Customer Service
Rants And Raves



Truth be told, my wife Bernadette, doesn't enjoy flying. In fact
she'd rather drive two days to avoid flying 2 1/2 hours.

So when my niece Kate sent us a wedding invitation to Pittsburgh
we immediately got the maps out and plotted our way from Sarasota
to Pittsburgh.

While I'm not the most observant person on the planet, I do pay
particular attention to customer service or the lack of it.

Here are two quick tales with 180° of separation.

First the rave. On the trip Bernadette's new iPhone wasn't
working. Well, she could do everything except hear or be heard
when she was doing the calling. Aside from this everything else
was okay with the phone.

As soon as we got to Pittsburgh we located the nearest Apple
store.

We opened the door to the store and were immediately blown away
and impressed by the customer service and the attention to detail
provided by the Apple staff.

There were 16 employees and each person was wearing a blue shirt.

There were three greeters. B - explained what her problem was.
The greeter, using an iPad, scheduled an appointment with one
of his technicians.

Everyone seemed to be positive and energetic. I had this weird
sensation that they actually liked their products and the store
they were working in - you don't see that often.

When it was our turn, the Apple Technician, asked several questions
and did a couple of diagnostic tests on the iPhone.

The verdict was a malfunctioning headset jack which was interfering
with hearing and being heard when using the iPhone.

The technician said he would be happy to replace the iPhone at
no charge.

It was truly a memorable experience.

I remember being at Macy's a week earlier and having to search
for a sales clerk to ring up our order.

The Apple staff oozed energy.

The Apple store solved our problem.

So I'm wondering, why can't every retail experience be like the
Apple experience we enjoyed?

It's probably because, in most companies, management doesn't get
it or they just don't care enough to offer a customer service
experience that exceeds all expectations.


Now the rant. Next it was off for a light lunch because we had
an early dinner reservation with friends who spend their summers
in Pittsburgh.

We decided on the Cheesecake Factory.

It was a mob scene. Their business was obviously booming.

B ordered a burger and I ordered chicken wings.

When my wings were served, it didn't take too long to be
disappointed.

After one bite into the first wing I could see it was bloody
rare. So I took another careful bite out of the second wing
with the same undercooked and bloody results.

We waved to our server, who after seeing the condition of the
wings quickly apologized and said she would send the manager
to our table and also ordered every placement order of the wings
for me.

Okay - stuff happens. I say, when you have a problem fix it ASAP.

So the manager came to our table. He said his name is Chuck.

He was either delusional, stupid, whacked out on drugs or just
the most incompetent person alive in Pittsburgh that day.

I know you're thinking I'm being too severe in judging his
incompetence.

What would your reaction be if Chuck told you the wings won not
undercooked. They were perfectly okay to eat because all their
wings are cooked twice.

He went on to explain that what we saw was just the harmless
bone marrow in the wings.

I looked at B. She looks at me.

We couldn't believe he offered this lame excuse as a rational
explanation.

How could he be so stupid to think we were so stupid to think
the wings that were bloody rare were edible?

It's true when you say hindsight is 20/20.

What I should have done was get a Cheesecake Factory menu, the
bill, and use my iPhone to take a picture of everything including
the bloody rare chicken wings.

But I didn't and all I have now is another example of dreadful
customer service.

Look, if you screw up, fess up and make things right.

How many times a week are you experiencing customer service that
exceeds your expectations?

If you want to get sales up when the economy is down every
service provider should be trying to exceed customer service
expectations.

When you think about customer service rants and raves there is
really 180° of separation.

I'm looking forward to going back to the Apple store again. I
would of course consider going back to a Cheesecake Factory
restaurant if they were the only restaurant that was open in
the mall.






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