A word or two on service

customer service

I think it’s fair to say that when I first started at Hoover’s I had a little difficulty adjusting to an office gig. Which is remarkable, considering just how laid-back the organization and culture is at the office. Consider – in the four or so years I’ve been there I’ve worn slacks into the office twice and I think I’ve only tucked in my shirt a few more times than that.

Still, going from bartender and freelance writer to sitting at a cube and interacting professionally with people every Monday through Friday was a challenge.

In the years that have passed (although it’s infinitely more difficult without an oak bar between me and them) I’ve slowly gotten better at that interaction. My language is sometimes inexcusably inappropriate, but, luckily, they cut me some slack knowing that I’m working on it.

In any case, in all that time, it’s always been fairly clear to me that everyone at Hoover’s takes treating the customer right pretty seriously. It’s one of the things that makes working there something I can (genuinely) be proud of. And, because the economy is what it is, it’s something all of us have been keenfully aware just how important it is to keep doing well. 

Which is why I’m so irritated about a personal situation, I felt the need to tell you about it.  

The short version is this: the contract for our pest service was up as of April and Sarah and I have been checking out options for a new vendor. Last Thursday, or old vendor came out during the day, treated our home (we have a system that allows them to do everything from outside) then left an invoice for about 30% higher than we paid before.

This is after we cancelled our service with them in April.

So I’ve spent the last few days, original contract in hand, arguing with their office. And I’m not trying to get over – it was time for a treatment, and even though we’d cancelled our service with them we haven’t yet found a replacement; so I’m happy to pay for the services we received. Just not at a 30% mark-up. And still they argue.

Sarah and I, in our original contract, decided to pay for the entire year of service up front. So I ask you – isn’t that the kind of customer you want to not only keep, but also take care of? These guys seem to want to demonstrate some shady practices and then hope their customer will simply fold.

Sorry, not gonna happen.

A friend has written about this kind of thing before, see here, but now I’ll ask you: in an environment where every interaction counts, what are you doing to take care of and keep your customers? Given my recent experience, I’d love to hear some good examples…

image by yummiec00kies

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2 comments

  1. As you know, I work for a landscaping service. I know that I try my hardest at keeping the customer happy. If there is a problem with billing, I fix it so that we are both happy. Our company wants to keep our customers so we go above and beyond to do that – no matter what.

    1. Thanks for the comment, mom!
      I’m curious – what does your company do to keep customers happy before a complaint?

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