As tomorrow ushers out summer, I'll look back with fondness, as I gave birth to my daughter Evelyn in July. While on maternity leave, I took note of some customer experiences that caught my attention--some that I praised and others that left me scratching my head.
Here's my list of the most noteworthy customer experiences from the summer of 2015.
Jet startup to compete with Amazon
Jet, a new e-commerce site, launched in July and is set to give Amazon some real competition. Through a yearly $50 subscription fee, customers can purchase reduced goods and take advantage of a concierge service where Jet lists products not technically sold on its site. Jet will buy the products at face value from the original retailer and has it shipped directly to the consumer. The site is already surpassing Sears, Best Buy, Newegg, and Rakuten, in terms of total value of products sold, according to
ChannelAdvisor. Analysis also showed that Jet had a 23 percent repeat buyer rate in July, better than the 11 percent seen at Amazon during the same time period.
Court ruled that FTC can sue companies for sloppy cyber security
A U.S. appeals court ruled in August that the Federal Trade Commission has the authority to sue corporations for failing to properly secure customer information from data breaches. As Congress has yet to pass a data privacy bill, this ruling strengthens the commission's initiative to protect customers in the marketplace.
A Chick-fil-A owner pays employees while closed for five months
A Chick-fil-A owner recently had to shut down his Austin, Texas, restaurant for five months for renovations. Rather than laying off his 50 workers, Jeff Glover shocked his staff by continuing to pay them during the entire five months the restaurant would be closed. Glover even gave them a $1-per-hour raise for returning when the renovations were complete.
Netflix offers unlimited maternity leave
Netflix announced in early August that it's now allowing employees to take unlimited maternity or paternity leave during the first year after their child's birth or adoption. They can return on a full- or part-time basis, and even take subsequent time off later in the year if needed. Other companies are falling suit. Last week Honest Company announced it would offer 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.
Delta Airlines shames passengers into buying upgrades
Passenger rights group Flyersrights.org says Delta Air Lines is shaming travelers into buying expensive upgrades. When customers choose a basic economy fare on Delta's website, the final page before they confirm the purchase now lists several restrictions they'll face when purchasing a ticket in coach. Such warnings include being last to board and the last to access overhead bin space; receiving no seat assignment or no refunds; and having no option to change tickets, board early, and make changes to stand-by travel.
CSS Insurance to charge higher premiums for inactive people
Swiss insurance provider, CSS Insurance, which offers a digital pedometer monitoring program, announced it will start charging higher premiums to its customers who don't meet their daily step quota or choose not to participate in the program. The insurance company can charge more for those who don't meet the quota while forcing customers to share their personal information with the provider.
Frontier eliminates toll-free number
For decades, travelers have been able to count on a toll-free customer-service phone number to contact their airlines. Earlier this summer, Frontier Airlines eliminated its toll-free 800 number, citing a $2 million per year savings.
What are some of your most memorable customer experiences from the past few months?