Wide Spectrum of Customer Service
As some of you know, or at least picked up from my latest batch of a Foursquare checkins that I’ve moved. Now during the move, I definitely had my share of the broad spectrum of customer service. More importantly, I learned a thing or two about how I can improve upon my own client communication and service.
One of the worst experiences I’ve had with customer service was my recent interaction with Con Edison. For those outside the NYC area, this is the power and gas company. I had to get the power turned over into my name at the new place. I called ConEd and asked them to have the power to the apartment switched in my name. They proceeded to tell me that I had to fax them some pieces of information to prove I wasnt the previous tenant since they scooted on their bill. So I understood that and besides, I didnt want to be responsible for their bill. I faxed everything they asked for over to them and called them back at the specified time. They proceeded to tell me that the lease wasn’t up to THEIR standards and told me what I needed have on it to be accepted and to refax it. So I did what they asked, even had my landlord rework it accordingly and called back. They proceeded to tell me that I now needed a notarized letter from my landlord now because the lease was different than the first one I faxed over.
Yup, you read that right…”because the lease was different.” They told me to change it and I now needed my new landlord to get a notarized letter and fax it to ConEd stating that the lease was ok because it was changed according to what ConEd asked for to get the power turned on in my name. That’s pretty much when I got so frustrated that I couldnt believe I was emerged in this stupidity. My landlord couldnt believe it either, so he wound up calling them up and after a few days of that, he told me everything should be squared away with ConEd, because they told him that. Now this was when I was moving all my stuff into the new place so I didnt get a chance to call up immediately. When I did, I was told that my landlord had not called and that all my paperwork was deleted from the system and I had to go through everything again, including the notarized letter because there was a note on the account that the lease didn’t look legit. Now I lost it, I asked the guy on the phone, “so you rather not have me as a willing and able paying customer, by making me jump through all these hoops again, but protect a delinquent nonpaying customer and still get no money? That makes total perfect sense, thanks for your help.” After speaking with my landlord yet again, god bless his patience, I got a call from a supervisor over at ConEd and finally got the service transferred into my name.
The middle of the road was Time Warner. The only reason it was middle of the road caliber was because the issue I had was a defective box. But that was something I figured out by taking my bedroom cable box and plugging it into my living room and seeing if I was having the same issue. Which I didn’t, but by then I had already spent an hour and half online with tech support which ended in them having to schedule out a tech to my place. So after the week in between, when the tech got here I explained what I did, he ran some tests on the line and just swapped out the defective box.
Now in saving the best for last, it was 1800-Got-Junk. Yup, those of you that are fans of the tv show Hoarders, this is the service where a truck comes to your place and a team of guys take out your junk and either recycles it, donates it, or junks it. I had a bunch of stuff that I just didnt want to bring along to the new place such as a twin bed, loveseat, and just some household items. The main guy, Justin, that I dealt with was top notch. Very respectful to my place and items. He and his guys were extremely courteous and made things like the appointment time totally my call and based on my availability and time. It was pouring down rain, and they didnt even blink. “We do this all the time, just a part of the job,” he replied with a smile, to me talking about how crappy the weather was. You know that feeling you get after an experience and you want to tell everyone about it and even to go use/have it? That’s how I feel about these guys. Would totally use them again and very much recommend them as a service.
What I took from this is that customer service is about respect, communication, common sense, patience, and understanding. I’ve always tried to strive to communicate fully to my clients and potential clients alike. Making sure that there is nothing lost in translation. Even if there’s something that I’m not in control of but I know that my client will have to go through, I will let them know about it, so that they can at least prepare themselves and whatever materials they may need. All of us in business end up on both sides of the fence in customer service. Try to think about that when you are on either side, and remain respectful and use common sense.