What is Good Service?

J Philip Faranda July 10, 2010

Often, good service can be distinguished by what it isn’t. I am in a service industry, and my bones are made based on my communication, responsiveness, ability to troubleshoot, and getting the job done. All of this melds together for the currency of any good business, which is good will. I’m sure you could add other virtues, and I’m sure, along with your list of things that make good service are things that don’t. Here are things that are not good service. 

  1. Making my Problem a DIY Project. When someone clicks on “contact customer service” on your website, instead of putting them in touch with a helpful human being, you have them search your “extensive customer care database.” This is supreme bullsh!t. Now, when I need help, you are going to make me do the forensics needed to hopefully put in the right keyword to find the last time a guy had a problem like mine? What if there is a technical problem on your end? My time is too valuable to go on a scavenger hunt through your 62 gigs of customer care data, which are often nothing more than message boards of fellow customers guessing what the hell might help another. 
  2. Not Allowing me to Manage my Account When I Want. One merchant we deal with allows me to renew or cancel my account one week out of the year. They send an email and make one phone call beforehand, and if I have a death in the family or a sick kid I am automatically renewed to the tune of 4k for the next 12 months. Grieving property taxes is easier than this. 
  3. Making it Hard to Cancel. Today, I called a company whom I have done business with for almost 5 years. It was time to move on. When I called and told the customer rep I wanted to cancel, he asked me what the problem was in the same tone my father asked me about a fender bender when I was 17. Then, I was sent to some territory manager’s voicemail. I will predict that I am going to be forced to instruct my credit card to decline their auto pay because they are going to play footsie with my cancellation request for the next 4 months. That is a shame, because I will go back to people that don’t piss me off. I’m on my 7th or 8th Sports Illustrated subscription. They never pissed me off. 
  4. Voice Mail Hell. This is such a widespread annoyance they parodied it on Saturday Night Live years ago. Connect me with someone who can connect me with someone who can help. Please. Agents who hide behind voice mail often have 3-minute greetings telling you how responsive they are. Ironic, no? 

BSIronically, many companies, after putting their customers through these ordeals, have the gall to survey them afterward to get feedback on how good a job they did. Obviously, nobody pays attention to the feedback, because if they did, these shenanigans would cease overnight.

If I am paying you I want results. Period. I don’t want a runaround or wait. I want results.

I know one company that will put you in touch with the CEO just because you asked. And if you have a  problem? They’ll grind a mountain to fix it for you. If you decide to not sell your house, they take you off the market. If you want to make a change, they make the change in real time. 

I’ll bet you know what company I’m referring to. If you don’t, call or email me and I’ll whisper their name in your ear.  

 

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