Thursday, October 1, 2009

Where did customer service go?

My husband and I recently purchased a remodeled house. It was built around 1930. So it's reaching eight decades of service. Cosmetically it's a great house, but there are a few "bone" issues we want to fix.

Enter into my life contractors, bidders and workers. And, a few headaches.

I lamented Wednesday about an 8 a.m. appointment that was late. It turns out the company schedules workers for a two-hour window. When I inquired about the delay, the clerk immediately put me in my place. "Oh, we schedule from 8 to 10 a.m. And, then they call you before they arrive."

"I didn't know that. We discussed they would be here at 8 a.m."

"It doesn't work that way," she said and rattled off their policy again explaining that I clearly had no room to complain, because that is their policy.

Some people get angry in traffic. I do not. Some people get angry in the grocery store. I do not. Some people get angry about customer service. Bingo! That's me.

I complained again to the clerk. I didn't care how many times she explained the policy to me in this moment, because she had not explained the policy to me when the appointment was made. I understood her point clearly. She didn't get my point.

"OK, so we just didn't communicate very well," I snapped.

"Do you need me to cancel the appointment?" the clerk asked.

Ah, the reality check. She had all the power. I could either wait or cancel. I waited.

When the gentleman arrived to give me an estimate, I explained my agitated state after the phone call. You know what he did? He explained their policy about the two-hour appointment system, too. He said the calls are recorded, so he could listen to it to verify his company's statements to me.

I laughed to myself. Will they call me back to tell me I'm wrong? This company schooled me twice Wednesday in their policy. A policy that I still don't recall being told about during my initial call.

Instead of lecturing me, you know what I wanted to hear as a customer? "Sorry for the confusion."

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