Tale of two customer experiences

February 1, 2013

Today I had to tragically different experiences while out and about. The first was great, I took my car to Goodyear yesterday. I got an oil change and had them rotate and balance the tires. The rotate and balance were under warranty so there was no charge for it. But yesterday, while driving around afterward, I noticed a remarkable amount of vibration in the steering wheel. So this morning I went straight back to Goodyear to see if they could figure out what was causing it. I walked in, handed my keys to Brian and asked him to go drive it as there was an issue and I wanted him to tell me what was causing it. I already had a feeling it was an out of balance wheel but I wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing something.

Brian took my car for a test drive. Without missing a beat he came back, pulled the car into the garage and took the front wheels off to check the balance as he had felt the vibration. He came back into the waiting room to tell me that at least one of the tires was defective. He was apologetic but said he would make it right. He was surprised the tech from the previous day did not catch it. After checking the other tires he said that two more were defective as they needed too much weight in order to get them in balance.

To make the situation right he was going to immediately have 3 new tires brought over from the warehouse and have them installed. Those three tires would be covered by insurance, but I opted to replace all four. After spending a little time at Panera (it's close by) I got the phone call that my car was ready for me. I went back and Brian was again apologetic that I had to come back after having the tires balanced the previously day. He asked if I wanted to take a test drive. I told him no but that if I had any issues I would make sure to come back. He asked me to call later just to let him know if the tires had fixed the problem.

I went about my day (actually I was dealing with another problem I'll talk about in a second) and was at the house working in the garage when I received a phone call from a number I did not recognize. When I answered it was Brian on the line. It was several hours later but he was just calling to make sure that the tires were good and the vibrations had been taken care of. I said that it had and thanked him again.

Now at this point in time I was blown away. Not only did I go in to Goodyear with a problem but I went in with a problem that could have been seriously expensive. I went in with a problem but the service was so damn good I actually didn't mind that I had to change my day around to get it fixed. And to believe that Brian took the time and remembered to call me later in the day in an effort to go the extra mile just floored me.

Meanwhile, I am building a site for a very large company. If I said the name you would know it. But as part of this I am having to fill in a loooot of paperwork. Part of the paperwork was requesting information about my business checking account that I hold with Wells Fargo. Now, let me point out that at this time nothing is wrong. I just need some basic information. So I call my local branch. I get an automated system. I try and try to get through to someone. The most frustrating thing is that I would press the specified 0 to get to a live person. The phone would ring about 5-6 times and then I would get a message asking if I wanted to remain on hold. I pressed the button to verify that, yes, I did want to stay on hold (hoping it would only take a minute to get someone).

This is where it gets really frustrating...the phone would ring another 6-8 times and then the stupid flippin message would come on and say that no one was answering and to try again later and would hang. up. on. me....

Oh man the first time that happened I was absolutely not a happy camper. I called and called and called for about 30 minutes and finally got through to a live person. I explained what I needed and I could tell that she was a little confused. I could tell she was writing some things down and she said she would have one of the bankers call me when they freed up... OK. I get it. They are busy. At this point in time I was getting nervous though. I needed to turn the information in today and it was 4:30 and I was pretty sure banks close up at 5-5:30. So I asked if someone was going to call before they closed and she assured me that someone would.

So... at 5:25 someone had still not contacted me. All I needed was a contact name, to verify my home branch and to get something called a SWIFT number. So literally 5 minutes worth of stuff. I called at 5:25 and did manage to get someone on the phone that wanted to help. But I had to call. They did not follow through like they said they would. So not only did they not strive to be remarkable, they didn't even do the basics of what they said they would do.

Anyway, I just think it is interesting that I went to interact with one vendor and had a problem that immediately got turned into an awesome experience. Then I went to another that I just needed a few bits of information (no problem) and ended up with a massive headache.

So what is the lesson?

Address issues with your clients quickly. Listen to them. And then seek to quickly communicate what you are going to do to fix the issue they are having.

Things not to do?

Miss details like a phone system that purposely hangs up on folks. Tell them you will do something and then not do it. And in general, just regard them as something not worthy of attention.

My experience with Brian at Goodyear has me wanting to do business with them again and again. My experience with Wells Fargo has me contemplating going through the painful process of terminating my usage of their services. What will your clients think when they deal with you?