Writeryogini

Writeryogini

Friday, April 20, 2012

S is for Service

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?

16 comments:

  1. Aaaagh. Just so infuriating. This is not a recent experience, but one which will continue to haunt me.
    After my mother's death I was her executor. When her home had been sold I rang up the security service she used and asked to have the service cancelled. They wanted a copy of the death certificate and their equipment returned. Both done that day.
    Six weeks later I (or rather my mother) got a letter from a debt collector demanding just over a thousand dollars. Huh? So I rang the debt collectors. It seems that if the contract with the security firm is cancelled without good reason you are liable for the balance of the contract.
    No-one had mentioned anything about it. And death is a pretty good reason for breaking the contract I would think.
    I screamed loud and long and went to the Department of Fair Trading. The company waived the charges. Their final act took the biscuit though. After waiving the charges they wrote to my mother saying that they hoped they would be able to provide their service at her new address!!!!

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    1. Good grief. That is so infuriating and ridiculous!Sometimes I just wonder about this kind of stupidity. It makes a great story - and makes them look so foolish and incompetent. thanks for sharing :D xo

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  2. I hate bad service! I'm glad you managed to get the bad guys off the approved list, but at least you know how good service can be at the same time. How hard is it to acknowledge a customer when they enter, that's what you're there for? It comes down to bad manners - and that's something I hate more than anything - as my kids can testify!!

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    1. I think the world is turning in the direction of bad manners, sadly. I've decided not to stand for it either.

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  3. I'm sure everyone has a bad service story. The most recent for us was at the lawyers office where we were getting our wills redone (it had been a very long time since the first one). We sent the things back three times before they were done correctly. At the last time the lawyer gave us heck for causing her so much work.

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    1. And I hope you gave her heck for not being competent enough to get it right the first time!

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  4. Good you stood up for yourself.

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    1. Thanks Tonja. Good service deserves to be rewarded and bad service deserves to be exposed.

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  5. I'm so glad you stuck to your guns!! Bad service happens so often these days it is more the norm than the exception. I do remember the days where good service was the norm everywhere and a person used to be flabbergasted by behavior we see today. I'm so glad they took that place off the list!! You did a lot of other people a big favor. :)

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    1. I'm so tired of rudeness or just plain indifference. I think the only way to influence change is to hit them in the pocketbook. :D

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  6. As business owners, we know that customer service is key to keeping the business going. We're a very small business, but with a great reputation. We've hardly had to advertise (and our business of over 60 years old!) because of word of mouth. It doesn't matter if the customer is cranky and rude, we still have to smile and be polite...but almost all of our customers are great!
    This might be why I will not put up with poor service.

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    1. I've always had the same expectation for my service in jobs I've had, and that's why it's so infuriating when you can't seem to get the same quality of service that you give. Businesses like yours, and like Motley, are treasures.

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  7. All of my dealings with businesses lately have been grocery stores and I have been very fortunate to get good customer service. Friendly cashiers and baggers.

    I do not like having to deal with a business by phone, because you never know what kind of service you will get. I also do not like having to keep pushing buttons to get to this department and that department. I want a person to answer the phone and address my call, not a computer.

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  8. I hate that you were treated that way. I am always amazed at the people on their phones when they should be working.

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  9. Its no different over here in the UK! Seems customer service has had it everywhere these days.

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  10. I've decided to, in a very polite, but firm way, hold people to higher standards. I'm tired of rude and uncaring attitudes.

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Talk to me!