Improving Customer Care

I believe that Disneyland has it right when it comes to fulfilling its goal to be “the happiest
place on earth.” In the many times I have been there, I have not been disappointed at the
experience. This is a key reason I keep returning, despite rising ticket prices that turn some
people off.

Let me compare my Disneyland experiences with that another provider I have used for
many years at my home.

This particular company communicates only when they send a bill. If you call them, you
have to listen to the various options that they believe you want to hear versus just saying
upfront, “If you want to speak to one of our customer service employees, hit zero.”

Because of this, I have given up calling them. Email? Forget it! I have yet to find an email
address for anyone at the company.

Prior to making this decision, when I did use the phone to reach someone, employees were
polite, but the follow through was poor. In my particular case after several calls and a visit
to their office, their follow through was non-existent.

Visiting their office is adventure. The company doesn’t like customers visiting, because
parking for paying customers simply doesn’t exist.

Once you find the location and park, you stand at the front door and are buzzed in, after
being given the once over to make sure you are not armed or dangerous.

The person greeting me in the small and not clean lobby treated me as if I was an
interruption of what appeared to be her nonstop coffee break and day long socializing. She

was not empowered to address my issue, so she summoned someone else to speak to me.

I stood in the lobby waiting. I noticed on the wall many plaques and awards. I looked at
these carefully. I determined that all of the awards were for sales results but I did not see
anything related to customer service or customer retention; apparently these key result
areas are not critical to this company. Perhaps they are measured but not rewarded.

After a short wait, someone came to see me, apparently surprised that a customer would
make the trek to their difficult to find office, hunt down and find a rare parking space only
to be buzzed into their dirty lobby to address an issue impacting a paying customer.

The woman I spoke with took two trips back to her office to check something. They had
made a mistake when entering my data into their system. I had asked for this service
provider to debit my checking account each month and had previously dropped off a
cancelled check for this revised billing arrangement. They ended up trying to bill a credit
card that did not exist.

When the first bill arrived and my checking account had not been debited, I called and was
told that I still had a credit balance and that everything was fine.

Two additional bills later, I knew something was wrong and made the investment of time to
visit and to get things straightened out, hopefully for the last time.

I’ll know on October 15th if they got it right. When I wake up on October 16th it better be or I
will make another trip down to cancel this service and find another supplier.

Customer service has five phases. The first is “Below Accepted Minimums.” The second
is “Meet Expectations.” The third is to “Exceed Expectations.” The fourth is to “Delight the
Customer” and the final step is “Customer Ecstasy.”

The gap between where I see this supplier and how they would rate themselves is huge. The
saddest part is not only that they don’t see the gap; they might not care that it exists.