“Mr. Wilner I never said you didn’t understand how business works or called you stupid. I said you don’t understand how our business works.”
That is not an exact quote but it is very close to what I was told by a vendor I am no longer doing business with. I would like to tell you that when they called me stupid I marched into their office, climbed on top of the desk and screamed “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!”
Really, it would be far more interesting to tell you that I shouted “Battle” and then defenestrated the customer service team and the ignorant supervisor who infuriated me by making me wait on hold for an average of 17 minutes and then poured gasoline on the fire by calling me stupid.
I could spin one hell of a yarn about that or maybe I could tell you some legendary family tales about men who punched the cab driver who hit them with the car or who told the waiter that if didn’t fix the meal he would take the maitre d outside and kick his ass in the parking lot. But I am not one to air dirty laundry so I can not confirm or deny these moments.
What I Can Confirm
What I can confirm is what led up to this moment of rage and the day dreaming about going Wolverine on them.
One of the service providers I used for my Texas apartment charged a $1.5o statement processing fee. I took issue with it because I saw no reason why they needed such a fee. It wasn’t tax and it wasn’t part of the service fee.
It was a separate standalone fee.
It costs money to run a business. I understand that most businesses will try to pass along certain fees to their customers but I saw this one as a way for them to try to pad their pockets.
If you want to be paid for your service you have to issue an invoice and then you have to collect it. It is part of the cost of doing business. Had they disclosed this fee prior to my engaging them I wouldn’t have a complaint because I would have known and accepted its existence.
But they didn’t.
Customer Service Failures
The initial failure is forcing your customer to sit on hold for an excessively long period of time. It is not made any better by playing a message that talks about unusually long hold times because every call is like this.
Sadly I know because I had to contact them about service outages as well as my initial contact to ask about the mystery fee.
My intention was to switch providers but since I knew that I wasn’t going to stay in this particular location long I chose to just deal with it. That comment is an indictment of the state of service and the customer service providers for this particular industry.
Friends, family and I have a laundry list of issues with them. It is not unusual to hear people talk about dealing with the best of the worst.
So while I was never thrilled with this provider I figured I might as well deal with them because it would be a short term experience and most of the time they did what they were supposed to do.
But we shouldn’t talk about businesses as working most of the time or be able to share collective experiences of outrage.
You can’t make everyone happy and sometimes there are going to be problems but it should be the exception and not the rule. Internet Rage is becoming more prevalent because spending cuts continue to hit customer service.
There is a real opportunity out there for business. If you provide great service and deliver on your promises you can build marketshare and turn customers into lifelong fans.
It exists in multiple industries. All you need to do is figure out how to meet that need and then start building your customer base. It may be easier said than done, but it is not impossible.
What are you waiting for?