Customer Service is Everyone’s Job

I had a situation recently when we were trying to update our 800 phone line for our business.  We wanted to move phone carriers, mostly because of extremely poor service.  At some point, you get tired of being treated poorly and it’s just not worth the headache anymore, so we made the decision to move on, even thought we had been with this certain carrier for close to 8 years.   When your customer service treatment dwindles, so do your customers.   This company was lacking awareness and when you lack that one valuable iconic element, it will cost you.

The consequence of complacency is lost business and future business.

As the story goes, we showed a credit of $200 on our statement, but it hadn’t been applied.  Now, what I am about to tell you I wish where an exaggeration, but rather it’s haunting and disheartening.  We called the customer service line over 30 times to resolve the issue.  And you may ask, why did it take over 30 phone calls to resolve a little issue?  Because we kept getting hung up on, transferred, and hung up on again.  The first few hang ups, you think, “oh, something must be wrong with the connection.”  But, after 20 hang ups, you start to get the idea that someone trained these customer service reps, “If you don’t have a solution, just disconnect.”    And that is what they did.

I was in South Dakota, with a few hours to spare before I was about to give a speech and I thought I would take another shot at it and try and resolve the issue.  My wife was burned out from being put on hold, transferred and then hung up on.   It was almost like we knew their customer service outline.

By chance, I accidentally called the wrong number, which went to Verizon Collections Department.  We didn’t owe anything, but I started talking to the person in the collections department about my situation and she said she would call the customer service line and assist in transferring me.   But, I asked her if she would mind staying on the line to listen in and verify the poor treatment we were receiving.  She agreed.  She even helped manage the communication as she introduced herself with Verizon and in doing that you could tell the other customer service representative became more alert and attentive to help.

It was interesting.   When he answered the phone is was a very bland and routine answer, “Hello, my name is Pete, can I have your account number.”

The Verizon woman introduced herself and me on the line and for some reason, Pete came to life!  It was like Jesus brought Lazarus back to life.  The Verizon woman turned it over to me and I explained everything to Pete as I my wife and myself had done so many times before.  He did what they do on every call and put us on hold.   During that hold time, I got talking to the Verizon woman from collections.  We talked weather, family, sports, books and then Pete returned with familiar news, “I am sorry, I don’t see a credit and there is nothing I can do.”

That is when the Verizon lady jumped in and said, “I am looking at the same statement you are Pete and it clearly says there is a credit due.”

Pete says, “Let me get my manager.”

And we basically went through the same thing again, we got introduced to some guy with a heavy accent named Larry.  He put us on hold and during that time the Verizon lady and I talked more.  We talked about kids, family, work, life, and then Larry returned.

“Yes, I do not see a credit.”

Verizon Lady, “Larry, I am looking at the same statement you are right now and it clearly says there is a credit due to Mr. Glenn.”

CLICK!  Larry hung up.

This customer service show lasted a good 54 minutes and some seconds.  I said to the Verizon lady, “See, they just hang up on you.”

She was not happy and apologized about it and said she would ask a favor of her manager to help look into this for us.  And they did and we got it resolved.   This issue wasn’t even something that had to do with their department, but they did it for me.  They treated me like a human being with understanding and took ownership to see how they could make me a happy customer.  This exceeded my expectation.

Did she make Verizon look good?  Yes!   Even if she could not resolve it, did it make me a happy customer?  Yes, because she was doing something on my behalf.   Did she step it up and demonstrate that great customer service does exist?  Yes!

the awesome Verizon lady who made my day

I want to share and put the Verizon lady in the spotlight, but I don’t know the rules at Verizon and sometimes doing something outside what they are suppose to do can be viewed as out of bounds, so I don’t want to get her in any trouble, but for the sake of this blog, I will call her the awesome Verizon lady who made my day.  It might be the first time I have wanted to reach through the phone and hug someone in customer service. Although she was in the collections department, she saw a customer in need and did what she could to make it right.   It doesn’t matter the department, title, role or position in your organization, customer service is everyone’s job.