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Customer Service

Thursday October 9, 2008

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

One aspect to running successfully any business is customer service. While I suppose it is possible to succeed with superior performance alone, a la Jerry Seinfield’s ‘Soup Nazi’, ignoring your customer needs and concerns will generally lead to failure. At Webconsuls, LLC we try to be both responsive to our customers and to exceed their performance expectation.

Here is personal example that illustrates my point.

I am renting out a townhouse, which is vacant. As part of the rental process I needed to have the locks rekeyed and also needed the stove replaced. I purchased a stove at an appliance store with a good reputation and fair prices. Salesman explained things well. Delivery was scheduled for Saturday morning between 9 and 11 am. I then went to a locksmith. He was nice enough but spoke with a European accent. I could barely understand him. I was able to schedule him between 9 and 10 the same Saturday.

Saturday morning rolls around and I went to the vacant townhouse, book in hand to keep me company. At 9 the locksmith called and said he will be late, between 10 and 11. No problem. The locksmith came at 10 and did his job. No word from the appliance company. At 11:15 I called, they then told me it will be between 12 and 1. At 1:15 I called, they said that they guy was just finishing up a job and would be there in 30 minutes.

When I questioned as to why no one ever called me with a new time I am told that the installer “Does not use his cell phone.” I asked why he has a cell phone and does not use it. They don’t know.

At 2 I called and they said he will be there between 3 and 4. I said I have to leave and will leave the empty house unlocked. They said no problem.

As I was driving, around 3:30, the appliance people called to tell me that they could not install the stove without damaging the tile floor. I needed to reschedule as they would not damage the floor without the owner approving. (Of course if they had come when the promised I would been there and could have approved.) I rescheduled for the next Wednesday between 9 and 11. On Monday I got a handyman to remove the old stove (he did have to damage the floor but he can fix it easily after the new stove is installed.)

On Wednesday I went back to the vacant townhouse to await the new stove. No one showed in the morning. I called at 11:15 and they told me 1. At 1:15 I called and they told 2. They finally came at 2:30.

I will never buy from that appliance store again. Their selection, prices, and workmanship might be great, but they have lost me as a customer. My tenant plans to buy a refrigerator, washer, and dryer in a couple of months. I will steer him away from the store.

If I ever need a locksmith, though I know where to go.


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