Thursday, October 08, 2009


It's not often that the phrase "good customer service" and Italy are used in the same sentence, unless there are a few negative words in the sentence too.  Somehow Italians seem to accept poor service, delayed deliveries, broken promises and deceptive practices as normal.  It's not uncommon to call a company - a large company like SKY TV, or one of the phone companies - to register a complaint only to have the customer service representative hang up on you!  Seriously!  Yes, I know that customer service in the U.S. is often sadly unresponsive, but somehow bad - or nonexistant - customer service in Italy seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

Because we too have become used to the lack of concern for the customer, when we do run into a person or company who are really, truly interested in pleasing their customers we have to give them a special mention.  In the past I've written about friends who run various tourist services - agriturismi, cooking schools or tour guides who are genuinely interested in provided their customers with an unforgettable experience - and unforgettable in a GOOD way.  Last year I wrote about the appliace repair technician who went out of his way help us when our Bosch washer went kaput long before it should have. 
This year's customer service award goes to  Mauro Spigarelli, the owner of Spigarelli Ceramics, with a special mention to DonnaTerrito at Abbiamo Tutto, the American importers of Spigarelli's products.  When the olive oil urn we bought turned out to have a defective spout, we contacted Spigarelli through their website.  Because the site has both Italian and English, I wrote the email in English so I could explain in more detail about the defective spigot.  The reply we received was from Donna, who explained that no one at Spigarelli spoke English, so she would be our go between.  This was very generous on her part, since we hadn't bought the urn through her company.  
It was a long, slow process, but eventually I began corresponding with Sig. Spigarelli directly, in what I"m sure was terrible Italian, but we managed to communicate.  As time went by Sig. Spigarelli told us he wouldn't give up when he had difficulty finding a new spigot - they don't make that particular olive oil urn anymore. 
 And now, at long last, but just in time for the new olive oil, we have our urn back!  Sig. Spigarelli sent us an entirely new urn - I don't know if there was something wrong with the hole in the original urn, but he also returned that one, and we're using it for an umbrella stand! 

We were more than willing to pay Sig. Spigarelli for his time and trouble, but in the end he charged us nothing, asking us to accept the new urn as a sign of friendship.  For his efforts above and beyond the call of duty, we thank our new friend, Mauro Spigarelli.  If you're ever near Gualdo Tadino in northern Umbria, stop by the Spigarelli Ceramic Factory, or check out Donna's website, Abbiamo Tutto.


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At 10/09/2009 01:54:00 AM , Blogger Gil said...

You can't beat that for customer service!


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