Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On the positive side: Two fine companies

Just so readers don't think I'm more curmudgeonly than I actually am, I figure I'll forget that an airline with red tails even exists (and it won't very soon) and write about a couple of companies that actually realize that it's their customers that provide their paychecks. The first one is a small local company and the other a somewhat larger entity on the west coast of Canada.

I've gotten used to hearing the gloating and abuse from TheCommish and FrugalFisherman as they ram their plastic Prijon boats on to the rocky north shore of Lake Superior while I gingerly land the OreFreighter (Valley Aquanaut HV) to protect the delicate gel coat. TheCommish is particularly brutal with his Prijon, dragging it up the rocks like a caveman would drag his prospective bride by the hair back to the cave. I always tell him he should kick it a couple times too, just to show it who's boss. Gel coat is not quite as delicate as everyone would believe but on popular cobble beaches there are significant gel coat deposits on the rocks, especially when there is any kind of swell. Sometime last year the BessemerConvivialist told me she was taking her boat down to Northwest Canoe to have a silicon carbide keel protector strip installed. She was very happy with it and before I knew it, I was hauling the GurneyGranny's boat down there from beautiful suburban Gurney, WI for the same operation. I was familiar with Northwest Canoe since they had repaired the OreFreighter when I attempted to break it in two by driving over a bow line in Marquette, MI a couple years back. After checking out this keel strip I began hauling the fleet down there, a boat at a time. Not only was the installation reasonable ($90) but it was done on time (ahead of time actually), I was thanked for the business, and told that if I ever had a problem to give 'em a call. All by living, breathing human beings, Dennis and George; no humanoid with voice recognition software anywhere to be found.

The other example of fine customer care was from Feathercraft out in Vancouver, BC. Last spring I sold my Big Kahuna to the ZumbroFallsImpressionist so she could lower her carbon footprint by folding it up and transporting it in her Toyota Pious. While playing in the pool this winter she realized that the cockpit coaming would sometimes come loose from the skin in the back. I suggested she email Feathercraft and they got back to her with in a day. Not 4 days like a certain transportation firm. Much to Ms ZFI's surprise Feathercraft 1) admitted the problem, 2) carefully detailed the fix, 3) and offered to complete the work at cost. Absolutely refreshing. I've had the same experience when I've called or emailed with questions. And once again, a real live person picked up the phone and answered my questions knowledgeably. I kind of feel bad that I didn't get to visit the plant when we were in Vancouver, even though I was across the street from it. I knew they were located in Vancouver, I just didn't know where and when we were on Granville Island I found myself drawn to the Granville Island Brewpub. Due to poor research on my part as well as an excellent bitter, I didn't realize that the Feathercraft shop was right across the street. Oh well, gotta get back out that way I guess.

Both these companies are worthy of yours, mine, and everyones business. They have proven to be honest, fair, and they do what they say they are gonna do. I'm not sure what more a person could ask of a company.

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