What I Want from Customer Service
I envision a world where customer service looks like this:
1. When you buy a product or service it is delivered as promised and in the timeframe agreed upon.
2. If an error is made on the side of the company/service provider an apology is given followed by a remedy. Responsibility is taken. Communication remains open. The customer is not burdened with the work to make it right.
3. For high priced items or on-going service, I like periodic check-ins, looking like a relationship. “I see Ms. Barnard you purchased a solar system for your pool last year, how do you like it?” I think an $8,000 investment warrants this. Of course, what I think and what is an be two different things.
These past two years as I have had plenty of opportunity to reflect and observe, I came out of my solitude with the desire to write a book on the Soul of Customer Service. This desire came from my interest in the Soul (the place where the Divine and human intersect) and in my direct experience with really bad service. I don’t even like to refer to it as service. The word “serve” comes from the Old French, 1100s, meaning “to rend habitual obedience to.” Obedience deriving from the verb “to obey” which means to carry out instructions or orders. Customer service means to habitually carry out instructions and orders for your customer. This is where the gap exists, between my understanding of the words and the actual experience, or lack thereof.
I can share close to 100 stories of bad customer service in the past year alone. That’s two per week. I’m guessing if I tracked the less significant ones it would be more. I thought I found my customer service nirvana when I bought a Mac last week. I heard celestial music playing in my head while I was being hand held through the purchase process and in the classes afterward. However, I found it quite inconvenient when the newest operating system wasn’t installed (ooops, we forgot). And, guess who is stuck with having to do the install because of the error? That’s right, me, the customer. I’ve since become a fan of check lists. Imagine a world like this. You buy your computer and you are walked through a list which you sign off on showing everything, including the newly installed operating system is in place. Easy. Simple. Thorough.
My worst experience was having my in-patient surgery with a hormone doctor who implants hormones for my “natural use.” By mistake, he inserted too much testosterone and no estrogen!! After some severe reaction on my behalf and the discovery on theirs, I received a sheepish phone call without an apology and with the onus of the further medical support in my own hands. When I asked for financial compensation for the additional expenses I was laughed at. Hmmm. Between shaving my face, and dousing horrible man b-o, I’m deciding if I go to small claims court over this one. Really? This is how one treats a customer? And this is the gold … had the doctor’s office apologized and offered to take good care of me until the hormones ran their course, I would not only be appreciative, I would send all of my friends in their direction because I know they are on the patient’s side.
Please share with me some good or excellent service experiences you’ve had and any clues you have as to what makes good service, for you. I will write a service book after this one, as I am wanting to put a voice to quality care.
Bonnie (from her new Mac)