See update from Diamondback Drugs below.
It’s rare to experience in one day both the pinnacle of excellent customer service and the opposite — a customer service experience so bad that the consumer would rather spend more money elsewhere than to give a bad company good business.
When you have many pets in your home, a lot of money flies out for many purchases. Cats need kitty litter and food; dogs need food and toys. I’ve been using Chewy.com for many supplies because getting 40 pound bags of dog food and kitty litter delivered to my front door just makes sense. It wasn’t until there was a problem with my most recent delivery that I realized how superb their customer service is.
My dogs and cats are on several medications. Two cats have thyroid issues, and I spend extra money to get a transdermal medication that I can just rub inside their ears. Much less trauma than trying to shove pills down their throats once or twice a day. My veterinarian had originally ordered the medication through VGA of Texas. Their product was fine, but when they changed the formula slightly, I didn’t think it worked as well.
I’d been going to Diamondback Drugs for pet medication for years and years. My dog’s Clomipramine comes from them. So I started using their transdermal thyroid medication, and it worked well. But when I arrived home from work today, I discovered that one of my dogs — I’m not blaming any one of the four in particular except it was probably my latest rescue from Florida who loves to chew plastic — had opened the envelope and chewed the bottle of Clomipramine pills and both dispensers of thyroid medication.
All the pills were counted and put in a new container. I checked the dispensers and found that while the outer casing was destroyed, the inner tube with the actual medication was in perfect shape. All I needed was new casing so I could give the medication to the cats.
I didn’t think this would be a big problem at all. A new piece of plastic? That shouldn’t be a problem, right? Especially with a company I’ve been doing business with for years and years.
I was able to talk to a pharmacist at Diamondback. She put me on hold for quite a while and then told me I could purchase another outer casing for $10. They would also charge $8 for shipping. By that time, I realized that I had an empty dispenser, so I asked her if someone there could talk me through just switching out the old empty tube with one of the new filled tubes. She put me on hold yet again. When she came back to the phone after talking to a technician and explained Diamondback’s policy, I was shocked.
“It’s not part of her job description to tell you how to do that,” she repeated at least twice during our conversation. “We don’t do that. You’ll need to figure it out on your own. Your choices: You can order the replacement dispenser or place a new order.”
I then asked if someone from Diamondback would help me with assembling the dispenser and inner tube if I just ordered the replacement part. She said no. This was not someone who was trying to keep me as a customer. Instead, she didn’t seem to care at all whether she helped me or my cats (who are now out of their thyroid medication). I will be stopping by my local pharmacy tomorrow to see if they can help me, and after that I will return to buying my pet medication from VPA.
Incidentally, VGA knows a bit about customer service. When they changed the formula and I called them, they worried that it was the tubing, so they sent me two more dispensers of the thyroid medication for my cat at no charge! Although this particular product is a bit waxier than the other, I’m all about loyalty and companies that appreciate their customers. VPA, can you also provide Clomipramine? I’ll need a new source for that as well!
Diamondback Drugs in Arizona? They will never see another penny of my money if I can help it.
Chewy.com is my other customer service story. I’ve loved the convenience, and moving a box from my front porch to my house is easy compared with schlepping into and out of cars and garages. We have four dogs, and until a week ago, we had four cats. That’s a lot of kitty litter, canned cat food, and big bags of dog food — all of which are very heavy.
But this morning when I left for work, I noticed that the Chewy order had been left on my front steps overnight (apparently delivered Sunday evening). FedEx left the large boxes on the steps in the open, uncovered, and it had rained hard, so the boxes were soaked and covered in mud this morning. Just six inches closer to the house and the boxes would have been protected by the overhang. As it was, they must have dropped one box, because after my husband unpacked it, a bag of litter had burst.
But when I emailed Chewy about the botched delivery, before they even responded by email, they re-sent the whole order. The whole order, immediately, without talking to me. I got the automatic email about the replacement order before I got the response from customer service. That, my friends, is real customer service. I will be a loyal Chewy customer for a long, long time.
When one spends hundreds of dollars every month on animal medication and hundreds of dollars every month on food and other necessities for animals, it’s important to know where that money is going. I believe in supporting companies that appreciate my business. I love Trader Joe’s because if you are not happy with a product, you don’t have to bring the product back. They trust their customers and will give a refund based on one’s word.
So adiós Diamondback Drugs. Thank you, Chewy! VPA, I’m sorry I left you, but now I know that you should be refilling both my prescriptions!
If you have had experiences with any of the above companies, feel free to share those experiences as comments! I’d love to hear about them.
Update: Diamondback Drugs called me today. They saw my post on Twitter and read this story. They then listened to yesterday’s phone conversation between me and one of their pharmacists. Melissa, the customer service representative who reached out to me said that those in charge were appalled. “You taped the conversation?” I asked. I was happy that they did because I had been polite yet persistent throughout the call. I only really got angry at the end after the pharmacist rebuffed every plea I made to get help. Melissa pointed out that I even said that the destruction of the tubes was my dog’s fault, not Diamondback’s, but I needed help.
Melissa said they wanted to make things right. I said that I had figured out how to substitute the inner container with the medication for the empty one in the old dispenser. Ironically, I told her, it was not that difficult. “It probably would have been a 30-second conversation,” I said. Diamondback is refunding the cost of the two tubes of medication and sending out new tubes. I told them that it was unnecessary as now that I know how to swap out the tubes, I can use the ones they sent, but they insisted that it was to make up for my very unfortunate customer service experience.
As I stated above, good companies make things right. Taping conversations is a good thing (they probably explain that in the automated message) because if you are polite and explain your issue, someone else can see what happened, listen to the conversation, and respond appropriately.
So if you feel that you need to contact a company because of an issue, be polite. Make sure to reach out to them on social media (I use Twitter with great success). Most companies want to make things right. And if they don’t? Spread the word and stop shopping there.
I will be giving Diamondback Drugs another chance! But my plug for VPA (Veterinary Pharmacies of America) still stands. Both companies try to make things right.