What business are you preparing for?

My parents live in Florida half a year.  After having spent most of their lives in New England there were large changes in expectations of service that came from the move.

One Monday they returned home from lunch out only to learn their cable was out ( all services phone, TV and internet) .  A cell phone call to the local provider resulted having to set an appointment with a technician.  The soonest appointment was Saturday between 9:00am and 12:00 pm (You know that service window that generally is a joke).  While not thrilled with the duration of the outage they took the appointment. 

  • Fail #1: 6 days for an outage that requires a technician at the house is a LONG time.  This was not an new installation. You would imagine that there is some inherent expectation of quicker repair for an existing service. 

Arrangements were made to hang around the house.  The service window came and went.  A call back into the cable company to check the status of the appointment only to learn that they were busy and would not make it out until early next week.

  • Fail #2: No call, no notification that the technician would be late or not able to make it at all. No call to reschedule (all the effort was on the customer).

The following week continued with the same style of service.  Appointments set and then blown off. Each time my folks were getting more and more aggravated.  

  • Fail #3: Letting a customer down once is one thing but 3-4 times really makes it look like you just don’t care at all. 

When the technician was able to make it to the house - some 10 days later, he learned that when installing the neighbors cable a technician had cut my parents.  He was there to swap connectors or cable boxes and was not equipped to handle this type of problem. He would have to call into the office to try and get someone out there as “soon as he could”.  Personally I think I would have had fire coming from my nose as I slowly began to self combust from anger right in front of him.

The technical was sympathetic to the duration of situation and was able to get someone out there immediately. 

  • Fail #4: It should have not taken a person onsite to have to call in a favor to get the process resolved.  I am convinced had that had he left and passed the ball to someone else on the team my parents would still be without service today.

A few weeks after the great cable cut was over the bill arrived.  It was the normal amount.  No credit for the hassle, no prorating the monthly service fee (since they only got 1/2 a month of service) no bonus stations for a month.  My father called to inquire about the bill only to get a response from the customer service representative “ Not much you can do about this - we are the only service provider in the area”.

  • Fail #5:  Failing to except responsibility for the initial problem. No apology, no offer of credit for the time without the service.  Customer service representatives that are willing to brag about the monopoly of their service. 

Things happen with businesses all the time. Generally people will be understanding of that of you keep them in mind.  But after a series of failures like this, when a new provider comes to the area what do you think will happen?

What business are you preparing for? Todays business or for the future of your business?