Monday, January 19, 2009
Customer Service..or Lack Thereof
I will admit when I am wrong....don't particularly like to, but I will. I am referring to an earlier blog about my husband and procrastination. He is not the only one with this malady it would seem. We have been trying to re-contract our propane provider since November. I had put Drew "in charge" of this particular task while I was dealing with the holiday chores and being sick. He didn't get the job done in a timely fashion. This was not all his fault and I never really felt that way, I was just truly annoyed that he didn't contact the salesman every time another deadline fell through. I like deadlines and when I tell someone I will do something, I do it. If something prevents my doing it, I contact people and tell them why and offer a solution. This is how I choose to also deal with my customers. I don't always get positive feed back and sometimes don't like what my customer has to say to me; but I simply let them vent if they are dissatisfied. I have found the easiest way to diffuse a situation is to apologize (whether I am in the wrong or not) and offer some sort of compensation. Most people simply want to be heard and a sincere attempt to see their point of view. So very easy to do. I can always vent to my family and friends later. I grew up in the deep south where common courtesy(no matter how two-faced it may be) in public is a rule to live by. Not so in the mid-west. When I called the customer service rep to inquire about her company I shared my theory of customer service with her and she was eager to tell me that she felt the "exact same way". She then went on to tell me how many "bad reports" she had heard about the vendor I am currently using and that her company was "on top" of customer service. She and I talked several times in the days following as she took the necessary information from me to open the account and every time we spoke on the phone she assured me that my tank, LP, and all the necessary equipment needed to dispense would be here and ready to use "on Monday, no later than Tuesday". I quipped that I would hold her personally responsible. She laughed and told me should anything not be to my satisfaction that I should indeed call her. "I warn you, that I will call and possibly make your life a living hell' was my reply. She assured me that her company wouldn't let that happen. That was two weeks ago. Monday I stayed here in anticipation of said delivery. No show. Tuesday, Drew called to inquire about the time of the impending delivery and was told that there was nothing scheduled and when he mentioned the rep's name was told that they didn't know who she was. So naturally I called Stephanie as she had instructed me to do. I was calm, I simply relayed the information Drew gave me to her. She listened, then put me on hold...I hung up after three minutes. She never called back, but the service person, John called Drew to tell Him I had called Stephanie and hollered at her and told her we had no propane for our house and since the temperature was dropping he would bring us the tank to service our house right away. What I had said to her was that I had checked in an RV that needed LP and was unable to service him and asked if someone could take care of it as a courtesy since they had failed to meet the deadline she had given me and I did not holler (ladies don't holler---they scream). Drew decided to take it from here (remember, this is what I wanted all along), what with me being so unreasonable to expect people to do what they say they will. He met with the service person and they scheduled the delivery for today. We gathered all the paperwork they asked for along with a copy of our liability insurance and arranged for some cement "bunkers" to be delivered to surround the dispensing area per their request. He told Drew he couldn't believe we had previously passed inspection. They also wanted the fence surrounding the equipment to be up-graded to 6 feet. He said it was a state requirement. It's not, but we agreed to comply. This morning as I was drinking my coffee and reading e-mail (my office was not yet open) the neanderthal delivering the tank beat loudly on my house door with his fist (I suppose it could have been a stump of wood, I didn't see). I told him I would be there shortly and threw on some jeans, shoes and a heavy coat and went out to speak with him. He had a small tank and no other equipment, so I asked if we would we be able to fill tanks today. "All I'm doing is leaving the tank, lady, that's all I know. We ain't putting nothing in today, that will be later." I told him that Stephanie had promised delivery a week ago and that I would go in and call her. I also told him my husband would be there shortly to tell them where to put the tank. I didn't call her, since she totally misconstrued my last call. Before Drew could arrive the truck, along with the tank left. Drew called Stephanie and was told that I had "cussed out" the delivery men. Actually I was using my calm voice and very simple words, so as not to confuse them........ Now I am confused. What just happened? I will go order some propane from our current vendor and pay the higher price. I give up.