Thursday, November 3, 2011

Customer Service

This image is in sharp contrast to how I feel right now.

My children can hardly count the number of times that I have embarrassed them in stores because of poor customer service. But it is really important to me, and I think that my husband exemplifies in our business the kind of customer courtesy I want from people who provide services or sell things to me.

There is a rug cleaning business in this town that we have dealt with for as long as I've been working in our business. We have used them for clients and for ourselves. I have never walked out of their store or talked to them on the phone and felt that they gave a damn about me. They have this smug superior attitude. With every interaction, I ask my husband not to use them again.

He continues to use them though because they are the best in town. Slow, but the best. And he wants the best for our clients.

Today I had a billing question for them, and the owner's wife is their accounting person. From the first question I felt put on the defensive, and it went downhill from there. After I hung up I decided to call her back and let her know how I felt.

"Every time I deal with your company," I told her, "I come away dissatisfied with the way I have been treated." At this point I would expect her to ask what did I mean? Instead she launches into an explanation of why she treated me so disrespectfully.

"That's exactly what I'm talking about," I said. "I never feel that you care about us as customers." Again, an opportunity for her to make things right, but she said, "Well, you have the right to go anywhere you want. You don't have to use us."

True, I don't have to use her. But we want to use them because they're so good in the field. So I said, "I realize that, and I would like to continue to use you if only I felt that you care about me as a customer." And she said, "We don't care if you come here or not." And then she hung up the phone.

So. There you have it. They really don't give a hoot about us.

Have you ever been in a situation like this? Have you ever sacrificed good customer service in exchange for good service? Their Facebook page asks for reviews. Would it be fair to say, "Good service, bad customer service" on it?

My face is cooling off now; my feelings about not using this company again are even stronger. But I don't want to sacrifice our good customer service because of their bad customer service. What to do?


Sandi and Mark said...

I wouldn't say "good service, bad customer service" - I would say "if you can get past the terrible (& sometimes insulting) customer service, they will do a great job when they get around to it." Sounds like although they do a great job cleaning but they're slow to get the job done an to top it off, they're rude & even worse they don't care! Plus are they really doing a "great job" if they are slow, rude & unappreciative of your business? Surely there is another company in town that will (happily) do a comparable job and do it with a smile!

If I were you, I would write a complaint letter to the Better Business Bureau and copy them on it. Maybe they will care then! That method has worked for me in the past. I should loan you one of my favorite books: "Shocked, Appalled & Dismayed: How to Write Complaint Letters that Get Results".

Ginny said...

I'm with Sandi & Mark. You can't leave anonymous feedback on Facebook pages, and your husband wants to continue to work with these people. They sound like the type to take it out on folks they are mad at.

On the other hand, if I may be frank? If my husband wanted to continue to work with somebody who hung up on me, I think I'd have a problem with him.

Me again said...

Oops. Just caught the part about copying the BBB letter to them. I wouldn't do that!

But I do think a BBB letter is in order, here. And I don't think they tell who's complained.

Yvonne said...

I would investigate other companies. Surely there is someone who wants your business, will work hard for it and will make you feel like a valued customer.

mamie said...

Sandi, Ordered the book. I may learn something useful to a busy body lady.

Ginny, We'll see what happens after this latest incident. Maybe I need a marriage therapist rather than a book that tells me how to complain effectively!

Yvonne, I'm looking....