A long time ago when I was a pup in the Interior Design industry I worked for a fledgling firm that was just making its way into the world of design. The owners were already somewhat seasoned but hadn’t had a ton of experience running and managing an Interior Design firm.
They are doing just fine.
The reason I bring this up is that I remembered a moment in time when I was on my way to a client meeting with one of the principals who said to me, “Ralph, you have to understand that in this industry we are in servitude.”
Well, at the time, as a design consultant, I had an issue with the notion of servitude.
I still do.
It’s the wrong way to describe the service we bring to our clients but what that comment did make me realize is that if we are not exceptional at servicing our clients we wouldn’t be working for too long. Certainly there are many, many factors to getting work, keeping it and being sought after.
Many, many factors.
The choices I made in my career as an Interior Designer have always lead me to offer the best service I can. Making intelligent choices, keeping my client’s informed of their options, offering the best solutions based on the constraints and managing expectations have driven what I have done over the past 20 plus years.
That, my friends, is how I roll.
Thereby, you can’t possibly imagine how frustrated I was with a recent experience with our local Telco, Rogers Cable. You see, we decided to change our cable service and in the process discovered that we had been paying, every month, for a piece of rental equipment that we no longer had in our possession.
It’s been 65 months!
Now, before you say anything I have to ask you this. Do you examine your bills that closely? We have been paying our bill on-line for what seems like forever and honestly we didn’t often look at the details of the bill that closely.
The overall charge totaled quite a healthy sum so we started what can only be called “the dance” with Rogers Cable. The calls began. Each at least 30 minutes and each time my frustration built up more and more. You see, instead of trying to help me I simply got transferred around until I was told I could not be helped. The best that anyone was able to offer me was a 3 month rebate.
3 months out of a 65 month error!
To say the least I was appalled!
I took me 5 separate attempts and a discussion with a senior manager in their so called Customer Care group in order to get the 3 month credit offer. I was on the receiving end of a variety of comments from a series of Customer Care professionals (Ha! Professionals?) such as:
- Why did you pay your last bill then?
- It’s your responsibility to check for errors on your bill.
- I don’t have authorization to look at your account past 6 months.
- I can’t help you. You will need to speak to someone else.
- After asking who I should speak to I was told, “I don’t know, sir. I can’t advise you on whom to speak to.”
Are you getting the picture?
Now, I know not everyone has the authority to credit accounts but the attitude of the last person who I spoke with drove me to the height of my frustration. I ended the call by asking if they would like to help me one last time. If not, I was going to the media and every consumer advocacy group I could find to get help.
The next day we received an apologetic email from Customer Care offering a larger sum of money as a consolation.
It was not a choice.
It was their best offer.
End of story.
This experience has simply increased my awareness to the important role customer service plays in a successful business.
Rogers Cable will never get our business again.
They don’t care but I do. Treating people as fairly as I can is important to me and I have learned a valuable lesson from their incompetence.
Something like that will never happen under my watch.
That brings us to today’s quote.
There’s not much I can say about Jeff Bezos that hasn’t been said. Is it too obvious to choose such a success story? Maybe but unlike the oligopoly that today’s Telco’s possess he has made his mark by providing us what we need and by making the experience pleasant and easy to manage. Hey, I am not advocating for Amazon. I simply thought the quote was appropriate. Amazon is also a giant corporation which could treat its customers with disdain.
Yet, they don’t.
Take it away Mr. Bezos.
If that doesn’t brighten your day then maybe this will.
Have a great Monday and an awesome week.
If you want to read last week’s quote simply click here.