Sunday, February 22, 2009

What happpened to Good Customer Service?

I spent the better part of a half hour on the phone the other day with a representative from Panasonic because I was having a problem with a bath exhaust fan that we installed in a client's home. I was totally expecting to get the run-around so when I finally got a human on the phone I immediately asked if I could speak to someone who was very familiar with these bath fans because they make so many different products. The last thing I wanted was to speak to some guy in another country who had no idea what I was talking about. As luck would have it, that's what I got. He spoke broken English and what should have taken 5 minutes took closer to 15 minutes after we got everything squared away. The bottom line was he could not help me and all he could do was establish a case # so someone more qualified could get back to me with help. Well, that was 8 days ago and do you think I have heard back from them yet? What has happened to good Customer Service?

I know I/we are not perfect in our business when it comes to customer service. When a problem arises we make it our priority to address the issue as soon a humanly possible. I am sure that Panasonic genuinely cares about their customers but I am not sure they are committed to finding the best way to satisfy them when a problem arises. It was hard enough just to get a human on the phone. It seems as though all these big corporations are concerned about is finding the cheapest country to handle the staffing needs. Here is a cool website that has phone numbers so you can reach an actual human being at most large corporations.


I experienced a different kind of poor customer service yesterday as I ate lunch at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. We paid our $17 each to walk in the door and after dealing with the rude coat room woman, we headed for the cafe to eat. It literally took us about 3-4 minutes before anyone greeted us at the "wait to be seated" sign and the young woman who greeted us took her sweet time walking over from whatever she was doing before that. It just looked like she was doing us a favor by greeting us to show us to our table. Now, when you are seated you typically expect to be met by your wait staff within a couple minutes at the latest to place your drink order. There had to be 3-4 waiters that passed us by for over 5 minutes without so much as eye contact just to acknowledge our presence. We felt ignored and I spent the next few minutes stewing over the fact that nobody was paying attntion to us. What happened to good customer service? Although the food was excellent, I left with a bad taste in my mouth.
This experience was thankfully not repeated later in the evening when we visited Bella Vista restaurant on Hanover St. in the North End. These mom and pop establishements truly get it. The husband and wife team that treated us to a delectible diner catered to our every need and made us feel like we were the most important customer they had that evening. It was a refershing treat and they had the most amazing lobster my wife ever had. Truly worth the visit.

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