I contribute a weekly column to the Platte County Landmark under the “Rambling Moron” name. It’s a great Northland Newspaper and well worth a subscription. The following is an copy of my article which appeared in the 7/22/12 edition – printed with permission.
Customer Service Isn’t Dead
Every once in awhile you see it. Just out of the periphery of your eye. You see it flashing by. To some, it’s a white whale. To others it’s a unicorn, or maybe a leprechaun. Maybe it’s a triple rainbow.
Regardless, it’s rare and almost never happens.
To me, that rare experience happens to be good customer service. It’s a dead art. The act of going the extra mile for someone, not just because it’s what I’m paying you to do, but because it’s important to make sure someone is taken care of 100%.
But then, it happened… out of the mist…
Let’s start at the beginning. Two years ago, my wife and I (actually my brother did 99% of the work, but I take credit for it) remodeled our split-level home and added a bedroom and a bathroom to an attic space. That space turned into our Master Bedroom and we love it. The only downside is that for two months in the summer it becomes the seventh circle of hell. The ambient temperature is approximately the same one you’d cook a casserole in.
Our little air conditioner just doesn’t pump enough cold air up into the room. So we bought a portable air conditioner that ran for a total of two days before we lost all electricity in the room after hearing several loud “POP’s.”
Being the shrewd electrician I am, I knew that POP is bad. No lights are equally bad. Okay, that’s the extent of my electrical knowledge.
I did know enough to know that it would be seriously expensive. Not knowing a qualified electrician, I resorted to (first finding and then opening) the phone book and picking someone. I picked a place called “Mr. Electric” and knew that the decision might cost me thousands of dollars.
What happened next was both rare and unexpected. A feat as rare as finding Bigfoot.
Zack came out to the house, diagnosed the issue, fixed it and was out of the house in a total of 90 minutes. He was personable, cleaned up after himself, charged only $200, showed me just how close we got to burning down our house and then educated me on how to prevent the situation in the future.
Oh, and he got our air conditioner running.
Wait. No upcharge? No “special delivery fee”? No “I helped you, so I’ll just add $300 onto the bill for no particular reason charge?” No. There were none of those and I’m fairly sure that he did some work he didn’t put on the invoice – or at least didn’t charge me for.
Is this what it was like in “the olden days”? When you went to a Five and Dime and got a two licorice whips for a penny? I wasn’t expecting this.
Maybe there’s hope for those receiving services yet. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go call the phone company about my bill.
(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed. He hosts “The Kansas City Baseball Vault” Thursdays at 6 p.m. on ESPN 1510. Reach him through his web site, ramblingmorons.com)