The Downside of Working in Customer Service

Having worked in a Customer Service/Technical Support/Call Center environment for over 15 years, I developed a certain level of expectation of Quality of Service. You see, when I worked as a service provider, I held myself to a high standard and put my customers needs first. If the customer wasn’t happy, the issue wasn’t resolved. If you have one happy customer, they tell 10 people about their experience with your business. If you have one unhappy customer, they tell 100 people about their experience with your business.

As a customer, I expect service providers hold themselves accountable just as I did. I expect them to keep that bar of Quality of Service just as high, if not higher.  Sadly, I am disappointed more often than not.

Wednesday, Blackmon Mooring was out to clean our air ducts. They showed up on time, told me it would take about an hour. It took about 2 hours. In the process, they removed the air filters and threw them away (they needed replacing anyway). But they didn’t ask me ahead of time if I had replacements. I didn’t. Nor did I wish to purchase any from them. I now had to make a special trip to Home Depot. So I had the guy write down the measurements for me. I wasn’t happy about this, but I let it go. Why clean the air ducts if you’re just going to suck dirty air filter dust back into them, right? :: shrugs :: Oh…. and this put me climbing on a ladder to replace an air filter up in a vaulted ceiling. Yes, I could have waited for my husband to get home, but damnit, I can do it myself. :: grr… ::

Upon leaving, I notice they left one of the moving pads behind (they had spread it over the bed when cleaning the air duct in the bedroom). I figured they’d notice this and come back. These aren’t cheap. Last contractor we hired to work on something at the house left a toolbelt behind. He called within 30 minutes and came back to pick it up. I waited.

My husband came home and noticed two large screws on the bedtable. They looked like the came from one of the vents. We went through the house. We found the vent they came from…. the AC vent in the den…. very high up, with the vaulted ceiling. It appears it was just placed in, no screws at all. So I get to call Blackmon & Mooring the next morning.

The very next day, I call B&M. They don’t pull the file up by address. They pull it up by phone number. Everything is under my husband’s cell phone number. But I need them to call me back, not him. So I leave a detailed message of what happened, what was left behind, and what’s incomplete. I leave my cell phone number. I explain that I have things to do today and ask when I will get a call. I’m told someone will get with me this morning. I wait…. I wait….. I call again at 11:30am. I reach someone else who has record of my call, but not my cell phone number. She spouts off my husband’s cell phone number, and our land line (which I have blocked for incoming calls except for about 20 numbers of people we know…. this is how we avoid telemarketing calls). I am furious! Can’t these people follow the simple instructions I left in my previous message? I told her I’ve been waiting all morning and had things to do. I left a valid phone number, which I’ll be happy to leave again, and please note that all other numbers she has on file are invalid. She offered to transfer me to the person I need to speak with. I asked if that person was there or if I was going to get a voicemail. She didn’t know. I told her not to transfer me. She took my information and said he would call me back. Amazingly enough, after I went into “customer-from-hell” mode, I got a call from their service manager, who apologized, saying he left two voicemails earlier. I told him if his agents gave him the correct phone number, he would have called me and not my husband, and he wouldn’t have received a voicemail. At this time, I’m on my way out the door. I’m tired of waiting. Can you be here at 4:00? Yes, he said. Good, I said.

That’s incompetent contractor #1.

Incompetent contractor #2….

We’re looking at remodeling our guest bath. Someone my husband knows recommended Absolute Paint and Remodel. So I called them on Tuesday morning, told the guy we need a consultation appointment to discuss options and costs. Compare cost of a complete remodel vs. partial; etc… He said he would call me back that day. Two days later, no word from the guy. So I called him back yesterday morning. This is how the conversation went:

Incompetent Contractor: “I was thinking about coming over on Sunday afternoon.” 

Me: “I called you two days ago. I’ve been waiting for a callback to confirm a consultation appointment.”

Incompetent Contractor: “Oh, yeah… I was going to call you this morning.”

Me: (thinking to myself…. it’s already 10:30am…. just when were you going to call me??) “Let me check my schedule on Sunday…. I have some time in the afternoon. Is 1:00 ok?”

Incompetent Contractor: “Well, I need to give you a window.”

Me: “Ok. What window are we looking at?”

Incompetent Contractor: “I need to call you back on Friday morning so I can give you a specific window.”

Me: ” :: sigh :: Ok. Please call me as soon as you can on Friday, so I can plan my day accordingly.” (thinking to myself, this guy isn’t going to call me on Friday at all.)

Incompetent Contractor: “I have a window from 12:00 – 3:00. Will that work?”

Me: “Yes. Thank you.” (thinking to myself, wow…. first you don’t have a window, now you do? WTF?)

I fully expect this guy to no-show on me. Or to be late. Or to call and cancel at the last minute. I’m definitely looking for other contractors.

Oh, and B&M? They’re back again this morning to finish up on the AC vent. Evidently it’s more than just a matter of having a “screw loose”. The vent is no longer flush with the wall. They have someone out to fix it, so it will mount properly and screw into the wall. He was supposed to be here between 9:00 and 10:00. It’s 10:16am. He just got here.

Update: OMFG!!! It just gets better! Now I find out the B&M crew unscrewed the vent but couldn’t get it off, so this one vent never got cleaned! I paid full price and still have one vent that never got touched! :: grrrr ::

Updated Update: The guy that came out today could have just left after seeing what was wrong and determining it was a “pre-existing condition”. He didn’t even go there – never mentioned it. Now that I have another moment, we have another update…

The same guy has expanded the opening so the vent will properly fit. He’s set an appointment for next week so another crew can come out and finish the job. We don’t have to pay anything for the work he just did to make the vent fit. He was embarrassed that the crew never said anything about not cleaning the vent, and he’s been so apologetic about the whole thing. He was more concerned that the original crew never said anything about this vent in the first place and led me to believe everything had been cleaned properly.

Now we get to deal with them one more time, next week, and we’ll be done.

I’m still hesitant to recommend Blackmon Mooring. I’ve only had this one experience with them, and I’ve ended up in “customer recovery”. This one guy here today isn’t so bad. He’s like that one person you deal with that really cares about the customer in an org that doesn’t necessarily give a damn, y’know? I’ll just be glad when this entire ordeal is done.

He did say he’d request they send a different crew next week. At least I won’t have to deal with the original crew who messed up the job in the first place.

One thought on “The Downside of Working in Customer Service

  1. Yeesh. Definitely bad customer service. When I had to replace my AC, I called three different companies to bid the project. One didn’t show up at all, a second acted very unprofesionally. Only one showed up on time. Guess who I went with.

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