Cigars 101

Why Good Customer Service Matters

Gary KorbIf you’re like a lot of cigar smokers who buy their cigars online, you’ve probably spoken with Customer Service at some point. It could have been about a return, an offer, new cigars or accessories, shipping, out of stock items, or to place an order because you’d rather talk to a human being than a video monitor. Sometimes the call is to make CS aware that the website copy about an item is erroneous. (Ouch!)

Whatever the reason for calling, even though the Famous Smoke Shop website has helpful answers to commonly asked questions, the Customer Service Department is the frontline, and in many cases, the “face” of the company. How the agent “appears” to the customer can often be the difference between losing or keeping a customer for life.

One of the things Famous Smoke Shop is best known for, maybe even more so in some ways than our competitive prices on cigars, is customer service. The primary reason for this is that Famous Smoke Shop customer service sets the bar higher than any other industry competitor. That’s why consumer shop & compare sites like BizRate.com have awarded Famous “Gold” status for customer service excellence.

“Our most important goal is to make sure the customer is 100% satisfied with their experience from beginning to end,” says Famous Call Center Manager, Cory Reinhard. “If a customer has any issues anywhere in the chain of an order, I insist on being notified so I can make it right.”

Bad experiences from website issues, order or product problems, general complaints, or shipping issues happen. Therefore, the faster the customer’s problem is handled and rectified the more satisfied the customer will be. Most important is patience and politeness. Nothing turns a frown upside down faster than an agent who’s courteous. Of course, there are some customers who just want to pick a fight no matter what the agent says.

“In a business where we are at the mercy of our vendors’ products and timelines, we need to make sure we stand out,” says Reinhard. “If a customer wants us to check the items they’ve ordered, I personally inspect them and place a signed business card with inspection date in the package to give the customer the proof that it is something I would personally smoke or use without question.”

Returns are common with any online business and can often be overwhelming. The advantage to Famous’s return policy is quick turnaround and offering replacement products or credits to customers “hassle free.” Within minutes a return shipping label is generated and e-mailed (or mailed) to the customer to expedite the process. In certain situations replacement products are sent to customers to avoid “down time.” If a customer feels they have to go to another site to purchase their items just to tide them over, it can be a death knell.

Famous also provides a variety of shipping options; from free shipping promotions to overnight service, everything in-between, and even international orders are fulfilled with ease.

As for me, when I have to speak with a customer service person from a company for something I’ve purchased, it’s because of Famous’s excellence in customer service that I hold the agent to a higher standard. Sure, low prices on cigars are great, but if you can’t get good customer service when you need it, you’re wasting your time and your money.

Want more proof? See this press release.

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Phil
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Phil

1) Tabak Especial Short Shots
2) Maroma Fuerte Churchills
3) Capoeira
4) Patel Bros. Next Generation.

How many more of my favorite brands will you people be discontinuing? And will these brands be available elsewhere? Please advise.

Gary Korb
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Hi Phil,
Hope I’m not adding insult to injury, but these brands will not likely be available elsewhere, since all but Tabak Especial are exclusive to FSS. If you need help finding a good alternative, perhaps something you’ll enjoy even more, please contact me or Customer Service.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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