Since I have moved back to the Southeast, I have noticed a dramatic decrease in good customer service. Maybe from living in Dallas and being around some good customer service, my expectations have increased; however, I doubt this. When I worked at FedEx Ground, I was part of the Quality Assurance department as the Quality Manager. One of my responsibilities was handling customer service. While I didn’t do all the things I would want to do now (ie., listen in on calls, record calls, etc.), I was recognized and rewarded for some excellent customer service. While I do not consider myself a customer service expert or connesuir, I do know good customer service when I see it.
So, in the past 3 days, I was shocked by some good customer service. Since arriving in my new city (which was a previous city that I lived so I am very familiar with the culture, which is the reason for some of the poor customer service), my wife and I have experienced a ton of poor customer service. Here are some examples:
- My wife listening to front desk doctor office “nurses” talk about vomiting, “getting wasted” in detail, etc. with her right there
- Listening to “customer service reps” act as though I am putting them out in asking them to do something
- Listening to a special application executive (glorified name for sales rep) for a potential vendor talk about porn on his iPhone and complain about his company’s mistakes while trying to fix a problem (which was the 3rd issue I had in less than 1 week & apparently I was his first & only with these problems) for me with their IT group
- Waiting for an hour to receive a to-go order and from another location waiting an hour to receive our dining-in food from a national, causal dining restaurant
- Getting my fast food order wrong twice in a row on the same day for the same order!
First, as I just mentioned (#5), I was at Burger King (BK is about 1 mi from my house, how convenient!) recently, and I ordered something that included a Wopper with Cheese. When I got the order, I drove home (of course without checking it because I was in a hurry, which I will start doing) only to find the Whopper made incorrectly. I went back to BK to remedy it and ordered a Large Onion Rings with O-Sauce. Now, in more of a hurry, I grabbed the bag without looking/checking (I’m a slow learner). Upon arriving at home, it was brought to my attention that there were only 5 small onion rings that didn’t even fill the cup! So I went back and showed the person who took my order (and who made the mistake). Acting like she didn’t know, her manager saw that I was back and was upset. She saw the cup and immediately wanted to know who did it, which everyone there said, “I don’t know!” (<- my favorite person). She went to the back and then came back and refunded my order. Even though she didn’t refund the order correctly and shorted me, I was ok with it because of her tenacity and her internal conviction towards good customer service. Being a good customer-focused company doesn’t mean that you have to do everything right the first time, but recognizing that you do something wrong sometimes (hopefully not very often) and fixing it above and beyond the customer’s expectations.
Second, yesterday, my family and I were running about 30 minutes behind our normal schedule for the day (I hate the word routine) for some reason, I forget. And my 3 kids (ages 5, 4, & 2) were begining to “sing” in unison about “how hungry” they were. So my wife and I decided to stop at McDonalds (McDs as we call it). After we ordered and I went to get some ketchup (my kids love to eat fries with their ketchup). However, they were out of ketchup. I told the guy at the front counter, and later, I went to get a refill and some more ketchup (apparently we didn’t get enough packets for all of us). I saw that the guy finished refilling the ketchup machine, so I went to get some. However, there were no mini-cups. So I asked the man, and he said he would get them in a minute after he finishes cleaning the ketchup machine. So I said, “Ok,” and walked back to my seat in the kids playroom. Later, the same guy brings me some ketchup! Surprise! I didn’t even ask him to do that! That was good customer service. Being a good customer-focused company means that you care enough to be aware of what you can do to proactively serve your customer.
Then another customer service sighting today. I have been “talking with” a potential vendor to help my company embark on some social media ventures. I developed an online relationship with Dave Wilkins (@dwilkinsnh), who most graciously answered all my questions and when appropriate pointed me to an account manager. However, since Dave, I have had 3 account managers with this company (Mzinga), probably due to some internal issues/reasons. However, none of them wanted to demo anything with me, probably because I was too up front with them. As I tell every vendor, we are a very slow company in making decisions because many people like to be in on the decision. So, once I got a response via email that said, “Thank you for your continued interest. Right now is a tough time to schedule a demo as we are working with a ton of companies who are ready to go from a budget and decision maker buy in stand point.” So just because I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger, I couldn’t get any face time with their product. So I continued my conversation with Dave and others via Twitter. I also began to look to see who Mzinga’s competitors were. In 24 hours of doing this I had demos from their competitors. Still being interested in Mzinga, I finally tweeted, “I have finally determined that it is impossible to actually get a demo from @mzinga. I’ve been trying to get a demo on IdeaShare since Feb.” Within 45 minutes, I had a phone call from someone at Mzinga and two tweets from @mzinga (tweet asking for me to email them) and @rsaari (tweet telling me someone would call me ASAP with an apology). I am not sure if I would have responded to the first response (@mzinga) because that again, in Mzinga fashion (meaning that’s been my experience; should a customer have to pursue a vendor?), put the onus on me. However, I would have and did respond to Randy Saari’s (@rsaari‘) response because he took action and he took responsibility. Maybe that’s one reason why Dave wrote a blog about why he would miss Randy upon leaving Mzinga for Learn.com. Being a good customer-focused company means that you not only take full responsibility for “dropping the ball” but also take action to fix the problem.
Here is another video by David Carroll regarding this last point.