Call me a pessimist, but I think most American companies have customer service that ranks just above Idi Amin’s summer camps and just below scraping gum off the bottom of your shoe with your bare hand.  Yes, some get it right: Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks are usually at the top of my “attaboy” list.  But for the most part, I burn with customer service loathing with the burn of a thousand suns.

That’s why I was very pleasantly surprised with my interaction with Magazines.com yesterday.  Here’s the backstory:

My father-in-law is a cowboy / farmer / rodeo rider / rancher / all-around-horse-guy from way back.  Part of my rite of passage to earn his daughter’s hand was that I had to pretend to like horses, with all of their stench and sweat and piles of…production.  So usually every year his birthday or Christmas or Father’s Day gift involves some horse-related theme.  There are horse Christmas ornaments, horse gear that we bought from a place called a “tack shop,” horse riding clothing, horse salt and pepper shakers.  You know, the usual.

Last year we ordered a one-year subscription to Equus magazine, which is apparently all about horses.  Or the new Hyundai car.  I’m not sure.

Then over the weekend, we received notification that our one-year subscription had miraculously renewed.  Now, I dig my father-in-law.  But I simply can’t feed his periodical horse habit from here on out.  The first one’s free, pal.  After that, you pay for it.  (And if he ever finds these words on the interwebs, I’ll prepare to be lassoed, hog-tied, and tossed on the back forty.)

Was I looking forward to making the first contact about killing off the horses?  Neigh. I steeled myself for a seven month series of phone calls / formal complaints / legal inquisitions / poisonous spider delivery with the good folks at Magazines.com, because after all, customer service stinks.

Except for this company.

The process was simple: one phone number, easy to find on the front page of their website.  It was quick: they actually answered on the third ring (no voicemail, but a live human).  It was painless: I told Lissa the situation – how I was cutting off the F-I-L, and she told me how sorry she was that had happened and they’d refund my money right away.  The whole process took less than two minutes, and I left the phone call with one big thought:

Those periodical pushers will see me again.

If Magazines.com is that easy to work with, they just won a customer.  Next time I need a mag full of articles about how to deal with hoof rot (or any other number of subjects), they’ve got my business.

Thanks, Lissa.  And thanks to Magazines.com.  You’ve restored my faith in another company’s service.

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