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?