When Did the Definition of Customer Service Change?

In my previous posts I recounted my experiences with HP Customer Service. I thought it was an issue of training and systems with HP, but now I am wondering if my definition of Customer Service is outdated.

My son got into a car accident July 5th. We took his car to collision shop that is one of the preferred businesses with our insurance. I went in to sign some papers to allow them to do the work. When I talked to the Assistant Manager he told me that I was going to be dealing with John not himself, but that I was the customer and that I would be informed at every step of the process, even before the insurance company. That sounded great!

The accident was bad, and we were very lucky that no one was hurt. I was awaiting the call to determine if it was going to be fixed or totaled. When I had not heard from them on Wednesday, I called. I was told by someone, not John, that it would be fixed and be done on the July 17th. No problem.

I called again on the 18th since I had not heard back. This time I did talk to John and he said that they had just gotten the go ahead to fix the car and that the parts are on order. It would take 14 days to repair once the parts were in. On July 23rd John called to tell me that they received the parts and that every single one was wrong. The boxes all had the right part numbers but the actual parts in the boxes were for a different vehicle. He was going to work on getting the right parts and fast tracking the car through.

My son, getting anxious for his car, called on Friday August 10th and was told that his car was getting painted and that it would be ready on Monday.

Monday, I get my second call from John who asked if the air conditioner was working prior to the accident.

I called back and told him yes it was working. I also told him that I was not happy with the length of time it was taking to repair the car (6 weeks). He said that they were really busy with the hail damage. Why do they even try to make excuses! I asked if I could get a discount on the deductible, for the inconvenience and length of time that it was taking to get done. He told me that was illegal, but that he would call on the air conditioner part. If it would take a few days, we could pick up the car while waiting for the part. Note: I did find out that when making a bid (ie: to get a new roof) and having the deductible waived at that time is illegal. I was asking that the company pay a portion of the deductible in response to bad service. I think those are two very different things.

He never called back……….

I called the next day and talked to his manager. They were getting the part in the next day and he would call me tomorrow to tell me when I could pick up the car.

The manager never call me back…….

By 4:00 PM I called him. He said that the part they got in first was defective and that the new part just arrived, but it would take a few hours to charge up and would not be finished until after they closed. He would call me first thing in the morning to let me know when I could pick up my car.

Again…..I had to call him.

Finally, (six weeks later) it was ready. My husband dropped me off to pick up the car. I walked around it and checked it out. I then started it up, testing the air conditioner, heater….Everything looked really great. Put the car in gear and noticed that the airbag light was on.

Went back into the office, they said it would be another day!

The manager came out and wanted me to wait 5 minutes, he had contacted the shop up the street and wanted to take it there. It took 1/2 hour but the airbag light was properly reset.

The car is really beautiful. It runs well, rides well and you could not tell it had ever been in any accident. The repairs were excellent! My issue is that I was constantly having to call and check on the status. What happened to customer support where people call the customer to give them an update?

I just refinanced my home, same thing! I would call and check on the status. The guy was great and real responsive and would jump on what needed to be done. But if I didn’t call, he wouldn’t notice that there was still a piece of paper that needed to be signed or something he needed to get to underwriting. I know they are busy right now, but I felt like I had to write him everyday to make sure that we were able to close on the loan.

So, is my perception of customer service wrong. Has the definition changed so only the squeaky wheel gets support? I sure hope not, because being a customer is exhausting and just doesn’t pay enough.

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One thought on “When Did the Definition of Customer Service Change?

  1. It’s not all bad, WP Engine and Zappos spring to mind when I think about GOOD customer service.

    There is a big shift going on right now, over the last 60 years it has all been about the metrics, calls answered, resolutions per hour, etc. Now the more successful companies have moved their goals over to positive social media mentions, providing personal experiences, and points of contact, etc.

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