A trip to try to correct a mistake in my Social Security files revealed customer service at its worst and all that is wrong with the government these days—a government that seems to be inefficient, mean, and certainly not “for the people.” In fact, everything about my experience screamed in defiance of at least four of Wainger Group’s Cardinal Rules of Customer Service.
Why it that companies have forgotten that effective communications is the bedrock of great customer service? Poor communication can turn a loyal, happy customer into an enemy.
Today was the day I had dreaded for some time. I had to clear up a bunch of issues with several big companies—Lowes, Comcast, Verizon, and KitchenAid. And now with phone calls completed, I’m looking back on a day of exhausting, frustrating, and dehumanizing experiences
Walking into the office of a real estate services firm recently, we were met, not by a receptionist, but by the “Director of First Impressions.” And the woman in that job lived up to her title, warmly greeting us and making us feel welcome and upbeat for our meeting.
In this day of impersonal “press 1 for more options” customer service, PNC Bank really does stand out. They’ve made it a competitive advantage to provide the best in service – and they really do. I switched banks about six months ago because I got tired of the unfriendly treatment I got at the big, global bank I had been with for nearly 20 years.
A few weeks ago, this blog highlighted some terrific customer service experiences, a rarity these days. Rudeness, inefficiency and callousness seem to be the norm in the relationships between companies and the people who buy and use their products and services. One of the places where customer service can be particularly bad is the doctor’s office and medical facilities where one would expect it to be otherwise.
Many companies have finally realized that customer service matters. After all, competing on price alone will only take you so far. In this age of press 1 for an automated voice that reads out another list of menu items that don’t match your situation, getting a pleasant and helpful person on the other end of the phone or in the store can make all the difference in brand loyalty. And when your product isn’t really all that different from your competitors, you win by making customers happy.
These days when you have a pleasant experience with any company, it’s almost a shock rather than the norm. Often times, there is a huge disconnect between what the advertising messages say about the company and what the company actually delivers.
The debt ceiling and deficit reduction talks have stalled once again and the deadline is looming. Is it possible for President Obama and Speaker Boehner to come to a plan they can live with that will prevent default? Maybe it’s time to bring in a skilled facilitator.
William Donald Schaefer, the colorful and effective former Mayor of Baltimore and two-term Maryland Governor who died last week, is being remembered fondly by the well-known and ordinary alike. Schaefer was many things and among them a master of political customer service.