Don’t be Stupid: A Customer Service Train Wreck

July 28, 2010 at 7:08 pm 2 comments

Don’t be stupid. 

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a mother sent an offspring to camp for the week. Realizing that the offspring had forgotten  a medication, the mother delivered the medicine to the camp office at 10:30 a.m. , noted the next dose was due at 4 p.m.,  and was assured, somewhat abruptly, that “We’ll get it to him.”  At 10 p.m. that night, via text message (because kids don’t talk, they text) during the only free time at camp, the offspring noted he had not received the medication, but would stop by the camp nurse the next day.  At 10 p.m.  the next night the offspring noted that the nurse didn’t have the medication, but that “some unknown Resident Assistant” had it.

Calls to the camp the next morning by the now somewhat concerned mother resulted in two voicemails which were never returned, and one person who said they’d look into it and reported that they had left voicemails for other staff, implying that the problem was solved.  The response to the mother’s concerns that the medication was overdue by two days was “Oh yes, this is a teachable moment for the Resident Assistants.”  The somewhat agitated mother requested that Ms. “Teachable Moment” leave additional voicemails to the staff, instructing them to notify her immediately when the medication was delivered. 

A few hours later, with no response, agitated mom called additional staff numbers (the camp prides itself on its accessibility to parents and gives multiple phone numbers) and got another voicemail and the residential coordinator, who seemed unaware of any of the previous messages.  The coordinator promised to ask about it at the staff meeting later that day and call the mom back. When no call was received, mom called again, was told that the medication was delivered within the last half hour and that the offspring had been paged both days, but “might not have been in.”

Don’t be stupid. 

  • Your customer’s or client’s problem is YOUR problem.  Fix it.
  • Saying something is fixed is not the same as fixing it.
  • Communicate internally and let the customer know.
  • Going through the motions doesn’t count. You have to actually accomplish something.
  • A customer’s problem trumps “teachable moments.” Don’t even go there.
  •  It’s your job to go above and beyond expectations and fix the problem NOW.

Poor customer service destroys credibility.  No one wants to deal with an organization that appears either arrogant or incompetent.  And no one has to.


Entry filed under: Batavia IL, business growth, Business growth: strategies & tools, Business Strategy, Customer service, Fox Valley business, IL, small business.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Traci D. Ellis  |  August 11, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Oh boy! If I had the proverbial dime for every time bad customer service tale I could tell…I’m not sure why companies don’t “get it”. But you’ve hit the nail on the head. As entrepreneurs, it is our job to FIX the problem. As my teenagers say “don’t talk about it, be about it”!

    Great post.

    • 2. advantagebiz  |  November 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm

      Thank you for your comments!


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