Monthly Archives: July 2011

Good Customer Service: Advantis Credit Union

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me mentioning my credit union. I’m a rather big fan. They’re everything I’ve ever needed in a financial institution and they’re active on Social Media, giving me access to people, resources that you’ll never find from “banks.”

What’s better than that?

They took notice. You see, they’re understanding the value of making your biggest cheerleaders you biggest voice in the market, especially with social media. I wasn’t surprised when I received a message from their PR/Social Media people asking if I wanted to record a video testimonial on their behalf. Of course I was flattered and eager to do so.

The afternoon I spent with them resulted in two videos:
For their mobile access:

And for Fusion Checking:

(You can learn more about: Fusion Checking)

It’s no surprise that I’ve entrusted all my money to Advantis and I continue to be a proponent of their service, and their services.

In customer service, it’s important to listen and respond to those who are being your naysayers, but also to listen and ENGAGE your promoters. The engagement will show you’re listening and they’ll only sing your praises in an empty room for so long.

Thanks to the Advantis Credit Union team for letting me be a voice for your exceptional service.

Buy Local! Move Your Money!
http://www.advantiscu.org

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Feelin’ Fine…

Sometimes this is just how you feel.

There’s a Simpsons Episode for every moment. Please enjoy.

Spiraling

I’m not a control freak by any stretch of the imagination. At any given moment there is some sort of chaos in my life.

Explosion at 3:30AM
(Used under creative commons, thank you Royal Olive!)

Right now, I feel there is a lot of chaos. A little more than I’m used to. It’s little bits, here and there. Some days I’m swinging for the fences. Some days I’m holding on with two hands, one hand, or maybe just a pinkie. That’s not something I’m used to.

Breaking Point
(Used under creative commons, thank you Craig Damlo!)

It’s strange. For someone who is used to some semblance of order in his life, I’m having a hard time getting organized. I’m pretty used to standing on top of things surveying my kingdom, not standing in the valley hoping that wave doesn’t crash. I know the reality is that you just have to put one foot in front of the other and you’ll get moving in a forward direction, but it seems my feet are stuck in the sand.

In the meantime, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out. I didn’t mean this post to be such a downer, but it’s just kind of where I am at the moment. And those of you who read this blog regularly, know I’m not ashamed to share a little piece of myself.

skydiving over Pyla, Cyprus
(Used under creative commons, thank you Danceinthesky!)

Each day at a time, one step at a time. I know. Just have to keep moving, right?

Customer Service: Missed Opportunity

As has been mentioned quite a bit on here, I do a fair amount of online shopping. Sometimes I buy things on impulse and sometimes I buy two styles of the same thing to see which I like better. Often, I keep them both, but once in a while I return the items.

Companies don’t realize the opportunity they have when a customer processes a return. It doesn’t take much, an easy return, even if I have to pay for the return shipping, still can go long distances in the eyes of a customer.

One such opportunity flew by like a lobbed soft pitch to an All-Star player.

I bought some shoes online the other day, ordered my size, and one of two pairs didn’t fit. Sad. No biggie, right? Just needed to return the other pair. So, as the instructions led me, I sent the company an email asking for an RMA:

Pretty straight forward, “I have this item I purchased from you, and I would like to return it.” Heh.

This is the response I got from the company:

I’m sure, on the first read, you are asking yourself, “What’d they do wrong?” To almost any other person, you’d never notice the missed opportunity. One little thing could have made the difference here – USE MY NAME, I am not “Mr. Customer,” “Dear Customer,” or “Guest.” I’m Nick. I told you that in my first email.

Now, You’ll note I redacted the company’s name. I’ll still do business with this company. I’m not calling them out on the carpet, but as someone who has chosen to perform the function of Customer Service as a career, I recognize these small things that can go exceptionally far in building customer rapport and retention.

Repudiate or Reputation?

Reputation is based solely on public perception. You can say how awesome you are, how smart you are, how fabulous you are or how magnificent you are, but if you are perceived as anything less; it’s all smoke and mirrors.

I was privy to a discussion online recently where a person decided to rant about another individual’s use of Social Media. Now first and foremost, I’ve built a reputation where I tend to debate a side of an argument whether I agree with it or not. It’s just who I am. I like to argue any side as it forces me to see things from a different light. In this instance, I just felt that the passive-aggressive nature of the comments were uncalled for and I happened to personally like the target of this berating.

lightining
(Used under creative commons, an amazing photo thanks to Half-Blood Prince!)

So, doing what any good person should do? I said it was uncalled for and I stood up for my friend. I wasn’t arguing the merits of the disagreement, but the method of attack.

The nature of the “attack” was passive aggressive, yet pointed in its nature. I disagree with this method, and I set out to say so. This person was someone I admittedly didn’t know very well to begin with, but based on my interaction, is/was someone I don’t necessarily care to interact with in the future. And it was all done in Public.

And that’s all it takes:

Shattered Dreams
(Used under creative commons, and amazing photo thanks to Hollud!)

One interaction.
One Tweet.
One Status Update.

And everything you’ve spent so much time building online, gone, or at the very least, damaged.

While I have received an apology privately from this individual, I chose not to respond. I said my peace, publicly and privately when it happened. And I really didn’t care to have interaction beyond that. Social Media means that I’m certain we’ll end up in the same circles in the future, and I’ll remain cordial, but it’s not interaction that I will seek out.

I also find it pretty telling about a person who will call out someone in a passive aggressive manner, under that much ruckus, and doesn’t have the respect/decency/kahunas to say they may of acted foolishly in public, they only do it in private. I’m not sure what that really says about a person, but when it comes to perception, I get to have my own.

That’s just how the little bird squawks. 🙂

Guest Post: Customer Service is Easy, Just Do It Right.

