We’ve been catching up on things. Without further ado:
Adventures in Customer Service with City Employees
To the City of St. Louis Park, MN: Nice save by one of your field representatives after I called to report discolored water that trickled down into no water. With the ultra below-freezing temperatures we’ve had recently (and windchills in excess of -40F), Pete thought our problem might be due to a frozen water main.
So I called the City Utilities division. I barely was able to explain what was happening when, without so much as a single syllable acknowledgement, the administrative assistant dumped me into a voicemail pool. Rude! I was disconnected twice prior to being able to leave a message. If I’d had the water to boil, it would have been steaming!
Seriously, with all the self-congratulatory mentions of “Minnesota nice” going around, would it have been too much for her to have said something like, “Oh, sorry you’re having a problem. We do have some issues with water mains and the frozen temperatures. Please let me transfer you to the correct line where you can leave your details. Someone will call you back just as soon as possible to help.” Grrr.
The good news: the field rep who called back was extremely helpful, staying on the line with me while troubleshooting our symptoms, and then recommending a D-I-Y fix that had us back in action relatively quickly. But still…St. Louis Park? Your opportunity to make a positive impression is compromised by employees who either aren’t properly trained or don’t care to extend simple courtesy. Other professionals employed by the City have to make up their slack. Just sayin’.
Adventures in Customer Service – Home Depot
Pete and I shop frequently at the Home Depot near our house. When we’re there on a mission for a specific item, I really miss the local hardware store where I used to live. Sometimes our experience is good with Home Depot – mainly when we’re browsing or in the garden center. Other times our experience is – well, not so much. Like Thursday night.
I have mixed feelings about self-check-outs to begin with. This would be why stores have employees, no? Thursday, it really chapped our long-underwear’d derrieres to see four – count ’em, four – employees having a gab fest at the end of our check-out lane while we’re struggling. What were we struggling with, you ask? We were struggling to scan, bag and pay for our purchases. Ourselves. Because there were no check-out lanes open other than the self-operated ones.
Even though there were enough staff to open every single one of them standing right in front of us. But they were preoccupied. With socializing, not serving the customer. Huh.
When we suggested to the group of orange-aprons on our way out that there might be something wrong with this picture, we got the deer in the headlights look. As if we were being unreasonable presuming that the employees might lift a finger to help us with heavy items and reluctant bar code scanners.
Home Depot? There’s a reason your stock is in the tank. This type of experience could be related. Ya think?
Adventures in Customer Service – Web Hosting
Has anyone missed Cath Lawson for the past couple of weeks? We certainly have. Seems as though her blog is too successful – i.e. generating too much traffic – for her hosting company, Bluehost, to bother with her any more. So instead of using the situation as an opportunity to create a positive experience – which they might have wanted to do seeing as how she could be a good business referral source and all – Bluehost shut her website down. With no warning.
Just like that, Cath’s site is snuffed out, and she can’t get an answer as to why. Cath has had a very frustrating time of it, but all is well now. She tells the story, with lots of good advice new and established bloggers and anyone with a website should heed. Cath, what a way to start out the new year!
John Hoff of E-Venture Biz, who helped Cath out of her jam with a nifty fix of services, warns: “You know, Bluehost really did put you in a tough spot. Not only did they take down your site, but they also locked you out. Luckily, you were able to gain access finally and we could move you over….@Everyone – Speaking of backup, if you want a full backup of your blog, make sure you have both a database backup and download all the files in your blog’s directory to your hard drive.” Yes, sir.
Fortunately, not everyone who is confronted with a challenge or an opportunity disregards it:
Becky Blanton wins the Johnny Bunko Challenge
Earlier in the week, we asked you to vote for Becky Blanton in the Johnny Bunko Challenge. Becky’s entry for Lesson Seven, “Stay Hungry,” was one of three finalists in the challenge. With a little help from her friends, and a lot of help via Seth Godin, Becky pulled away and snagged the win! Becky will be on her way to the TED conference in London, as we mentioned in our post.
But there’s more to this story: one of Becky’s competitors was Ed Brenegar, with another great Lesson about “Saying Thanks” every day. Cultivating the “attitude of gratitude” is a sure-fire way to keep things in perspective for us, when we remember to do it. If you read one thing in its entirety this weekend, read Ed Brenegar’s inspiring post congratulating Becky on her win. It’s the epitome of sportsmanship and grace. There truly were no losers in this challenge. Congratulations, Becky and Ed, for presenting us with remarkability!
Barbara Swafford Does More with Less
The New Year often finds us with additional responsibilities after the holiday break. Sometimes our workload seems even more overwhelming and stressful, especially if we’re being asked to do more because of an unexpected change. Barbara Swafford, of Blogging Without A Blog, recently found herself with a busier time of it at her non-blog job – the nerve of them! So, she proactively modified her posting schedule by arranging for guest posters, reducing frequency from daily to 3x per week, and combining activities.
These changes leave Barbara with enough time for growing non-blog commitments, and the ability to continue to visit and comment on the blogs she cares about. It’s easy to let things go until they get far out of hand, thinking somehow we’ll make it all work. Changing her schedule is in keeping with Barbara’s disciplined and professional approach to the business of blogging, while maintaining the strong community she founded. Congratulations, Barbara!
Related articles by Zemanta
- Telephone firms teach manners to hospital workers
- UK CMO takes a stand on ‘customer service” in healthcare
- Sometimes the simplest things . . .
- Vodafone perhaps need to rethink their customer service function…
- How to change someone’s view with customer service
- Spotted! Amazing Customer Service at the Apple Store
- Vonage Says “If You Hang Up We’ll Cancel Your Account” [Vonage]
- Customer Service Is A Choice…
- Home Depot Sells You A Used Battery Pack, Manages Not To Accuse You Of Fraud [Happy Endings]