Customer Service?

Jan 14

Customer service is one of the things within a company that everyone says to do well. You see television advertisements  about how your local car dealership has an internet lounge while you impatiently wait for your car to be serviced or the plumber who boasts “30 minute response time”- with the exception of mealtimes, nap time and overnight. Recently the phone company was challenged by the cable company to deliver phone service to homes in our area. In my own house, the phone went out about a month ago. We called the phone company, to fix it and were put on hold for an hour. We finally got someone who then told us it will be three days until they can fix it and the only time they can be at our house is between 9 and 2. We said, “Are you kidding me?” We basically gave up. We switched to the cable company and saved $70.00 a month and are happy.

Last evening my daughter and I went to the local mall to get her snow boots because last year’s boots instantly were too small for her 8 year old feet. We went to the mall on a quiet evening so that we could go into a store and be the only shoppers. However, we found that we had to constantly battle for attention with the clerk’s phone as he or she texted away. Eventually, we just walked out without buying the boots. My daughter was as equally annoyed as me because she liked the boots. I was annoyed because I just really do not like to shop.

We ended up at a Sports Authority sports store where we got our boots and went to pay. At the register we noticed that on the bottom of our receipt, if we filled out a survey and gave the store a “Very good” for customer service, we would receive a $10.00 coupon. Enough Said.

I got an e-mail from one of our top 5 customers last night and it was stated in plain language:

“You are correct – the last few weeks we have received in many ******* along with the remaining ******.  I appreciate everyone at Royal Master working so diligently to get these out to us.  Also, Alan has been doing an excellent job in going above and beyond in checking out the delivery schedules and expediting items in for us when we are in a desperate need for something.   We do appreciate it!Thanks again & have a great weekend!”

Where does a consumer go to when they are dissatisfied? There is no undercover boss going to magically appear and fix everything. Does the consumer accept it as the way the company does business or would they like to know what is wrong so they can fix it? Where do you go? The phone company does not advertise a “If you are dissatisfied with us talk to the CEO” phone number. The store with the texting clerk is earning a paycheck, but the owner of the store does not know that I will never come back because of my experience. But I bet the owner would like to know that he lost a customer over a very fixable issue.

The point of this blog is not to get annoyed about the situation again, but to just say if you have a good experience at a store or a company they always like to hear about it. If it’s a bad experience the company wants to hear about it even more. Where do you go where someone will listen and care? That’s the key question.

John Jr

Vice President

Royal Master Grinders.

Customer Service: Centerless Grinders and Shoes

May 21

This week I went to the local Westfield Shopping mall to return a pair of shoes that I purchased about 4 months ago. They are nothing special and not expensive, but I wear them most days and they look the part, but far from worn out. The reason for the return is the rubber soles split across the ball of the foot and I was annoyed that this could happen. I am not a return kind of person, I dislike the whole experience that it entails, finding a receipt that you put in a drawer six months ago and trudging to an overcrowded mall. Nasty salespeople are more interested in flirting with the kiosk employee across the mall, and not trying to help you. So what makes this experience noteworthy. I was in and out in less then 3 minutes flat.

Without a receipt I walked into the store, pulled out a shoe from the bag I brought, politely said “ is this supposed to happen?”, the answer was no from the very polite sales employee. He quickly offered that even though he did not have them in stock, he would order then and have them shipped to my home at no extra charge.  After filling out my name and address, I was on my way explaining my 7 year old daughter the difference between   good service like this and poor service like we had at chain store a few weeks back. Her simple reply was why would someone NOT give good service, and Daddy can we get a Pretzel.

I had to think about her question and I did not have an answer, as we went and got a Pretzel, Cold Stone Creamery for me.

We all live in a environment where  we are genuinely surprised by a thank you when you pay for your bagel and coffee or surprised when you get a small bag of peanuts on your cross country flight.  How did it get this far, I do not know but when this happened it made me sit back and just listen to Alan Schell our customer service person.  Everyday I hear him on the phone as we sit close to each other, but I just decided to listen, and listen intently.

Alan has a conversation with our customers, he just does not take an order. At times it seems like they should be making plans for a weekend picnic at his home. One instance came to light yesterday that made me talk about it here.

A very good customer called us yesterday afternoon inquiring about delivery of some spare parts that he needed to order and needed quickly. It turns out his customer needed additional parts from him, creating panic  down the food chain. He turned to us.

He needed many specialty work rest blades and an propionate amount of a special type of sliced regulating wheels and quick, by the end of the week, and we needed to deliver. Alan asked him if he could put him on hold for a minute to find out what we can do. Before he put him on hold they shared a good laugh. Within a minute Alan returned and triumphantly and told our customer that everything he needed would ship by Friday and if we needed to we will ship out the remainder on Saturday for him.

Signaling that the answer was satisfactory, they continued on their conversation about weekend plans, soccer games and Alan’s new weed whacker which was much better than an old electric one he had.

Customer service is a really important part of our business, We are a family business, with employees that have been here for 20 plus years. We all take pride in what happens between these four walls, and it starts with a Friendly greeting from Lori when she answers the phone to Alan’s genuine Thank you for your order. It is not a rehearsed thank you, but when I really listened to Alan’s Thank you for your order, he really means it.