Category Archives: Customer Service

Whatever happened to customer service?

If you haven’t noticed by now, I appreciate good customer service and get upset with poor service. I haven’t really ranted about customer service for awhile so…

48-Hours to Schedule an Oil Change

When I needed to schedule an oil change, I went to the dealership website and they direct all service appointments to this online scheduling form… as in you can’t call the service department directly or find how to make an appointment if you don’t want to do the form. So I filled in the form and waited more than 24 hours. I heard nothing… so I called the dealership and asked to be transferred to service. I had to leave a voice mail. I missed the call back (let me not they called me back right at closing time) and asked me to call them the next day when they were open again. I said that I wanted an appointment for any time on Friday. ANY TIME! I can even drop my car off in the morning and leave it with them all day to squeeze in. Why couldn’t they just schedule it or tell me that Friday wasn’t available?  The next morning, before they were “open” I actually got an email, saying to call and schedule an appointment for the next week and Friday wasn’t good. Two days after I made the original request.  I was able to get an appointment for tomorrow so they called my husband to confirm. What is that? I’ve mentioned before that the dealer hasn’t been the best about customer service anyway. I love my car, but when my lease is up, I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

Meter Inspection Date

Then the gas company needs to inspect our meter, which surprise, surprise it’s not accessible from the outside and someone needs to let them into our home to look at the meter. The postcard they sent said, “make every effort to do the work at a date a time that is convenient for you.”

The postcard’s message.

That turned out to be a load of crap. We tried to schedule a real, actual appointment at a convenient time just to find out that you aren’t able to schedule a date and time, just give them a time frame (ie morning, afternoon, evening) and they’ll call you “30 minutes” before arriving at your house. My husband was able to get us “an evening” which is defined by 4:30-8:30 on some evening at some time in the future… We didn’t know when. Last night when we got home, there was a tag on the door that they had come for an inspection. Neither of us got a call, they just showed up sometime during the work day. Brad called them and explained that they never called, had they called him he could have been home and the inspection would be done… wonder of wonders! They gave us a date… an actual date for the inspection! Like he’d asked for in the first place. Let’s see if we actually get a call now…

Have you noticed a recent increase in advertising that highlight excellent service as a benefit? The reason why is because everyone pretty much sucks at customer service, so companies that have truly good service have their different and better right there.

Rant Over.

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Best Friend of Big Brother?

The Utility Circus

You’re Doing It Wrong

Stop Scolding

As a person with a large medical team (six right now), a lot of time and careful planning goes into getting the medical stuff that I need while still having this wonderful thing people like to call “a life.”

Lately, I’ve been fed up with being scolded by medical office staff and emails from my pharmacy. Today I just need to vent.

Last year, all of my medical visits hit at the same time and I was completely overwhelmed by everything. Because of that and our insurance all of my visits needed to be spaced out. I looked at the state of my health and decided to push my annual exam back a couple of months. When I scheduled my appointment, I let the nurse know that I would run out of my current prescription a couple of weeks before my appointment. She assured me that would be fine and to just call their refill line and explain that I need an additional month to hold to my appointment. I thanked her and that was that… Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I got a voice mail from Debbie in my doctor’s office. I’m definitely paraphrasing but it said something like: We got a call from your pharmacy requesting a refill on your prescription. You haven’t been seen since February so we can’t refill your prescription unless you make an appointment. You need to call our office and make an appointment.

The message would have been fine if a few things were different: 1. If her tone were pleasant or at least not so freaking rude. 2. If she had checked to see my appointment on the books for May. 3. If she had left the office number instead of making me look it up. Read the rest of this entry

Best Friend or Big Brother?

People tend to get creeped out when they learn of stores tracking their shopping habits. Like when Target can predict a pregnancy. As a communications professional, I find these things interesting, but when I shared about it on my Facebook (a long time ago) a lot of people commented that tracking customer spending habits is “creepy” or an “invasion of privacy.”

In our culture we knowingly shop with trackable practices. We use credit cards. We use loyalty cards. We like free stuff. We like good deals. Why do many feel it’s gone too far to follow our habits and give us what we want?

I registered my Giant Eagle loyalty card online to start loading automatic discounts to my card for effortless grocery couponing. Not too long afterward we got a great set of personalized coupons in the mail along with a “rewards statement” tracking how much we’d saved on weekly specials, fuel perks and food perks. Each coupon was for something that we regularly purchase, like $1 off any produce or $1 off meat or cheese from the deli counter. There were six in total and the next time I was at the grocery store, I used five of them. We continue to receive coupons  based on our regular shopping habits and when I bought groceries on Tuesday I saved an extra $6 from these personalized offers.

