B's Take On Customer Service



My wife Bernadette has had to endure countless stories from me about customer service, and now fancies herself a customer service critique specialist. When she comes home from shopping, she relates some of the stories or tells me about events with her family. Here are three highlights.

Cousin Nancy's father died recently. Nancy called the Veterans' Administration to report that Harold was deceased and asked that the benefits be terminated. The "specialist" on the line told Nancy that he could not speak to her about her father's account - Harold would have to call in himself. "He's dead you idiot!" Nancy yelled - "he can’t call in!" Cousin Billy told his wife that she was using words that were too big - she shouldn't have used "deceased" and "terminated." Our government at work!



Bernadette went to a fabric / home good store to look for drapery weights -little, tiny weights you put in the hem of a drape to make it hang straight. She asked the clerk where she might find these weights. The clerk pointed overhead to the huge signs suspended from the ceiling, and said look in the "decker" section. Bernadette looked up to see a sign that said "Home Decor."

Bernadette, forever the English teacher, told the clerk that the word was "decor" derived from the French and pronounced it for her. The clerk said "whatever." No said Bernadette, it is not "whatever," it is "decor." - and if you're going to work here you should at least be able to correctly pronounce the names of the departments.

Our washing machine is a GE Monogram - roughly four years old. When we built our Florida house, we opted for a credit on the appliance package and upgraded to the Monogram series. The machine is operated by a touch panel across the top which lets you make the selection for water temp, size load, etc.

Last month, the panel gave out and the repair was going to be $278 for a new panel and a $100 service call. Bernadette wrote to the CEO expressing her displeasure over an appliance which lasted only a few years. Pretty soon she gets a call from an administrative assistant named Abby. Abby promptly and condescendingly tells Bernadette that she will "in good faith," comp the part and we will have to pay only for the service call.

Abby repeats that this is a "good faith" measure which she does not extend to all customers but is doing us this special favor based on Bernadette’s letter. "Good faith," Bernadette repeats - do you think I bought the washing machine in "bad faith?" Do you think I picked it out and said: "Gee, I hope this doesn’t last 10 or 20 years - I hope it breaks down in 4 years so I can have it repaired for almost $400. What the h--- are you talking about?"

Bernadette doesn’t have a lot of patience and does not "suffer fools gladly."

Here's a tip for you especially if you're on the wrong end of some "Poor Customer Service." Bernadette has had good results when writing letters to CEOs.

Her letters state her case and do it with a sense of humor which grabs the reader's attention. It's more than a complaint, it's a comic request for help.

If you have a customer service story you want to share with the rest of the world use the space below.



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