We recently had Google Fiber installed in our house. As a little backstory, our house is about 30 years old and has seen at least three different cable companies come through and run cables. To say our cabling was a rat’s nest is probably an understatement. The Google Fiber installation tech came in and quickly realized he needed some help. Instead of rescheduling, someone showed up within 20 minutes to help him. Both were extremely polite and professional. Did I mention that neither of them were an employee for Google? They were subcontractors and really represented Google in a professional way. Once they were done, the technician walked me through everything and made sure I knew how to use all of the new equipment.
Shortly after they left, I realized that one (out of many) of the network cables was not connecting. Not a huge deal since 99% of the house would be using the blazing fast wireless network. However, we do have an office that used a switch to connect equipment. I’d prefer for that part to be wired. I was not upset considering the mess the technicians had to work with for the installation. I scheduled a follow-up visit to get my issue resolved.
The second crew came in a few days to fix this issue. I was surprised when he said he was going to go through my whole cabling setup to confirm everything was good and to see if he could improve the initial setup. Again, very professional and courteous the whole time. While he worked on that, the other technician fixed my wired setup issue. Usually in these situations when a follow-up crew fixes a problem left behind by another crew, the “clean-up” crew may say some negative things about the first crew. Not these guys. They were very complimentary of the first group and really spoke positively about everything. They were excellent ambassadors for Google. I continued to get more impressed.
Later that night, we received an email from Google saying they were going to credit our account for the time we were without some of our service. I was astonished. An unsolicited credit to compensate for our problems. Frankly, since our wireless worked the whole time, we really were not inconvenienced by the issue. This is a great example of how a company can, and should, handle unfortunate situations that arise. Google really impressed me, especially for a company of their size. They have a great product, really strong ambassadors for their company, and, at least for us, very loyal customers.
This was a great lesson for me, as a business owner, on how to effectively provide a valued service, find the best ambassadors, and treat customers appropriately.
A few weeks ago I received a disconnect notice from my internet service provider for my business. We had an issue with a payment being applied to the wrong account (my fault) a few months before and, for some reason, they could not get it resolved. Because of this, my account goes into a delinquent status and I get this notice every month. I’m not sure about you, but I prefer not spending my time trying to resolve ongoing issues that should have been fixed. Having a little bit of a type A personality probably does not help this situation and being wired as a problem-solver really does not help. As I was dialing their customer service number I started getting into battle mode. What I was really doing was ensuring that this upcoming experience had very little chance of succeeding.
As I mentioned before, I tend to be a problem-solver. In this situation, I realized that if I started the conversation in a negative and defensive manner, it would force their customer service representative to react in a certain way. They would be trying to defuse my behavior as much as trying to defuse my problem. However, if I started out in a positive, problem-solving manner, it would allow us both to focus 100% on fixing the problem. If both sides are focused 100% on fixing a problem, the chances of success are much higher.
For most of my career, I have been deeply involved in service-oriented industries where excellent customer service is the standard. From firsthand experience I know agents will take the extra step or give a little more effort to customers that are positive and willing to work with them. I wish I could say that I take this positive results-oriented approach every time, but occasionally I let my emotions lead the way. I will say that the times when I create a positive mindset prior to engaging a customer service agent, my outcomes almost always are positive – for both sides. For me to expect excellent customer service, it’s only reasonable that I am an excellent customer.