Friday, February 09, 2007

Old Fashioned Customer Service

I almost don't have words to describe how frustrating and disappointing my day was today.

About a month ago one of our designer book a large installation of a job over $10,000, to be installed today. From this one install we had the possibility of 5 more homes over the next year bringing in close to $60,000 in revenue for our company. When we get these big jobs in, we detail them and try to prepare, so that things go smoothly and the buyer feels comfortable writing a whopping $10,000 check to us.

This morning when I walked into work things seemed to be going so-so. The guys left at 8:00 to this job, later than they were should have to be there at the scheduled time of 9-10 (they had a 2.5 hour drive to reach this install site). BUT, if the guys are going to be late to an appointment they are required to call the customer and let them know they are late, and give an ETA of when they will be arriving. Almost all customers are fine with this, as most customers understand that traffic, accidents and such are unforeseeable occurrences.

Unfortunately at 10:40 I received a call from the designer stating the customer was beyond pissed as it was after 10:30 and none of the installers had called to say they were running late. I immediately got in touch with the installers manager and had him call the customer...things went from bad to worse. Our guys did not show up until 11:30 and had no excuse for there whereabouts.

What I am pissed about is we lost all the other installs from this client. All my guys had to do was one freaking phone call telling the customer they were running late. ONE FUCKING PHONE CALL. We lost $60,000 in potential sales and on top of that one of my installers had an attitude about it. I wanted to go through the phone and wrap my hands around his neck and squeeze, squeeze until .............

I am one of those people that call people sir and ma'am, I thank people for their business. If I tell someone I am going to call them, I do. I try to follow up on everything. Of course I am human and I do screw up, but I don't blame others or make excuses...I am the first one to say "OH no, I messed up", but then I try to do whatever is necessary to make it right.

My dad was a business owner and he taught me forever ago that the customer is the most valuable asset a company has. Without them, there is no company and no paycheck. He believed that the customer is always right. I 100% believe that, except when a customer is verbally abusive to an employee. There is no reason for a customer to be verbally abusive.

In a situation where I am a consumer, I can not stand it when the person I am seeking answers from doesn't know and makes no more to find out for me. Or when a young person is smacking gum, speaking in slang...talking to other coworkers about their wild night last night while helping me. Or when a person in customer service states they will call me back and they don't.

There is no reason for an employee to bring their bad mood or personal problems to work. If things are really bad, stay home and deal with the problem. No customer deserves to be the brunt of an employees bad mood.

I could go on and on about the lack of people who practice good customer service.

16 comments:

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

If I ever get rich and start a business I'm hiring you.

Jay said...

I would hire you too.

In collge I had a teacher who told us a story about Jerry Jones right after he bought the Cowboys. He was notorious for being a stickler about being on time.

He would have meeting set for 10 am with potential sponsors and if they weren't there by 10:10 he and his people would walk out. And walk away from HUGE deals.

It's not easy to walk out on deals like that, but I agree with him.

bardouble29 said...

Whimsical - thank you.

Jay - Movies like Coach Carter and other things, like Jerry Jones, trying instill responsibilty and a sense of ownership are rare and hearing about it gives me a small ray of hope.

captain corky said...

I would hire you too. Are these guys going to get in trouble with the boss? If I lost 60,000 dollars for the company I work for I don't think I would have a job today.

susan said...

It's all a matter of respect, for the company, the customer and themselves.

Too bad those installers don't get that...

susan said...

Oh yeah...I'd hire you in a heartbeat!

Em said...

You are right. I almost hate dealing with contractors and other folks who might work on our home because they have no regard for time or manners. I applaud you for still caring about your customers. And you had every right to want to squeeze his neck till eyeballs popped out!

Craig D said...

I remember back in the 60s and 70s my Dad kept saying "We're moving toward a service economy!"

Well, we've moved away from a MANUFACTURING economy, but I'm still waiting to see a SERVICE economy.

I don't know how many times I'm in a check-out lane and the cashier is ignoring me and talking to a fellow employee about what they're planning to do this weekend.

Gadzooks - the big stores are even installing SELF-SERVICE checkout lanes.

When customer service is all you have to offer, then you should be good at it, right?

Sorry to hear about the mess-up at the office. I hope the proper "corrective actions" will be implemented come Monday morning.

Have a good weekend!

bardouble29 said...

To everyone - thanks for the kind comments... and at least I know I have a job where ever I go!!!!

The Lone Beader said...

There aren't many people who KNOW how to practice good customer service nowadays. It's sad, really... =:(

Yasamin said...

maybe im just shrewd but i would have canned the installers for this. i would have immediately started looking for more installers. as someone who used to work for a flooring company, timing and communication regarding intalls is necessity!!! i cant believe they didnt even call. yeah... can their asses you know why? because they'll do it again and again because they dont care.

Kati said...

Agreeing with everybody else, the installer had a loser's attitude and deserves to be out of a job for it. Hell, losing that much money for his company & yours, I don't see how any boss in their right mind would keep such an employee on. And, unfortunately, due to word of mouth, your company may lose money due to this customer telling his/her friends about the poor quality of service that the installer showed.

While I don't know that a service economy is really a great thing, GREAT customer service should be drilled into the head of ANYBODY who has customers. Even those of us who work in a non-profit service environment (like my library) should have great customer service skills. It irks me to no end to have a coworker (one in particular) stand at my shoulder and carry on a ranting (or raving) conversation while I'm trying to help a patron in front of me. I have no problem carrying on a conversation when there is NOT a patron standing in front of me being helped, but when there IS a patron.... No, I'm not talking with you about last night's fight with your Dad. I'm not discussing with you your lousy luck with apartment hunting... I am helping the person in front of me, and if you find it rude that I temporarily drop a conversation about your problems to converse with a patron about THEIR day, that's your problem, not mine. Esp. when the moments I have with a patron, to gain their loyalty, are fleeting, where-as I work 6-8 hours a day with my coworkers. Unfortunately there ARE people in customer-service jobs that don't seem to care that the conversation about their apartment search can be picked up later, or behind the scenes, when one is working a counter, it is not the time or place to rant.

LOL Sorry to get long winded, again.... I've got a coworker who I generally like, but who pisses me off on this subject with her lack of regard for my professional appearance, as for her own, and for the services we provide our patrons.

Hope you find out that the installation manager throttled the installer, and called to apologize to the customer themselves. Even if it doesn't salvage THAT "sale" it may smooth over bruised feelings to help your company avoid future loss of sales.

Anne said...

What gets me beyond mad is when clerks, waiters or whoever act like they think they're better or smarter than I am. I've been known to complain to people's bosses. But I also believe it's important to tell bosses about exceptionally good service too.

Enemy of the Republic said...

It is definitely becoming a lost art!

singleton said...

Arrrggghhhh! I went through this myself last year, $8,000 worth of windows, an 8 hour day, and since it was post hurricane, they were "working 7 days a week". I was scheduled for Saturday, from sunup to sundown. I felt bad these guys were giving up their family time, their down time, so I iced down a cooler with subs and sodas and waited.... and waited....and waited....At noon, I called the installer and he said "oh, maam, I'm so sorry, but last night was my birthday and we all went out to this oyster house...and I'm so sorry, We can do you next Thursday"....

The windows are wonderful, I offered them only water, and didn't recommend them to my neighbors.

One phone call.... "$60,000"

Baron Ectar said...

Please tell me that some people have lost thier employment over this.

I admire you for your work ethic - I would work with you anyday!