Maybe it’s the holiday season, or maybe it’s just the rare sense of appreciation I felt when I noticed the missing number on the monthly invoice. An epiphany even! This company actually wanted, appreciated, and knew how to retain my business.
Moments earlier, after wrestling with a 300 pound Sumo telephone menu system, and after too many wasted minutes waiting to speak to a “representative”, my final conclusion was that I really needed to find a more responsive insurance company.
Consumers waste millions of hours annually punching numbers into keypads, just hoping for the opportunity to scream “representative” at the top of their lungs out of terminal frustration. Yes Virginia, the last thing most companies want you to do is actually speak to a person.
If I were really cynical, I might even theorize that the larger companies purposely place their dullest, rudest, and most aggravating employees in their service departments. Companies that once had golden reputations now resort to nickel-and-dime service fees that they hide fraudulently on their statements, unfair late-charge practices, and exorbitant credit card interest rates.
Someday I hope to call a major company and speak to a real live person with the ability to get me to the person I need to speak with, without ever listening to a menu.
So let’s all take a minute to show our appreciation to those businesses and professionals out there who don’t torture us with telephone menus and rude employees. Let’s give a firm pat-on-the-back, a written standing ovation, even, to those we have done business with lately who remember what fair, and personalized service is all about.
Please, limit your praise to those you deal with infrequently, where you are not the big customer. And, if you can use services provided by the two companies I mention below, please do so. If we all take the time to find the merchants, professionals, service providers, and general good guys in business out there— well maybe, we’ll convince some of the others to get their heads back on straight.
Vision Payroll is located in Leominster, MA and I forgive their employees for being Red Sox fans. I have no clue how big or small they are, but a friendly and helpful human being answers the phone whenever I call.
Yesterday I realized that my payroll package had not arrived on time (maybe the first time in the four or five years of our relationship). I called; they investigated. They called, took the blame for what was probably a misunderstanding from a conversation a week earlier, and overnight packages to three locations for an on time, no problem, payday.
I am perhaps their smallest client, but they charged me not for anything— not even the normal monthly fee. Not a lot of money, but a wealth of business character.
ImprovementsCatalogue is an Internet Marketing Company located in West Chester, Ohio. Yes, they have a telephone menu, but in the height of the Holiday Season, when our brand new “pop-up” lighted Christmas tree was flawed out-of-the-box, they were mounted on their white horse, ready to save the day for the grandchildren.
One section of lights wasn’t working, and we certainly could have dealt with it.
With a wink of an eye and one little phone call, the real live elf at the end of the line arranged for pick up and delivery (still at the sale price of yore). Our living room was seasonally aglow again in three business days— shipping and handling included.
Let’s all try to spread the idea that smart business practices and true personal service are valuable. Businesses like these deserve recognition— and our patronage. Think about it. Most of the companies you deal with really tick you off— don’t they.
sanserve (at) aol.com