Another rant on customer service

I love it when someone disagrees with me! David Shaw at the most excellent B or not 2B blog argues against my views on customer service, as I posted here. He says:

While Sue is right that it's a shame to be proud of promising minimal service,

the reality is that service these days is generally less-than-minimal. Just

getting the basics right is a big step up.

We'll just have to agree to disagree, then. Why on earth would anyone put up with less-than-minimal service from any company? He says the kind of promise that made me crazy the other day ("We answer our phones. We return calls. We show up for appointments") "would be a welcome relief. I'd make the call

and put the promise to the test" when it comes to home remodeling contractors he's dealing with.

OK, so those guys are kind of notorious for bad customer service. Does that mean we have to just put up with it? Doesn't rewarding mediocrity just lower the bar more? Personally, whether it's a hotel or an airline or a plumber, I expect more than a bare minimum of customer service--at least, if they want me to use their product/service more than once. Am I really that unrealistic to expect that someone I pay money to actually wants my business enough to do more than just answer the phone and show up on time? I don't know about you, but I'd be fired in a heartbeat if that's how I approached my job--and that'd be the right thing to do.

Funny, at the Pharmaceutical Meeting Planners Forum we held in March, the planners and suppliers alike agreed that, now that rules have curtailed the lavishness of what they can do, it all comes down to service. Excellent, personalized service is how suppliers land loyal meeting planner customers. That's how meeting planners in the increasingly competitive medical meetings field continue to draw doctors to their programs. That's why (I hope) you guys come here to read my babbling on face2face.

And that's why I am a loyal customer of Royal Flush Plumbing and Heating, who not only came out within a half hour on a Sunday night when our furnace went down, but also sent us a hand-written note afterwards to thank us for the business. There are good companies, good staff members, and good relationships to be had. Don't settle for less.

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