If 50% of the service was bad, would you still use it?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

I've been in one of those "hair on fire" periods in business where it's early mornings and late nights. I love the business, but it does wear you down. The one thing that has come out of being on the run constantly is I've interacted with a lot of people, and that brings me to my topic. People.

People can make a business, or they can break it. I have employees, and I need to hire additional employees, but I always hesitate. Why do I hesitate? Because you never know what you're going to get when you hire people. Interviews and referrals can only reveal so much. Right now, I have an incredible staff. In the past, not as much. 

Having this need has caused me to think about other businesses. In a conversation this morning, my office administrator and I were talking about our mutual experiences at a local business. I've had three in the past year. One was good, one was bad and one was neutral. How do I sum that business up? 

This week, I came to work and found that my Internet that was not working correctly. I called the provider, got a guy with a big voice on the phone, and he promised to have a tech out between 3-5 to find out what was happening. Awesome, and then nothing. No technician, poor Internet and a waste of three hours of my time. I left at 6:00 pm irritated.

Tuesday, my first call was to my service provider. This time, I had a young woman on the line. I explained to her that my company is highly dependent on the Internet, and my Internet was not working correctly. She was very compassionate, apologized profusely and looked into the matter. I explained that the man from the previous call set my appointment up for Monday afternoon from 3-5 with grand promises of making everything right. 

The woman searched the ticket and found that the man set my appointment for four days later between 10-12. I did make it clear that my company needs the Internet to conduct business. Four days was not going to cut it, so he set the 3-5 appointment for that day. Up until the time that the tech didn't show, I was pretty satisfied.

The young woman set things in motion, filed for compensation for my down time and set an appointment for 3-5 on Tuesday. She was delightful. Another woman called to confirm the appointment a while later. She basically called me a liar because the schedule showed that my first appointment was set for four days after my first call. I explained that the man told me something else. She again said, "Well, that's not what I'm seeing." 

The tech showed up a half hour early, stayed for more than an hour testing for problems. He had trouble finding the problem, but when he left, my Internet worked. He also was very nice to work with and very concerned about our situation. 

In both cases above, I had a good experience and a bad experience. One company has a monopoly in our area. A local business doing work over the web is pretty much stuck. Fifty-percent of that company's employees were rude, or flippant. The other company is one of many. That company would be easy to replace. In both cases, employees were the ones causing customer satisfaction, frustration or irritation. 

Personally, I rarely make a big production when I receive poor customer service, though I will confront it at the time, but what I typically do is disappear and spend my money somewhere else. If you're in business, you can't afford to have 50% of your employees offending customers. How would you approach the situations I highlighted? 



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1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

There's no legitimate excuse for setting an appointment on one day but recording it on the calendar for another day, 4 days later. 

Mar 09, 2018 03:21 PM #5
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Mike

Hmmm, sounds like the same issues I have experienced with an Internet provider, and others complain about as well.  It's bad enough when there is a mix-up to it sounds like just lousy customer service and not caring about it.  Unfortunately a good experience does not just erase the bad.


Mar 09, 2018 04:01 PM #6
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Simple, Fire 50% and replace, hoping they do better. If not, repeat.

Mar 09, 2018 06:05 PM #7
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Having lost internet myself in the past snow storm, I feel your frustration! In my case it was my family complaining for 2 days to fix it. So much for the younger generation so technical, none of them would fix it or call the internet provider. So I called and not getting a live person, they said leave a message and they would call back. About 3 hours later they called, but I was no longer home. So I asked a few questions and when I got home I fixed it! So to your point, if someone gives me 50% or nothing, I step in and do it myself!

Mar 09, 2018 06:11 PM #8
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

It may make you feel better to post a critical Yelp review whether it provides a long-term fix or not.

Call the provider back and ask for the local manager. Report your experience to the manager.

Mar 09, 2018 07:30 PM #9
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I'm like you, if I get lousy service I'll go somewhere else, if there's a choice.  When you have no choice it really sucks and you sometimes have to get agressive with them to demand better service.

Mar 09, 2018 07:34 PM #10
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Mike, check with your internet provider if they have some service like "Preferred", or "Boosted". They have different names to show some higher level of service guarantee. Sometimes it's $5 extra and totally worth it. Consistensy of service is a big challenge. Still, it's a human, and it's nice - AI assistants have been rated very highly, though.