Editor’s Note: I asked my friend Sarah to write this post as I heard about this experience on Twitter and felt that it was paramount to the things we all talk about within the Customer Service arena. Sadly the first company set and delivered on hesitant expectations. …And probably lost future business.

SCRTD - Del Amo Customer Service Center RTD_1119_13
(Used under creative commons, thank you Metro Transportation Library)

I’m a busy woman. I’m the secretary and the bookkeeper for over a dozen ministries at our denomination’s state headquarters. There is no time for inefficiency or incompetence. I’ve spent the last half dozen years honing and refining the processes that make my department work. That includes finding the perfect vendors from whom to buy our supplies. If I use a vendor once and they impress me, next time, I won’t waste time with other vendors. Similarly, if I use a vendor and they waste my time, money, or energy, they don’t get a second chance.

For six weeks of May and June, I administrate a youth camp for our denomination. With anywhere from 700 to a thousand kids from the age of 6 to nineteen, I don’t have time for games or hold-ups. The first of May, I pull out my old-fashioned Rolodex and pull out the cards for my tried-and-true vendors and begin ordering supplies.

At camp, we make name badges for each of our kids and staff. It’s usually somewhere around a thousand name badges, lanyards, and inserts that I have to order each year. I’ve used the same company for three years and never had a problem. I have a personal rep that works with me and on her Rolodex card, I’ve written the exact item numbers of the products I order. But this year, when I called and asked for my rep, I was told that I had been assigned a new rep. I wasn’t happy about that, but I knew exactly what I needed, so I didn’t think it would be a problem.

I was wrong.

My new rep was obviously a new guy. I say it was obvious because he seemed to be slightly hesitant and tentative throughout our conversation. I told him who I was and gave him my product numbers, expecting him to respond as his predecessor always had, thanking me for my order, telling me my total, asking me if he should process the credit card on file, and telling me how soon my order would arrive.

It didn’t happen that way. The new rep explained to me that they didn’t have my products in stock. I needed to choose another product. I wasn’t happy about that, but I was willing to discuss other options, so I asked him for suggestions of alternative products.

For a moment, there was silence on the other end of the line. Then, there was a little stuttering. And then, he offered me a product that was outside of my price range. I knew that my boss would balk at spending more money unless I gave him a very good reason and a great deal of assurance that the new product would be worth the extra money. When I asked the rep about the quality of the new product, he couldn’t tell me anything about it. When I pressed him about it, he got defensive and said, “Do you want them, or not?”

My first impulse was to tell him to keep his products and I’d find another vendor. But reality (and the calendar) told me that I didn’t have time to find another vendor. So, against my better judgment, I said yes.

It was a mistake. First, there was a significant error in my bill. Then, I received the email telling me that they didn’t have enough of the new product to fill my order. They would need to substitute yet another product for a third of my order. I called and grudgingly gave my permission for that. Three weeks later, when the final third of my order still hadn’t arrived, I called and learned that my new rep had neglected to place the order.

My personality is such that I won’t call the company and complain. And I didn’t. But the day I received a Customer Satisfaction Survey by email, I was brutally (but tactfully) honest and told them I didn’t ever intend to use their company again. Within an hour, they had called to apologize profusely. By the end of the day, the old rep I’d worked with for the last three years had called to apologize and given me her cell phone number so that I can call her personally for future orders.

I tentatively told them I would give them another chance. I hope I don’t regret that decision.

After camp ended, I received a phone call from another vendor. This one is one that I’ve worked with for all six years that I’ve been at my present job.
Pam asked me if I was going to need anything for a large event for families in August and I told her that I would. We discussed the materials I would need and I asked her when I could expect them to be shipped to me. Her response startled me.

“Actually, if you’re going to be in the office around 10:30 on Wednesday morning, I’ll drive down and bring them to you.”

I was stunned. And I was even more stunned on that Wednesday morning when she drove halfway across the state and arrived at my office ten minutes early with more materials than I had even requested. And the extras, she threw in for free. She spent about thirty minutes with me, answering questions and discussing the event so that she could see if there was any other way she could help me.

After Pam left, I thought, “THAT is the kind of service I want. THAT is the kind of professional I want to deal with. And THAT is the kind of professional I want to be.” She went out of her way to do her job with a personal touch and a professional flair that reflected well not just on her, but on the company. Next year, instead of wondering what vendor to use, I’ll look forward to pulling out my Rolodex and calling her. Actually, she will probably call me first, because she’s just on top of things like that. And that’s what makes the difference.

Why Do We Care?

I was talking with a friend recently and the conversation turned to their feelings about how they were going to be viewed by another group. My instant reaction: “Eff them.” If they’re too busy spending time judging you for your opinions to actually enjoy you as a friend, why would you give them the time of day?

This got me to thinking… Why do we give so much power to those who we want to consider friends? I mean, we can be considerate, that’s a given… But why do we constantly worry about how we’ll be viewed? Is that the driving force in our existence? I’ll admit, I probably worry too little about how the general world perceives me and far too much about how I want to project my “image.” Very often, I get into a mood, like today, where I would like nothing more than to live in a remote cabin, in the middle of nowhere, no internet connection, no television, just some good books and a notebook. I know it would drive me crazy, because I’m a people person by nature, but I would really love the disconnection, for a while.

I think.

Back to the aforementioned topic… Why do we care so much about how we are perceived by others? Why don’t we feel secure enough in our opinions to give them, regardless of “how we look?”

Just a thought.

Still, one of my favorite sayings, ever: “Fuck them if they can’t take a joke.” (Even if it’s not a joke. Sometimes you just have to make your feelings known, say or write what you’re thinking, from the heart or from the head, and those who agree or disagree will come and go as they please. Seeking approval will sometimes just drive you mad.