Thursday, September 6, 2018

Great Customer Service

How often does the following phrase pass your lips? "That was great customer service." 

I understand that this is a first world problem, but what in the world ever happened to customer service? Wow! No wonder I have no hair left!

These things below seem to be more common to me than what I would call great customer service.

-The clerk has to finish their cigarette first.
-The clerk will not even look up from their cell phone.
-Four clerks shoot the breeze about the football game while I stand there waiting for a moment to break into the conversation so I can spend money so their employer can afford to keep them working.
-The contractor promises to come at a certain time on a certain day, but does not show up, does not call and does not answer the phone.
-The service provider does 2/3 of what they promised at about 1/2 the quality they guaranteed and charges twice the amount they agreed on.
-And the list goes on and on.

How is a Christian supposed to respond to sub par or even very poor customer service? 

We are to respond like Christ, of course, each and every time.


Whenever I deal with someone by phone or in person that I do not know, it is absolutely a given that I must portray Christ in all of my actions and reactions. I do not say that I ought to "try" to be Christ like, I say I ought to be Christ like. 

Responding to others with a Christian attitude and spirit should be natural to a man that is born again and walking in the Spirit. One old preacher used to say, "It should be easier to pick a fight with a dead man than to pick a fight with a Christian." 

Ouch again!

I could quote a bunch of scripture to prove the above statement, but I will assume that you are already on the same page with me, Christians ought to act like Christians because they have been made new! 

We should be different than we were before salvation. If we are now what we used to be before salvation then we are not what we ought to be after salvation!

Which being interpreted is, "If you is what you was then you probably ain't."

Do you struggle with that when dealing with the public, especially customer service? I do.

I can not tell you how many times in the last few years I have taken a part from the bus into a store and handed the part to the store employee. Only to have him hand the part back and say something like, "They have never made that part in that configuration, only in 'such and such' configuration."

I could understand that statement if I was describing the part and the employee had never seen it, but he just held the part in his hand and then told me with a straight face that it does not exist. Wow!

One day I went to four big name Auto Parts stores on the same road within one mile of each other. The first three stores told me the part I wanted had never been made and could not be found. It was not in their computer therefore it did not exist. The fourth store had it and the guy went to get it without even looking up the part number in the computer.

Imagine that! It took everything within me to pass the other three stores without stopping back in to show them the part that did not exist!

We had a doozie of an experience recently.

Odie dropped her phone in the ocean while on vacation in mid-July. She did not have a consistently working phone until the third week of August. She went 24 days with no phone service. Our phone provider or the insurance company mistakenly blacklisted her new phone instead of the old phone that is at the bottom of the bay in Juneau, Alaska. They even blacklisted Kelly Jo's phone for 7 days by mistake.

It was a fiasco. No one could explain it. No one could reverse it. Almost no one even wanted to have it all explained to them. They wanted us off the phone, off their books and out of their lives as quickly as possible.

One manager level customer service rep for the phone company told me after 20 minutes that he had spent way to much time on my call. He was in the process of moving to the next stooge customer when I ask him, "What would you say if you were paying for your phone, could not use your phone and the phone company tried to dump you off the line with no hope of it being resolved?" He gave me 5 more minutes and then moved on.😂

The three of us spent over 20 hours on the phone trying to resolve the issue over the space of 10 days. We were told numerous times that it was solved. Each time they said they would call back in a few hours to make sure, only to never receive a call and still no working phone.

I keep meticulous call notes in events like that and I gave up listing how many times I explained the whole situation to a new customer service rep. They would ask questions and jump us through hoops for 20 minutes and then try to connect us to the person that could help. After 10-20 minutes on hold, the person that would answer would be another customer service rep at the bottom of the phone tree with no clue who I was or what the problem was. Ugh!

The nice ones did that. The others put me on hold and sent me back to a dial tone.

I was finally told that a brother in our church is a manager a the phone company. He escalated the dilemma to a nice and efficient lady that could get things done. She called me within 20 minutes. It took her two weeks to get it resolved, but she got it. And we appreciated it!

How did I handle it all? Outwardly I did fine, but inwardly I struggled. Can you be firm without being un-Christian. I think so, but it is easy to slip over the line. I constantly made sure the person I was speaking to had no reason to feel like I was blaming them or taking my frustration out on them. I am not sure they always believed me.

It seems like that same scenario has played out over and over again in a handful of different situations the last few months. I have begun to dread dealing with anyone about anything.

The last two days restored my faith in strangers. I have been looking for a certain coolant test strip and certain coolant additives. I have stopped at a bunch of places and made literally dozens of phone calls with no success.

Then the flood gates of nice people opened up. In less than 24 hours I have been bombarded with kindness by no less than 9 people in 8 places of business in 3 different cities separated by 75 miles. Hallelujah!

I have thanked each of them profusely for assisting me and then thanked them again for being kind while they helped me. I told one guy Wednesday, "You sure are making it easy to be a Christian today." I meant every word of it!

He gave me a sideways glance, noticed my smile and said, "Your welcome, I think" and smiled back.

God knows I needed a boost before I crawled into a hole and buried my head.

It is nice to be on the receiving end of another person desiring to be like Christ. It reminds me how good that feels and makes me want to be better to others.

What kind of impression have you left with strangers lately?

Thanks for reading today.


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