How to apologize for accusing your customers of fraud

So the very next day after posting about Zipcar sending us the most bizarre customer service email ever, a very nice customer service manager named Brian gave me a call and mentioned he had read the blog post.  After listening to the CSR tapes and such, he noted that they “could have done better” and after a lengthy conversation, we arrived at a couple of specific things that were or would happen (he had already initiated some):

1) He offered to merge our Zipcar accounts for free, which normally costs $50 online (I passed, given that it should be free and we’re fine independently for now).

2) He sent a Manhattan rep to check out the garage and get the correct address for their system.

3) He waived the late fee.

4) He was going to use this as a “teachable moment” with his staff about addressing customer requests separately from customer “reminders” (which are really warnings).

Obviously, its great customer service to reach out when someone has a complaint and Zipcar deserves applause for doing so.  The only thing that beats good followup service is doing it right the first time, and I’m reminded of my father’s constant lesson as a kid: “saying your sorry isn’t as important as not doing it again”.  So hopefully that’s the end of the “oh by the way, we think you’re a fraudster” emails.

Kudos to Brian, and also the first CSR that talked to us while we were stuck in traffic trying to get to the alternate garage; he was patient and awesome and I unfortunately don’t remember his name.  So kudos nameless guy.

Also, in retrospect, I should have suggested that Zipcar equip all cars with bluetooth handsfree devices so that people can call in without causing accidents (which would probably get them a break on their insurance).  But since Zipcar apparently is reading my posts, I guess I just did.

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