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customer service

The Pepper Difference

What Music Means to Us

October 7, 2010

Monday kicked off National Customer Service Week!  As part of showing our appreciation for the folks here who work hard every day to support you, we wanted you get to know them better.  We recently asked those of us in our customer service department to answer the question, “What does music mean to me?”   The responses showed music means a plethora of different things to different people, yet is a common language, regardless of whether or not a person is musically inclined.   Here are a few quotes from the staff:
Customer Service Department

“Music sees no stereotypes, generations, cultures or languages.”  — Jen

“Music brings me back to the center of my heart.”  — Sue

“Music brings the purest emotions to the surface.” — Angie

“Music is a happy and peaceful side of life.” — Mary

“Music has the power to change lives.”  — Nancee

“Music bridges the gaps that are otherwise left open.”  — Jenn

 So next time you are speaking with one of us on the phone, remember these are the thoughts we come to work with every day.  We have a real passion for music that inspires us to support you in your musical pursuits.

The Pepper Difference

My Friend from Texas

August 26, 2010
My Friend from Texas

My Friend from Texas

Back in 1995, a call to my phone began as many do, with an enthusiastic musician hunting for music for their next performance.  In this case, the musician was a sweet sixty-something gentleman named Clarence Cantini from Galveston, Texas.  Clarence and I immediately connected musically, with him tapping my opera experience as we searched for music he had heard that he felt would work well for his tenor voice.  After a while, I suggested he send me a copy of some of the CD track listings that interested him so I could continue the research.  Sounds like typical workday stuff, right?  But what follows is dear to me and I want to share it with you.

You see, once I was able to help Clarence find his music, he and I became pen pals of sorts.  He would send me lists of music he wanted to sing and I’d find it for him.  Over time, the notes he included with his lists revealed his life — his love of family and music.  He sent copies of his progams, which ranged from Michael Crawford hits to the classics.  He and his wife and I began exchanging Christmas cards, and when he would call the office, he would tell others to “just tell Cecelia it’s her friend from Texas.”  

In 2001 my travels took me back to my hometown of Beaumont, Texas where I sang at the Julie Rogers Theater for the Performing Arts.  Imagine my surprise when after the concert Clarence and his wife Sue stopped by to congratulate me.   They had traveled more than an hour to be there.  It was at this concert that they met my mother, who just loved them and also developed a close friendship.

So fast forward a few more Christmas cards to September of 2008.  Hurricane season.   Like everyone in the country, I watched video of the damage Hurricane Ike unleashed on Galveston.  I worried about my friends.   I tried to call them often, but got no answer.  Worse yet, no Christmas card came that December. 

Never being one to shy away from a challenge, I put Google to work!  I searched repeatedly for any listing about Clarence and Sue.  And, lo and behold!  I found a Texas newspaper listing a special birthday celebration for Clarence, complete with an address!  It was important I find them now, not only to know they were ok, but to let them know my mother, their friend, had passed away. 

I’ll never forget that day I called them.  They told me I was a ray of sunshine after all they had been through.  They had been forced out of their home by the hurricane and were suffering from ailments that sometimes come with age.  I cried a bit with relief to find they were ok.  After a bit, Clarence quietly told me he had lost something very precious in the storm — his music.  He didn’t know where to start to replace it.  That’s when I told him not to worry.  I had saved everything he ever sent me in a folder with his name on it.   We went through the list, and we started our musical adventure all over again. 

Since that time our connection has only deepened.  I still have my “Clarence” folder, which is pink, since that would indicate it’s from The Diva’s desk, and by now most of the papers are yellowed.  But I’m hanging on to this folder, looking forward to the next call from my friend from Texas.


Talk for more options

May 10, 2010
Customer Service

Customer Service

We’ve all had the unpleasant experience of being placed into an automated phone system for several minutes before actually reaching a live person.  You often enter a button-pushing maze designed to have the phone system figure out what your issue is, when all you want to do is simply talk to another human.  It’s way too common with businesses these days.  At Pepper, we look at calls a little differently.  We know we all have busy lives, and by no means should contacting your music store be a complicated experience.  We try to answer your call quickly, find the answers to your questions and get your order placed so you can get on with your day.  You don’t have to “listen for more options” unless you want to talk to us about other musical options available to you.  

Just last week, I was talking to a customer where we were trying to make good on a mistake we had made.  (It’s rare, but they do happen.)  It turns out the customer lived nearby our store, so I was able to meet them in person to exchange the music they needed.   I’m not telling you this out of personal pride, but because it indicates the kind of company culture we have here at Pepper.   We have a real passion for customer service, and we really do want to talk to you.  The only number you have to push “for more information” is 1-800-345-6296.