. . . in my view is TiVo.
Not just because it invented a device that has become indispensable for me, but also for truly incredible customer service.
My upstairs TiVo, which had been having some problems already, died for good the other night. We'd bought it used off ebay and gotten a decent life out of it, so I wasn't too bothered. The biggest downside was that all the new TiVos were far fancier than I needed for a backup DVR. Still, I figured on spending about $150-200 for a new TiVo. So I started by calling TiVo to cancel the monthly subscription on that device.
"Would you like to send us the broken TiVo and we'll send you a replacement?" the customer service woman asked.
"What do you have in mind?" I asked, not exactly sure what she was offering.
She explained that I could send the broken TiVo and they would send a new TiVo free of charge. It was a service they offered for long time customers.
After looking further at my records, she noted that I had a 40 hour, single tuner TiVo. Unfortunately, she pointed out, TiVo didn't make any more of those, so all they could offer would be an 80 hour, dual tuner TiVo. A few people complain about that, she said.
Sure enough, less than a week later, a brand new shiny TiVo arrived at my doorstep.
As a customer, I totally love TiVo. I'm not sure how I'd feel as an investor, but my wife did point out that in a time when cable and satellite companies are offering their own DVRs, it's probably a good business practice to keep a loyal customer hooked, ensuring a further monthly subscription fee.