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I’d like to place an order for customer service

September 22, 2009

Source: bernadetteballa.com

Source: bernadetteballa.com

Over the last couple of years something has become more apparent to me.  I seem to have become a target for bad customer service.  Is this a fluke where I think I have a dark cloud hanging over my head or are others experiencing the same thing? 

 Here are a few examples –

  • I called a service company and asked to speak with a particular contact during normal business hours. This person apparently was not in the office and I was asked to call them back at a later time. No one bothered to take my name and number or a message – just “call them back later.” I’m the customer and they are providing me a service – shouldn’t they be the one to call me back?
  • I called to set up cab service to take me to the airport and provided the customer service representative with my address and contact number. Her reply?  “Now do you really think I was able to get all that?”  Apparently, I talk a bit too fast, but is that how she should have brought this to my attention?
  • The latest incident happened over the weekend when I was ordering fish from the seafood counter at my grocery store.  The employee asked if he could help me and I told him I had a question about the salmon. He said he would check on an answer for me, but he just left the counter to restock and never said another word to me nor did he send someone else over to answer my question. Consequently, I had to wait for two more people to be waited on until the next employee could help me.

 It seems like great customer service is becoming more rare and we are just accepting bad service as commonplace.  This is, until, a small envelope arrived in the mail one day.

One week prior, I had dined at The Capital Grille in Dallas during Restaurant Week.  In that envelope, was a hand-written note from Jay Paul Sanchez at The Capital Grille personally thanking me for coming to the restaurant, letting me know that there was a Capital Grille location in Charlotte (where I currently live) and offering me a complimentary order of their calamari.  The clouds parted and the sun was shining down on me – here is great customer service. Someone finally gets it! 

Will I spread the word about The Capital Grille? You bet – I immediately placed five calls to friends to tell them about the experience.  Companies must remember that every interaction with a customer is a chance to shine and deliver great customer service.  One bad experience can cause more damage than you realize – to your reputation and profits.

So tell me – what are some great customer service experiences you have had and with what companies?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Courtney permalink
    October 5, 2009 6:00 pm

    I loved this post! These companies need to remember that old saying about the pen being mightier…with review sites like Yelp becoming so popular, more and more people are sharing their experiences – good and bad – about businesses, restaurants, etc.

    I am a ‘letter writer’ too – for good and bad service. I recently had an AMAZING experience at the new Cowboys stadium – some staff there went above and beyond to help me. I wrote a letter to a marketing manager for the stadium and he got back to me right away, saying that they usually get only ‘bad letters.’ I wonder if more people took the time to notice the good service, like you did with CG, if businesses would be more prone to providing good service?

  2. Allison permalink
    September 28, 2009 11:03 am

    I love Capital Grille just for this reason. They also go the extra mile for birthdays as well with confetti on the table, “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate on the cake plate and a birthday card with employees’ signatures. They definitely get the importance of the customer experience.

  3. emily permalink
    September 23, 2009 3:14 pm

    Here, here!!! Thank you for saying so eloquently what I am harping about on a regular basis.

    Oh – and on the Capital Grille? We have had the same exact experience with them multiple times. They are the only business who seems to “get it.” We compare all to CP and no one has ever measured up.

    Nicely done!

  4. Jen permalink
    September 22, 2009 12:27 pm

    Spot on!

    I’ve started looking up corporate numbers and asking for SEVPs or C-level people. I too have a dark cloud. It’s the only way to get anywhere. You’d think companies would learn, but I guess there are plenty of unknowing customers waiting in the wings or they have a corner on the market.

  5. Eddy Smith permalink
    September 22, 2009 10:50 am

    Well said. I agree completely! I don’t want to spend my dollars at places that don’t appreciate their customers.

    And in a Twitter world… one bad customer experience can be shared with half the globe before the company has a chance to respond! All the more reason to be ever vigilant as a service provider!

  6. Melissa permalink
    September 22, 2009 10:31 am

    Here here! There are so many people with “black clouds” following them, this topic has gained a lot of traction. CNN even interviewed an expert on what to do when you experience bad customer service. Long story short — take it to the top and contact the company’s CEO. Or, talk about them on your blog!

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