Mar 09, 2018 07:48 PM #11
Mary Jo Quay
Remax Results - Edina, MN
I Move You Home

Customer service is the heartbeat of every business. I went through several website providers who sounded really smart, but their delivery wasn't. One provider asked if I'd like 80 leads a month, they guarantee it or you don't pay. The contract read 'traffic,' not leads.  Another one was really smart, they didn't have customer service, so I called the owner. Crick crick crickets. As long as there is competition, we can haul ourselves to the next one. 


Mar 09, 2018 08:05 PM #12
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Mike,

That must have been frustrating. In this area, we have the choice between bad & worse, so 50% is relatively satisfactory.

Mar 09, 2018 08:26 PM #13
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

My choices are dial up on ancient phone lines or Satellite Internet. My choices, like Dörte Engel's are bad and worse. One day last week service was out completely due to a snow storm. Funny, the satellite TV still worked.

Mar 09, 2018 11:45 PM #14
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Mike.

Rudeness has caused many of businesses to fail.  That along with lack of communication IMHO, is the reason people switch or quit doing business with a provider

Mar 10, 2018 02:26 AM #15
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Customer service is CRITICAL to keeping a business healthy. If I had a choice, I think I'd leave your service provider. It sounds as though the one woman who was extremely helpful and on the ball was the exception to the rule. 

Mar 10, 2018 03:37 AM #16
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I am going through this problem right now. You call the company and go through the recorded menu which seems like you never have the right information to continue. Then you have to wait on hold for a tech. They finally tell me I have a bad router. I need to buy a new one and it will be next week when it arrives. I asked if I could just go to their store which is nearby. Oh sure. We will send a tech out next week to check the outside connections.

I disconnect the router, go to the store, the rep looks up my account. Sorry, there is a tech scheduled to bring that to you next week, I can't give it to you now.

I could go on for hours with the woes I have had with internet providers.

They seem to have no concern for good customer relations.

I am in an area where I am stuck with just one provider. So what do they care. They know we need internet and they are it.

Oh, be sure to pay on time.

Mar 10, 2018 03:38 AM #17
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I look for excuses and blame and if found make decisions (bad) accordingly. If a wholesome out of nowhere event or circumstances kicks-in, I'll see that too

Mar 10, 2018 06:21 AM #18
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

I try to put myself in the shoes of the customer service operator.  They probably have to deal with tons of unhappy customers who tell them all kinds of crazy stories.  Tell them that they have a thankless job and probably deal with whackos all day long.

I would ask them two things.

"What would you do if you were in my shoes in order to get the problem fixed as soon as possible"

"If you aren't the one who has the power to get my problem fixed, who can you hook me up with in order to get something done?"


Mar 10, 2018 06:23 AM #19
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Mike, bad customer service is a pet peeve of mine. I'm like you and disappear if I have the choice to do so. I'm in a situation now where I'm locked in on a contract and it's downright ugly. I think one of the most frustrating factors is spending our time reaching out to companies like you mention above - paying for a service that isn't being delivered and then having to take time to fix it is the pits. I can relate on the staff front too - hesitating on adding more for the same reason. 

Mar 10, 2018 06:55 AM #20
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Hi Mike,
I have very little patience for poor customer service... and especially if they don't own their mistakes!  Why can't people just say "Sorry, there was a mistake made in scheduling."?  It's rarely a good thing when companies don't have any competition.

Mar 10, 2018 10:05 AM #21
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Like many before me, I get frustrated when dealing with a company that provides poor or unacceptable customer care.  The worst is when you are caught with an ONLY provider.  I will just MOVE ON if there is another choice.  If not, I (like you) have to suck it up and work through it with them the best I can.

Mar 11, 2018 07:44 PM #22
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

The sad reality is monopolies create the perfect environment for poor service. Aren't you glad real estate is not a monopoly?

Mar 13, 2018 05:06 AM #23
Deepak Chauhan
Versailles Property - Irvine, CA
Irvine, CA ... the place to be

50% of the weather reports are good/bad, we still consider them all

Mar 14, 2018 10:18 AM #24
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