In my opinion, Corporate America's obsession with "customer service" is a total farce. It seems like the more they talk about how important customer service is to them, the worse it ACTUALLY is!
Isn't it the most annoying thing when you get that message that tells you how important your call is, but lets you know they are experiencing longer than normal wait times and your wait is estimated to be 14.5 minutes. In my experience, they are ALWAYS experiencing "longer than normal wait times." Apparently, our call is important to them, but not important enough for them to hire more people to handle the calls, right?
I've got news for them - the only people who can actually give good customer service are ... PEOPLE! But companies control costs by controlling "headcount" - I know because I used to work in Corporate America and that's what it was always all about. My company would have ridiculous slogans like, "We're passionate about customer service," when in fact, our service was dreadful. The name of the Customer Service department was changed to "Customer Care," to show how much they cared. All the while, downsizing the department to cut costs. They wanted to give good service, but not enough to actually make it possible to do so.
This week, we had two distinctly different customer service experiences with regard to the fixing of the problem with our leveling system. First there was Motley RV Repair in Oklahoma City. Those folks welcomed us, showed us to the customer lounge, offered us free sodas, and gave us Motley RV Repair coffee mugs when we left. But more importantly, the mechanic, Allen, kept us informed about what he was doing and how much longer it would take. He couldn't make the repair for us because it required the manufacturer to send a part, but he did the diagnosis and fully explained everything to us.
Then yesterday, there was Myer RV Repair in Albuquerque. The leveler manufacturer had overnighted the part to them, and we had to be there at 7:30am sharp to make sure we'd be first in line, or else they couldn't guarantee when they'd get to us. That meant a 1.5 hour drive down from Santa Fe pre-dawn. But we did it and we got there before 7:30.
We explained why we there and the service guy said, "Oh yeah, we've got the part. But we've only set aside one hour to diagnose and fix the problem." When he SAID that, what we HEARD was, "We're only going to spend one hour working on your stupid, annoying problem and if we can't fix it in that time, it's your tough luck."
We went off to do stuff while they worked on the RV. When we returned, that guy wasn't there, but there was a young woman at the desk who proceeded to play with her iPhone for several minutes before asking if she could help us. The RV was ready, and we asked to speak to the mechanic who had worked on it. We wanted to understand what had been done and what the problem had been. This was clearly a big inconvenience for the young woman, because she gave forth with some very heavy sighs and some muttering, but she did go to get him.
It was apparently a big inconvenience for the mechanic too, because he clearly didn't feel like answering our questions. We asked what the problem had been and he really didn't know, but he said he'd replaced the part and that the system was working fine. We went out to try the levelers ourselves and THEY DID NOT WORK. We went back in and asked the young woman to get the mechanic out there with us.
At that point, he started saying things about the system that showed he really didn't know what he was talking about. I got the manufacturer on the phone to confirm that what the guy was telling us wasn't right. At last, he made some adjustment that actually got the levelers working and we came back to Santa Fe. So far they are working and our fingers are crossed that they will continue to do so.
We contacted Nexus - our RV manufacturer - to let them know that after talking with that mechanic we still didn't feel confident that the leveling system was really and truly fixed and that if there are any more problems with it, we'll want it taken out and our money returned.
The next thing I knew, my cell phone rang. It was the Sales Director from the leveling company calling to say that our guy at Nexus had called them. The Sales Director said that they would do whatever it takes to make this right for us. We told him about the abonminable service from Myer RV Repair in Albuquerque, and they are removing them from their approved list of repair shops.
We have POWER through our voices and our blogs to demand that we are treated with respect everywhere we go, and that people and companies perform their services properly and well. I'm not putting up with even the smallest degree of surly behavior or letting some mechanic get away with making stuff up just to make us go away, or letting companies not live up to the promise they make when we hand over our money.
I feel much better now, knowing that the leveler company will not just keep sending us to one repair shop after another in every city on our road trip itinerary if we have more problems with the system. If there's another problem, they will just replace it. These guys are handling things just right.
Motley RV Repair in Oklahoma City knows how to give great service. But Myer RV Repair in Albuquerque - not so much, and I have no qualms about saying so. Besides which, I've got it all on video on MY iPhone.
So that's our story - have you had any really BAD or really GOOD customer service experiences lately?