We get free drinks at Starbucks because we registered our card and let them keep a log of how many drink we purchase.

There’s a mutually beneficial relationship in these sorts of programs. Stores can find out what they’re regular customers want the most or what hardly ever leaves their shelves. They can win over business by offering you discounts on products that you might need for the next stage of your life or for your next cookout. As a consumer, you can save money at the places you already shop and improve your relationship with their regular haunts.

Sure some tracking sounds like Big Brother, but does sending you coupons mean that companies are going to steal your personal information? Do loyalty programs mean that a store can control your actions?

No and No.

It’s a tactic for building better relationships because after all, Marketing 101 (103 if you took my Intro to Marketing class) tells you that it’s way less expensive to maintain a relationship with a customer you already have than to build a whole new relationship with a whole new customer.

The brands just want to be your best friend… or some sort of friend.

Still feeling a bit paranoid? Don’t want to be tracked? Then don’t use a loyalty card when you shop and pay with cash.

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Thanks Pam!

How can only two people shop at Costco?

Social Media + Customer Service = Starbucks Success

Feeling Left Out

I’m back on the customer service, good communication, former car dealership employee platform.

In late December, I traded in my car for a newer model. It wasn’t a stellar experience, but it also wasn’t horrible. Our salesman and the mangers knew that we were buying the car for me. My name was in the computer already because I’d taken my old car there for maintenance. Me, me, me! (Do I sound whiney?)

We’re even dressed alike!

The new car is in both of our names. My information was first on all of the paperwork. I drive the car every day. I keep the car clean. I will take the car in for scheduled  maintenance.

So imagine my surprise, when thank you emails arrived in my inbox, at an email address that is my name, that were addressed to Brad. I got phone calls on my cell number for Brad from the dealership. The card in the mail, the calendar, the junk they send…. all addressed to Brad (and only Brad). When we picked up my plates and registration, Brad’s name was first. (And they called him to report that the plates were in.)

Then to add insult to injury, I got “Happy Birthday!” emails for Brad, all throughout February. I have no idea why I’m surprised that with my birthday in two days I haven’t received anything addressed to me for my own car.

It’s probably something alphabetical, but it feels pretty sexist. I made the buying decision for this vehicle. I’m also the one deciding whether or not to return to that auto group for future vehicle needs and frankly, it’s not looking good.

The bottom line: Read the rest of this entry

My ears are still ringing

A couple of weeks ago, two pods in a row failed in priming. Halfway through the automatic priming process, they emitted their ear-splitting sound and the PDM said that insulin delivery was stopped and for me to change the pod. Umm? I was kind of trying to do that already.

I set the pods aside to call OmniPod when I had the time and patience. Then my PDM kept getting communication errors, even when it was two inches away from the pod. every time I retried it, it worked so I moved on with my life. It’s amazing how willing I am to just live with some inconveniences instead of pick up the phone.

Last night the other shoe dropped. My 21-hour-old pod, placed on my arm and being incredibly effective, decided to throw a tantrum. I was changing after work, pulling my sweater over my head when it went off (and getting ready to yank the painful Dexcom sensor out of my leg). I went back downstairs to find my PDM with the pod screaming all the way and driving the cats crazy. I ripped the pod off and put on a new one and decided that I could stick out the painful sensor awhile longer (it was being dead accurate, so why not?).

I called Insulet customer service and spoke to the nicest lady. She asked how she could help me and I explained that I had three different issues to talk with her about and we walked through each of my problems, resulting in replacement pods being sent to me next week and swapping out my PDM.

Why did I put off calling customer service?

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OmniPods in the freezer

Hiding

Wordless Wednesday: False Alarm

 

You’re Doing It Wrong

I shoo’d a very pleasant salesman (let’s call him Steve since I can’t remember his name) out of our office yesterday. He was selling pampering packages at a “newly opened” spa down the street at a very low price and only had three left.

I barely gave the man the time of day and actually felt a little bit guilty, but here’s why I sent him packing:

  • Last year a pushy salesman had to be kicked out of my office by my boss because he kept trying to convince me I needed a pampering package from a newly opened spa down the street… coincidentally the same package Steve was offering at the same location, but the spa had a different name.
  • Steve asked questions that no woman would say no to (except for me) like: Would you like to be pampered for 90% off? Who doesn’t need a relaxing massage? Those cornering questions annoy me, since they are asked to get me to crack open my wallet while exclaiming “I want that!”
  • Our building has a “No Soliciting” sign posted at the entrance, so I assumed Steve couldn’t read anyway.
  • Really? Only 3 left? I know it’s supposed to make it seem popular or urgent but I saw more than 3 package vouchers in the portfolio he fumbled with.

