Dick’s Sporting Goods Goes Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

In our experience, it’s rarely the case that a company will choose to go beyond the letter of a warranty and honor a request to replace a defective product when they don’t have to.  So, we wanted to recognize Dick’s Sporting Goods for going above and beyond the call of duty.  It was also a good experience for our son Jack in learning to persist after not getting satisfaction initially with a company’s customer service.  He had tried to get a defective product replaced from the extended warranty side of Dick’s Sporting Goods, which is actually a separate company, N.E.W., and the warranty does not cover damage done by defective batteries, which we didn’t realize because that exclusion was buried in the warranty fine print.

Our son Jack sent this via Dick’s Sporting Goods online customer feedback system:

I wanted to recognize Ms. Lynne Johnson, Store Manager, and Mr. Ryan Schwind, Lodge Manager, who were both very helpful to me when I recently needed to return a broken air soft gun.  My parents had been unsuccessful in getting any help from the Dick’s online warranty partner.  The gun cost me $110, and it failed because of a leaky battery.  My parents didn’t know that the fine print of the extended warranty did not cover battery issues.

Ms. Johnson and Mr. Schwind told my father to come into the store when he called them asking if they make an exception.  They took the time to listen to me, and then helped me find a similar brand-new gun.

We shop quite a lot at Dick’s, and this experience will only want us to shop there more often.

Thanks very much.


Jack Mishra, age 13.

Meet Tyler Consulting

I met Virginia Tyler when she was a participant in my Health Care Leadership executive education program a couple of years ago at the University of Michigan.  She not only was a great leader in my classroom, but we’ve kept in touch since then, continuing a lively conversation about health care policy and outcomes and how they can be shaped by engaged leaders across our country.  I’m pleased to announce that she’s launched a consulting company in Rochester, NY that I would highly recommend to anyone in the healthcare sector.


Tyler Consulting provides strategic advisory services to healthcare and nonprofit clients.  We utilize a team of experts with national experience to provide local results.  We concentrate our services in three areas:

  1. Industry and market research
  2. Business and program planning and analysis
  3. Resource Development

Our Model
Tyler Consulting is a virtual firm with over 20 consulting project partners. Project teams differ for every project we do.  We use this model for two reasons: to ensure the best match of skill to client needs, and to keep overhead as low as possible. Many of our consultant partners have worked for industry-leading providers and professional firms. As a result, you get world-class consulting without the high-end cost.

Our Clients
Our clients include hospitals and non-profit organizations from Rochester, NY to Orange County California.  We have worked with literally dozens of hospitals, healthcare organizations, physician practices, agencies, and other non-profits. Our clients range from 50 beds to 500, and from $50,000 budgets to $500 million.  Some of our clients are just starting out, whereas others have long and varied histories.  In every case, our clients are assured of a high degree of professionalism, timeliness, comprehensiveness and integrity.

Virginia Tyler has more than twenty years of management experience, with a decade in healthcare management. She has held leadership positions with HANYS, Thompson Health and Navigant Consulting.  She focuses her practice on provider strategy and program development.

She can be contacted here.

Northwest Airlines/Delta Says it’s Sorry and Does so Quickly

Update 4-22-09:

In another post on this blog,  I stated that flying stinks.  Well, last night on the flight home from Detroit to Raleigh/Durham, this was literally true.  I once again contacted Northwest Airlines/Delta about it, and they responded even more quickly than they did when I provided feedback back on October of 2008.  Even thought the automated reply said that they emails they had been receiving were heavier than usual, and that it would take up to five days to receive a response, I heard back from them in just over an hour:


I was on the flight from DTW to RDU last night, flight number 1694. The flight was about an hour late in departing, as the arrival from Philadelphia as delayed, for bad weather I can assume. Such delays are understandable. What is not acceptable is that the gate agent could not locate the cleaning crew for over 15 minutes,despite several inquiries from her to other NWA/Delta personnel, resulting in a further delay in our departure. Whether the cleaning crew ever did show up is in question, as the plane smelled quite badly, and it didn’t appear to have a decent cleaning in quite some time. Even the first class cabin was filthy, and the bad smell never left the cabin.

