Posts Tagged ‘Kohler’




Customer service is perhaps the most essential component in building and maintaining trust, and yet it is often the most abused. While the customer service team is the first interaction with the public, and the first opportunity to lay that essential trust foundation, in many organizations it represents an “easy” cost cutting “line item.”  As the economy improves, you might think companies would shift their pocketbooks back to their customers, but in my experience, it’s not happening. Just think for a moment about why companies choose “off shore” customer service call centers and the issue becomes clear.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many wonderful  businesses who understand that without their customers, their windows are permanently shuttered. This year, I have had first-hand experience with all the companies listed below and will continue to support the bottom line of the first six.

1. Kohler– their products are not inexpensive, but they stand behind them in an exemplary way. Something breaks? Give them a call. You will speak with a knowledgeable customer service rep who will have you happy and off the phone in no time.

2. American Express– I recently called them for the first time and was startled by the professionalism and expertise of their CSRs. The gentleman I spoke with told me he had been with the company for many years, has worked in all aspects of the card division and often hops on the phone to help customers, as he had with me. Wow!

3. Constant Contact– for those of you who maintain large mailing lists or databases, there are no computers answering the phone at Constant Contact. Call them any time and watch how quickly they assist you. You can almost see the smiles on their faces as they answer your questions.

4. Amazon– publishers hate them but when it comes to customer service, they have their system so “right” that one need never speak to customer service! Orders can be placed quickly and efficiently, and packages are delivered. It’s that simple.

5. Wegmans– while most people don’t look forward to their weekly food shopping chore, Wegmans makes it pleasant and satisfying.  From quality to cleanliness, reasonable prices and great staff, it’s hard not to trust them.  Not only will they “bag” your groceries, but they will even take them to your car. Compare that to the service at your supermarket.

6. Starbucks– yes, their products are “pricey” and occasionally a Barista may spell your name incorrectly on your cup, but the Starbucks experience is pleasant for customers of all ages. It isn’t by accident. Howard Schultz cares and he makes sure everyone who works for him does too.

This list would not be complete without flipping the coin to the worst customer service companies of 2014.

Fortunately, this list is a bit shorter than the one above.

1. Chrysler Group– for issuing me an undated safety recall notice involving the ignition switch, power steering, engine and breaking. The notice states the following: “Chrysler intends to repair your vehicle free of charge. However, the part required to provide a permanent remedy for this condition is currently not available.” Huh? It’s now at least 4 months since this notice was received and the dealer advises that Chrysler still has not made parts available. And Chrysler has yet to follow up on its recall notice. Correct me if I’m wrong. Isn’t this the same story as General Motors earlier this year? Did you know Chrysler is owned by Fiat in Italy? What’s going on here?

2. Amerihealth NJ – it would be difficult to find a worse customer service disaster than this one. Even escalating complaints to the President’s office doesn’t work. The person you speak with will tell you that they receive dozens of calls every day, including those from lawyers on behalf of clients with the same exact issues. Nothing this company does is right from holding on the phone for hours (literally) to not sending insurance cards, getting your address wrong, incorrectly processing claims, to billing. Yet they have received designations of excellence and best places to work! Go figure. Thankfully, I will be escaping from this nightmare come January 1.

3. Comcast – This is the company that claims they “care” but a claim and an action are not the same.  And ….

4. CenturyLink – these two companies work pretty closely because in our geographic area, without the service of one the customer is “stuck” with the other. The companies know it and so there is no reason to give the customer any sort of service. It’s monopolistic business practice at its worst. The customer comes dead last in every interaction all the time. Be prepared to spend endless hours on the phone with no resolution. The option, disconnect your phone and TV and save yourself the aggravation. In my case, CenturyLink loses my business only because Comcast has a faster internet speed.

Any time the customer has the option to send a message with their pocketbook, they should do so.

Support companies who support and respect you. Dump the companies that don’t.

I know these stories will resonate with many of our readers. Who should be added to the top list of “good guys?” Send your recommendations to

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 and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

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