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Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.Tony Allesandra

Who remembers Lily Tomlin as Ernestine the Telephone Operator from Saturday Night Live?

This past July I wrote a blog post called Sorry, Our Policy Doesn’t Permit It  that attracted lots of attention and followup notes. Today I have another customer service blunder courtesy of our local phone company.

Until this week I had not paid the bill for our office phone service for three months, simply because the online “Pay” button on the company website had disappeared and I had spent too much time looking for it.  The bill was now over $150.00, so it was time to make that dreaded customer service call. After pressing lots of buttons and codes, I was connected to “Jason” who quickly assessed the issue and advised me that I was connected to the wrong department.  He could not solve the “Pay” button problem but COULD take the payment over the phone, with a service charge of $4.00. When I told him I wasn’t interested in paying the service charge, but wanted to offer a suggestion, his response was simply “I don’t want to hear your suggestion as this call is being recorded. All I want to do now is transfer the call.” I told him that the recording of the call was all the more reason for me to make the suggestion, hoping that maybe someone would actually hear it! Every “Jason” should be given an $8.00/day discretionary allowance to accept a phone payment without the service charge. After all, what company wants to forego $150.00 to save $4.00?

Why is it so difficult for companies to provide excellent customer service? Is it poor leadership, low priority, too many policies, poor training, low pay, or all of the above? Why should I believe that this company cares about me as a customer? Why should I want to continue to do business with them? Why should I even care when apparently they don’t?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Nominations are now being accepted for Trust Across America-Trust Around the World’s 5th annual Global Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business.

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Should you wish to communicate directly with Barbara, drop her a note at Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright © 2014, Next Decade, Inc.




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