I was too tired to complain to the flight attendants, who couldn’t have done anything about it. Nobody asked to take my blazer to hang up either.

As you will be able to find from your files, you will note that I am someone who both praises exemplary performance from your employees, and duly notes when service/performance is substandard. I would like to see you provide feedback to the cleaning crew and the first class cabin attendant.

Thanks very much.

Aneil Mishra, Ph.D.

Submitted: 04/22/2009 10:06:06

SENT Wed 4/22/2009 11:18 AM

Dear Mr. Mishra,

RE: Case Number 7450734

Thank you for contacting Northwest Airlines; your feedback is greatly appreciated.

I am truly sorry to learn that the condition of our aircraft cabin did not meet our high standards and that the cleaning crew was not available when needed. We want our cabins to provide a clean and inviting atmosphere for our passengers and I apologize, again, that your experience was to the contrary. I have forwarded your comments to our Inflight and Airport Customer Service leadership teams for internal follow up. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

As a gesture of apology for the delay as well as the lack of cleanliness, I have added 5000 WorldPerks bonus miles to your account.

Please allow three business days for the miles to appear in your account.

I want to thank you, again, for writing. We appreciate your candid feedback and your interest in Northwest.


Raye Ann George

Customer Care

Northwest/KLM/Delta Air Lines

Northwest Airlines is now part of Delta Air Lines

I have to say, I am very impressed by their timely response, which to me is more valuable than the frequent flyer miles I received, which are not worth very much these days.  What is much more valuable is that Northwest Airlines/Delta truly listened to me, and did so in a very timely fashion.


Original Post, October 2008:

Here’s how I responded to a customer service survey I recently received via email from Northwest Airlines:

Customer Satisfaction Survey Comments

I am a frequent flyer on NWA (Silver Elite for 2008)…I understand that there are minor differences to be expected among airlines in terms of food, service, and airplanes.  Nevertheless, I was apalled at the behavior of both the gate attendant and the flight attendants during my flight back from DTW to RDU.  The gate attendent was very sarcastic when I asked if it was time to board (I was in first class, but didn’t hear the call), and she then attempted some humor which I failed to get (it was after 9 p.m., and I was too tired to want her to explain it).

On the flight home, the first class flight attendant and two other flight attendants talked loudly non-stop at the front of the cabin, next to the pilot door, mostly about inane subjects as recent shoe shopping experiences and what I assume was gossip, as every few minutes they erupted in very loud laughter.  Keep in mind that it was 10 p.m. and later during our flight, and that many passengers in first class were trying to sleep, which I doubt they were able to do.

(Before I received your survey,) I was going to email you regarding this flight, as it is easily the worst I’ve been on with NWA since attaining Elite status, which hardly feels like it at all when I have to deal with such unprofessional behavior by your crew.

Aneil Mishra

Here’s how Northwest Airlines responded today, which was only a few days after I sent back my email survey:

Dear Mr. Mishra,

RE: Concord Case Number XXXXXXX

Thank you for completing our Customer Satisfaction Survey and sharing your concerns regarding the service provided while traveling with us returning from Detroit.  On behalf of everyone at Northwest Airlines, I sincerely apologize for the unprofessional behavior of our flight attendants and gate agent.

After reading your comments, I certainly understand why you wanted to bring this matter to our attention.  We expect our employees to be helpful and professional at all times.  I am sorry that in this instance you did not receive the service you expected and should have received.
I can only imagine how annoyed you must been when our flight attendants talked in loud voices and acted in an unprofessional manner on our recent flight to Raleigh/Durham.  In the same way, we are genuinely apologetic that you also did not receive the service that you expected and should have received from our gate agent.  Admittedly the behaviors you describe are not reflective of the level of service that we are striving to provide.  Please know feedback like yours will help us to improve our customer experience.  Be assured that I will be sharing all of your comments with the appropriate leadership teams for internal follow up.

As a sincere gesture of apology for our service failures by our gate agent and flight attendant, I have added 3,000 WorldPerks bonus miles.
Please allow three business days for the miles to appear in your account.

