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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Out of Sandy's Rubble Arises Some Great Customer Service

No good came out of Hurricane Sandy, of course. The New York City area will be digging out of the damage for many weeks yet, and many people's lives and livelihoods will never be the same -- and, in most cases, they'll be worse off.

But out of rubble always emerges opportunity as well, and some brands and their employees have stood out amid the wreckage for how they have treated consumers, especially on the East Coast, in the aftermath of the storm.

One commentator, for example, said that she received a series of e-mails from Citibank with the simple message, "We're here to help." The bank also explained that it was temporarily waiving fees, increasing mobile-deposit limits, providing access to CDs and taking other measures to help its customers recover more quickly from Sandy.

We can be pretty confident that many of those afflicted Citibank customers will remember how they received some welcome -- and probably unexpected -- kindnesses when they needed them most. And who doesn't think that Citibank's timely and well-conceived outreach isn't winning it some great measure of fierce brand loyalty from these people?

Similarly, Ginger Conlon, editor in chief of Direct Marketing News, noted that JetBlue has sent its TrueBlue loyal members an e-mail extending the brand's well wishes and offering to temporarily waive change and cancellation fees for customers affected by the storm who need to reboot.

Now, if companies and their employees could only bring the kind of help-extending mentality to their business every day -- hurricane, or no hurricane.

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