{Available on Etsy}

Seriously Steve, you’re doing it wrong.

Since Steve was so nice, I rushed him through his pitch and got him out the door in 2 minutes. He’s doing his job and probably lives on door-to-door sales so I wanted him to get on his way for me to get back to my job.

Sales people often get a bad rap and are viewed often as pests. That’s not an excuse for rudeness though. I try to be a nice person but found that simply being nice, wastes my time with salespeople. So I’m trying to cultivate a balanced nice, but firm, manner in which to send them on their way (quickly!).

Any tips or stories you’d like to share?

Related Posts:

What’s in a name?

When a customer has to tell you how to do your job

Small world syndrome

What’s in a name?

We’ve got a lot of letters in our name. We know this and try to make it as easy as possible.

I got incredibly used to saying, “With an E” right after giving my last name. So the transition to a just as distinctive name as Kerstetter wasn’t too difficult. For me.

The other day at the pharmacy I told the tech that I needed to pick up a prescription for “Kerstetter with a K.”

Technician: “Can you spell that?”

I slowly spelled it out. She goes digging through the bins.

Technician: “I’m sorry, you said K-U-…?” Read the rest of this entry

OmniPods in the Freezer

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OmniPods in the freezer

I will never again try not to be angry when my phone or computer give me little hassles.

I experienced my first PDM error with my OmniPod system. I kind of freaked out, but I followed the instructions to call Insulet customer support. The woman I spoke to was very friendly and walked me through the process of resetting my PDM. Even though the error screen told me to remove my current pod, I left it on to keep getting my basal until the situation was fixed. The whole reset and following pod change only took about 15-20 minutes, but it felt like a life time.

Am I going to have to inject the rest of today? I thought as I listened to Insulet’s automated menu. What if they have to send me a new PDM? I’d have to take Lantus, wouldn’t I?

A simple reset solved the problem and was less complicated than resetting my old car’s cranky stereo. I’m receiving a new pod to replace the one I had to remove, which is great. But it doesn’t really make a difference to me, because my insurance completely covers the pods. What makes a difference is that the pod I removed was about 1.5 days old, and still read as having 50+ units of insulin in it. The most expensive part of my diabetes care is insulin.

I was inconvenienced by having to change my pod at work, but I have my own office with a door so I had the privacy to change it at my desk and didn’t have to retreat to the restroom. I worried that I might have lost my blood sugar history, but it was all intact and my bgs were behaving when it happened so, overall I came out unscathed. Sure it was annoying to have to calculate my lunch bolus, but I used to do all of that manually before the pump.

Then more than 24 hours later, the pod starts alarming in the middle of the night in the kitchen, Read the rest of this entry

Cruises and a PR perspective

Awhile before the Costa Concordia accident/incident occurred, I had commented to my in-laws that I would turn down a job offer to work for Carnival Cruise Line’s PR department. They’re a cruise family (as are we) and we’ve at various points in time talked about the “what ifs” of one of the family working for a cruise line.

Sunset over the Atlantic

One thing that’s important to me as a public relations professional is that the clients I work with make plans, conduct training and generally take action to avoid problems, instead of crossing their fingers and hoping that some PR pros and customer service staff will clean up their messes. In my opinion, as a consumer, PR girl and cruiser, there is something wrong with Carnival Cruise lines. Read the rest of this entry

It’s the Thought that Counts

I’ve got to admit that I’m sick of hearing the raging debate about whether you should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” to people. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know we don’t want to offend people, but either way people are going to be offended.

There’s really no way around it.

Our Christmas card from last year

Yes, I celebrate Christmas. And yes, to me it’s a religious holiday.

If someone says “happy holidays” to me, I’m not going to jump down their throats about a “secular greeting” or reply “Merry Christmas” to them. They expressed to me that they want me to have a happy holiday season… so I take that as an all-in-one greeting to cover:

– Thanksgiving (yes “happy holidays” greetings start in November)

– St. Nicholas Day

– Advent season

– Christmas

– New Year’s Day

(And any of the holidays within this time period that I celebrate. There are several holidays packed in the November-January time period!) Read the rest of this entry