Mr. Mishra, thank you for your support as a Silver Elite WorldPerks member and for trusting your business to us.  Be assured, we will make every attempt to serve you well by providing you with the level of service that you expect and deserve.  We are focused on the future and look forward to our continued business relationship.


Ginny Benson
Associate, Customer Care
Northwest/KLM Airlines

Kudos for NWA for apologizing so quickly, and for taking action based on my feedback as well.  I’ll keep flying them, and I hope my next trip is quieter.

Ben & Jerry’s Refuses to Downsize its Ice Cream

We’re all big fans of Ben & Jerry’s here in the Mishra family.  In fact, I’ve been too BIG a fan, and am cutting back on enjoying it as I downsize my belly.  So it is interest that Karen received this recent announcement from our favorite ice cream company:

One of our competitors (think funny sounding European name) recently announced they will be downsizing their pints from 16 to 14 ounces to cover increased ingredient & manufacturing costs and help improve their bottom line. At Ben & Jerry’s we think downsizing pints is downright wrong.

We understand that in today’s hard economic times businesses are feeling the pinch. We also understand that many of you are also feeling the same, & think now more than ever you deserve your full pint of ice cream.

We are even more committed today to lead with our values through the quality of our ingredients & how we source them to make the best ice cream possible. So, while our competitor may be experiencing a bit of shrinkage, rest assured that your Ben & Jerry’s will still be standing tall in the freezer.


We believe it’s much more trustworthy to provide 16 ounces of ice cream when you’re labeling it a pint, than to provide less than that amount.  While I need to eat less of it each time I enjoy their great ice cream, I do want to know I’m getting what I paid for:  a real pint!


Introducing GovMeasures

We are starting a new set of posts on our blog that introduce products, services, and people we trust.  I met Evans Ballard several years ago when he contacted me to do a speech for his group of North Carolina state government budget officials.  I have kept in touch with him since then, and he recently launched a new firm, GovMeasures.


Here’s the scoop:

1. GovMeasures provides two core services: performance measurement and performance reporting for government.   The biggest differentiators are that GovMeasures uses an entity’s existing resources – we are not simply a ‘front’ for an expensive software application or a “system” that exists in perpetuity.

2. GovMeasures also helps our clients clearly communicate with their constituents through the production and distribution of performance reports which help with mission fulfillment, resource realignment and securing new revenue streams.

3. GovMeasures helps our clients save, recover and track resources without additional staff or capital commitments.  We are different from our competition because we cost less and can behave more nimbly.

4. We have national references (UNC-Ch School of Government, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, GFOA, GASB, and others).

Evans Ballard, Managing Partner for GovMeasures, is an acknowledged professional in performance management, budgeting and evaluation with over ten years of experience in the public and private sectors.

Feel free to call me directly with any questions.

Thanks and Regards,

Evans Ballard, Managing Partner


Tel. 336.491.0777


Discount Tire: Sometimes There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch!

Recently, following a heavy rain storm, there was a nasty accident on Interstate 40 as I was driving from Raleigh to Durham.  The people in the SUV appeared to be unharmed, thankfully, but there was a lot of debris scattered over the freeway.  I managed to avoid most of it, but did drive over something hard as I drove home.  It wasn’t until several hours later that I noticed that I had a flat tire as I got ready to drive out again.  I called AAA to have my tire changed, and then drove over to Discount Tire in Durham to get the tire replaced.  I’ve used Discount Tire for many years, and still remember its old commercial from when I was a kid in Michigan:

When I arrived, the technician inspected my tire, and said they might be able to repair it rather than having to put on a new one.  I was surprised, as the tire looked as flat as possible to me, but I said go ahead.  About 15 minutes later, he came out and said they had been able to repair it, and that there would be no charge!  I couldn’t believe it.  He said that they also offered insurance against flats on any tire that I purchased from them.  I told him that I would be sure to buy any replacement tires from them, and thanked him for the great service on a tire that I hadn’t even bought from them.

Here’s another, more recent, funny ad from Discount Tire:

Sometimes there is such a thing as a free lunch, or at least a free repair!