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Moments of truth

Today - I rant about customer service - or lack of it.

Let me digress into a couple of recent experiences.

I ordered a product from a vendor on Amazon and when I wrote to the company (not Amazon) to ask why it was not operating as it was supposed to, they said their hours were 8-5 and I could call them OR I can get a return from Amazon.

Seriously? They didn’t try to help me - they essentially said - “you don’t like it, pal, return it to Amazon.” Which I intend to do.

I got a scrip from my doctor to get new ortho shoes (I have bad feet). This was sent to the local provider on the 25th of May. I called them on June 1st to ask about it and got voice mail (and no return call). I called again on the 17th of June (patient don’t you think?) and again got a voice mail and I mentioned that I had called three weeks earlier….no response.

I called my doc on the 24th and was told that the provider had told them they need to do a new exam. Now tell me, why didn’t the provider tell me?

I got a new exam from a wellness provider and asked them to send it to the shoe provider. They did so and when I followed up 5 days later, I was told that they had just spoken to the shoe provider and that the wellness provider is not certified.

By this time, I am fed up to my eyeballs. The shoe provider is a chain of 800 locations across the US. I called corporate to be met by the most understanding person one could imagine. She empathized with me and said she would take care of it and gave me her personal number. Within a few hours, I got a call from the manager of the region I live in and after explaining once again, she told me “I will take care of YOU, Dave.”

I told the regional manager I did not want to go to that same location again and would travel as needed to get what I want.

Right now, I have talked to 2 live people that seriously get it when a customer is not happy with the service and are in the process of taking care of me and made me feel valued.

What is the message here?

Do you either purposely or inadvertently avoid the conflict of handling a customer problem? Do you shut off your chat because you don’t have the time to handle the customer complaints that arrive over chat? Do you have 16 prompts on your phone to get to a human voice? Do you wait 48 hours to return phone calls from clients that have a problem? What is your resolution time for issues (we all have them)

What message are you sending to your customers? Do you exist for them?

Premier Customer Service is an effort - no question. My view once again is that it is all about the people. The front-line customer-facing people need to be exemplary in handling customer complaints and timely in their response. If you aren’t training your people to provide killer customer service then I suggest you buy a boat and go sailing because the differentiator today is and will continue to be Premier Customer Service.

Rant over….

Comments welcome!

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