately solved my problem.  I told him how impressed I was, he apologized for the glitch and told me he’d turn it over to the programmers to make sure it didn’t happen to anyone else.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I’m getting ready to head to work, and there’s the same email from Petflow piling up in my inbox over and over again.  Getting rid of the email wasn’t hard and what it was telling me, that I needed to send in a copy of the prescription for the food I order wasn’t true, getting it to stop was another matter.

I looked at the clock and assumed that as their customer service hours were 9am-8pm that I’d be out of luck until I got home from work.  (Work is busy enough that calling them while there probably wasn’t going to happen.)  As I wasn’t relishing the prospect of going through a work day with 2-3 emails a minute piling up in my inbox, I went ahead and emailed them through the website.  I put in the title listed above, explained what was going on, pasted in a copy of the email, and then asked them to please get back to me.  I assumed that someone would get to the email queue once work started at 9:00am.

I was wrong.

Within 2 minutes I had an email from Alex Zhardanovsky, the co-founder of the company.  At 7:45am he was checking the incoming customer service emails.

This, folks, is how you do business.  This is how you treat your customers and how you build your reputation and your brand.  I had such a good experience with them the last time I’d called that my reaction to the email problem was not anger, it was concern.  Was something wrong?  Had they been hacked?  That’s what you want your customers to think and feel about you and it’s incredibly hard to do in cyberspace.

Before the work day had even started Alex had addressed my problem, emailed his entire tech team, and kept me posted on the fix.  Within a couple of hours, and at less than 100 emails received, the problem was fixed.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know that many companies, bricks and mortar or online, where the founder/ceo/executive(s) are that involved in making sure that the customers are actually treated with respect, that things work, and that they are a part of getting the job done.  (I’m looking at you, Verizon, Comcast, UPS, etc.)

I emailed Alex to thank him for fixing the problem and, more appropriately, for taking it upon himself to address the needs of a customer before the work day had even begun.  I work in customer service, I’ve had plenty of experience with web sites & content, databases, email lists, etc.  I get it.

So, this is my uncompensated, unasked-for, totally honest recommendation.  If you’ve got a critter in your life that needs food, check out Petflow.  They know how to treat all of their customers, the ones they feed and the ones that pay the bills as well.


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