I Wanted To Fire My Phone Company (Previously)
A month ago, I had a phone line installed in my house. There were no existing phone jacks in my home, and because of where I wanted the jack installed, the technician had to run the line down the side of my house. It wasn’t the most appealing thing to look at on my house, but it did its job.
Fast forward to early last week. I came home from work to the neighbor standing in my front lawn, who appeared to be finishing a walk with his dog.
“My dog managed to rip the phone line out of your wall. He was sniffing around the side of your house and tugged on the cable. Sorry…”
At this point, you would think a simple call out to the phone company would fix my issue, but it was actually where my troubles would start. I scheduled a repair technician to come out two days later. It was an all-day appointment, but I figured that would be ok since I planned on being around until 4:50 PM. However, by the time I had to leave that day, the repairman showed up at 4:50 PM. I told him I had to leave so I’d reschedule.
A new appointment was made for this last Tuesday. Again, it was an all-day appointment, but I had informed them that the work needed to be done by 4:50 PM as I had another commitment. They added it to their notes and told me someone would be out to finish the work when I needed it done.
Come Tuesday at 4:10 PM, I still hadn’t seen a repairman. I called the phone company who informed me that there were no technicians available to come out. They then told me that they would schedule someone to come out between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM that evening. Sure enough, no one showed up. I called the phone company again, this time as an irate, soon-to-be ex-customer. They then told me someone would come out on Wednesday between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM.
I was at work on Wednesday, planning on leaving early to be there for the technician. I received a call at 1:30 PM from the technician informing me they’d be there in 10 minutes…which was when I would not be at my house. I negotiated for the technician to show up later in the day when I would be home.
At this point, I was steaming since the phone company’s customer service gave me wrong information multiple times. I was ready to “fire” them in order to switch to another service provider.
The technician showed up 5 minutes after I got home. He looked at the line and asked if I still wanted the line in the same spot. I told him that I wanted to move it, and that I was willing to go into the crawl space of my own house to route it that way, instead. Without hesitating, the technician asked me to show him the crawl space access. He then started his work, going into the crawl space himself, and completing the work in a timely fashion.
Some of you may not think this is anything special. In fact, the older generations of people may say that is what he should have done in the first place. However, in my experience, service people from the phone company or cable company aren’t willing to go into crawl spaces anymore. I was shocked that I found someone who was willing to do it without me asking/demanding/begging, etc…
We live in the current times surrounded by bad customer service. Too many people who service others have taken a somewhat lackadaisical approach to customer satisfaction. The goal of customer service has changed into simply completing the job, without thinking about how the customer actually feels throughout the process. It’s precisely those feelings that have a direct impact on their company’s bottom line.
Those feelings can help create a base of customers loyal to your brand, or create a group of defectors that wind up with your competitors.
Think about this in your interactions with your customers. Even if someone says that they’re “fine,” “satisfied,” or “don’t need assistance,” listen for the tone in their voice. Empathy will help you hone in on any possible issues they may have. Better yet, if you know they’ve had some issues or rough patches in their dealings with you company, think about what you could to do to “wow” them. Are you resetting their expectations, or just going with the motions?
Because the phone company’s technician went above-and-beyond my expectations, he was the ONLY reason the phone company still has me as a customer.
What about you? Do you have any stories of individuals who altered your perceptions of a company who serviced you in one way or another? How did they go above-and-beyond your expectations? Leave your comments!