Customer Service is a fairytale that exists only in the Land of Mother Goose.
Once upon a time, it was common practice. But in today’s marketplace, service is as uncommon as a telemarketer that calls when you’re not at the dinner table.
I’m not talking about service that goes beyond the call of duty. I’m talking about basic service that should be demanded by merchant and customer. People skills are welcome, but poor ones can be overcome by just doing the job.
Examples are all over but recent experiences lead me to start with cable TV and drive-thru lanes at fast food restaurants.
I devoted a week of my life that I’ll never recover while Knology transferred service to our new address. Most of it was spent waiting on service reps to arrive. The rest was spent on the phone with someone in a faraway ZIP code.
We celebrated our move with a 40-inch flat screen TV. Our cable bundle included Internet service and a landline telephone.
The Knology installer arrived in camo gear -- so someone from Charter couldn’t pick him out in the woods, I suppose. He had tools but no people skills.
When he left, he was one out of three. The phone worked. There were problems with the cable and the Internet. I spent the afternoon on the phone dealing with TV issues. I didn’t know I couldn’t get online until late that night. On every call, I asked them to please send another technician.
Guess who showed up Friday? You guessed it. The same guy. I opened the door and told him he wasn’t welcome.
On the phone, I demanded to speak to a supervisor. She said she couldn’t make another appointment for me until Saturday. I threatened to put their equipment outside my front door. Then I remembered that was Final Four weekend.
On Saturday, another technician came out and efficiently cleaned up the other guy’s mess. He got me online by putting a wire in the right port. He adjusted the set and gave us a full 40 inches. He reset our remotes and made them work.
He made me happy.
Fast food takeouts create their own problems. Sunday I got a Chicago Style Frank from Steak ’n Shake. That particular hot dog includes a slice of tomato, green relish, a sport pepper, yellow mustard and a pickle spear. Picture all of that disassembled at the bottom of a paper sack.
Sack in hand, I hurried back to the restaurant and handed a manager the mess. She asked me to drive forward while she fixed me another one. I said I’d wait right there, thank you.
Some firms do stress service and their employees reflect that desire. We can reward them with our business and our gratitude. As for the others, don’t grin and bear it. Let them know you’re upset.
That’s the only way we’re going to live happily ever after.