When the coffee maker broke, as it inevitably would after a year or so, I would just chalk it up to it “being cheap” and I’d throw it away, by a new cheap one, and life would go on. I didn’t think much about the company that made it or calling for support to fix it.
Now that I’m older, I can afford better quality items for my household. I don’t set out to spend more money. (I like to keep my money, actually!) But sometimes, after doing a lot of recon on a product I need, it turns out that I might spend a larger chunk of money than in my younger days.
The problem is, when something more expensive breaks, I don’t react the same way. When you invest in something you believe to be of quality, you have expectations of being able to use that thing for a long time. And when something breaks, whether it’s a product or a system or a service, you have an even greater expectation that the company is going to help you out in your time of need.
Lately, I’ve noticed a crummy trend. Customer service has stopped serving customers. In the span of about three weeks, I’ve experienced the following:
- Ordered online to a BBQ restaurant - arrived 30 minutes later to have them tell me that they didn’t have several items I had ordered. Upon receiving the order, why didn’t they call me immediately to let me know? And then the order wasn’t even partially ready. We waited another 20+ minutes.
- Ordered online to a local restaurant - arrived at scheduled pick-up time to be told by a grumpy worker that she was “finishing it up.” This was a lie. It’s an open kitchen and I could plainly see she hadn’t even started it yet. What’s the point of ordering ahead? And why isn’t someone dedicated to online orders and other workers dedicated to walk-ins?
- Purchased an expensive new vacuum five months ago. It stopped working. Last week I called customer service and they told me it was a broken motor. And that I’d have to pay $80 for a new part. What??? My five year warranty covers this! Nope. It covers nothing, really. Except a handle. It wasn’t until I gruffly (and I do NOT like being gruff!) chatted with support on Facebook, letting them know my displeasure and that I’d never recommend their products ever again (I own several different items from their company) that they said they’d send me the part free as a “goodwill gesture.”)
Why isn’t customer service proactive in solving a problem? Why do people have to get angry and write scathing reviews or letters to a company in order for said company to help the people that keep them in business? (And why do some companies have warranties that cover nothing??!?!)
When everything else falls away, service is all we have left. Service is what keeps us coming back. Service is what makes me recommend one business over another. Service is what keeps my business running.
Anyone can put a product on a shelf and put a price tag on it. It’s the customer service we receive that makes us customers, again and again and again.