Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Tale of Truly Excellent Customer Service

I have been meaning to write this for a while, and with all the holiday stuff going on, I kept forgetting.  Many of you might know that we went on vacation this summer.  One detail I probably did not mention is that on the last day, 5 minutes before we left to come home, my iPhone shattered when I dropped it on the floor at our beach house.  I was pretty sad.  When we made the decision to replace it, rather than repair it, I decided to also invest in an OtterBox case.  All my cute and pretty cases were not doing anything to actually protect the phone.  So, in July, I ordered an OtterBox from Amazon.  From the moment I put it on my phone, I felt very secure that the phone was protected.  While it was a pricey case, it was doing what it needed to do, and was still cheaper than replacing the phone again.

Last month, I sent out the following tweet:

Notice I did not tag OtterBox in the tweet with the "@" sign.  I merely stated the company name in the tweet.

Later on in the day, I received this response from the OtterBox Customer Service account:


So, this means someone is tasked with the job of searching Twitter for people talking about OtterBox products and trying to trouble shoot any problems for them.

I went to the link the gave me, and after entering some information, was directed to call Customer Service.  A representative asked me some questions about the problems with my product, and told me she would be sending an email with further instructions.  I needed to send them some pictures of the damage to the product, which was less than 6 months old.  Within 30 minutes of sending them the photos, they emailed me back confirming that they were replacing my OtterBox.

On December 11, my new OtterBox arrived.


So, to recap, OtterBox Customer Service sought me out when they caught wind via Twitter that my product was not working for me.  I never even thought my product would be covered by warranty, yet they painlessly walked me through the warranty claim, and in less than two weeks I had a replacement case.  And given the ease of the transaction, I would bet that this is standard for them.  The probably did not think they were going above and beyond, but I certainly did.

I would have simply thrown my case away and purchased some other product elsewhere, but OtterBox saw to it that my problem was solved before I had a chance.  What a wonderful example of truly outstanding customer service, and a great way to create a loyal customer.  Well done OtterBox; other companies, take note.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Torani Syrups

I am a big coffee person, particularly when it comes to flavored coffee.  Two years ago, I switched from a regular coffee maker to a Keurig, which was a smart decision in my opinion.  The only downside is sometimes the flavors I crave are not available in K-cups, particularly in decaf coffee.  I have been trying to cut my caffeine intake, so good decaf is a must for me.  The best solution to this need is flavored syrups.


I was given an opportunity to try two of the holiday flavors from Torani Syrups recently, so of course I jumped at the chance.  The flavors I got to try were Pumpkin Pie and Vanilla Bean.  While both were delicious, the Pumpkin Pie was my personal favorite.

What I like best about these syrups is they are so versatile; they can be used in so much more than making flavored coffees and lattes (though they are delicious in those).  I am not much of a drinker, but I imagine these syrups could be used to make some delicious mixed drinks.  Mix the Pumpkin Pie syrup with some Whipped Cream Vodka, and I bet it would be delicious!  For chocolate lovers, mix it with your hot cocoa for a little extra kick.  To cure a super sweet tooth, mix it with some ice cream, milk, and crushed graham crackers for an amazing Pumpkin Pie milkshake (and maybe even spike it with some of that Whipped Cream Vodka I mentioned!)

I tried to get really creative, and I actually used they syrup, along with some pumpkin butter,  to flavor some Pumpkin Pie scones, which we all snacked on Thanksgiving morning.  They were a big hit!  The Pumpkin Pie flavor, though delicious, is strong, and not one I would want all year round.  But that is what makes holiday flavors so special.  Each year, come October, I want to make pretty much everything pumpkin flavored, so this is perfect.  The Vanilla Bean is a flavor I could see myself using all year round, even to make iced coffees in the summer.

In short, I was really impressed with the quality of these syrups.  Torani syrups are the ones used by my all time favorite coffee shop in Pittsburgh, so it comes as no surprise to me that I love them for use in my own home as well.

This post was sponsored by SheSpeaks and Torani.  They provided me with the product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are honest and original.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Making the Holiday Season Full

Last month, I talked about my family's Polish Christmas customs, and what a huge part of my identity this is. I cannot imagine a Christmas without these traditions.  But for so many, Christmas is yet another day full of hunger.  So many Americans have difficulty having any type of holiday meal, let alone one that honors their cultural history.

Grab button for Tote4Pgh Holiday Tote Projects

Over the last couple of years, I have gotten to know some amazing folks, thanks to social media, who run a project called The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project.  The goal is to collect reusable bags to help individuals visiting food pantries to safely, efficiently transport food.  We all know how flimsy plastic and paper bags can be (not to mention the scourge plastic bags are on the environment); imagine trying to carry those flimsy bags across several city blocks, or taking them on public transportation.  Tote bags are collected and distributed to food banks.


In addition, The Pittsburgh Tote Bag project helps raise awareness about various needs of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food bank, about hunger, and about recycling.  In short, this group does a whole lot of good.  As part of their 2012 Holiday Project, they decided to specifically raise awareness about the culturally diverse impact of hunger.  Imagine not having your favorite food, a long standing family tradition, as part of your holiday meal.  The 2012 Holiday Project suggested that people donate ethnic food items, along with a reusable tote bag.


I talked a lot about this last month, and encouraged my readers to donate.  Now, I put my money where my mouth is.  Tonight, I am attending an event where folks from the Pittsburgh social media set will gather together to celebrate the holidays.  We are using the opportunity to also donate tote bags and food items.  The food items I chose to donate are Hispanic food items, including rice, several types of beans, chicken stock, corn meal, coconut milk, tomato sauce, and peppers.  As I shopped, I could not help but think about the people who would receive these items.  I can only hope that this donation will help to honor and bless them as much as being a part of this project has blessed me.

Please consider donating to your local foodbank this holiday season, and take some time to check out The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project. They are just good people.