The Most Valuable Customer Service

How long will you wait on someone before moving on?

A couple years ago I had a fence put up around my property to keep the dogs inside, half wood to keep out nosy neighbors and half chain link so as not to obstruct the rear creek and common area. The wooden fences are still looking good, but the chain link was shoddy work from the beginning. The pit-bull escaped a week after it was installed. We went back and forth with the company, finally settled on a temporary fix, and things were generally going well until my largest dog, a Labrador, decided he too was going to exploit the vulnerabilities of the chain link. Clearly, a permanent solution was in order.

I began calling around for estimates. A couple representatives called back within 48 hours. One of the companies called back two weeks later, and in a couple cases, the companies never called back at all!

It makes no sense. I can certainly understand a company having too much work to take on new customers, but even then courtesy dictates you call back a prospect since there will come a time when new customers are welcomed.

One of the best things you can do to set yourself apart from others is to promptly get back to someone when you said you would. It’s so simple it’s insulting, but asking a caller to leave a message with a promise you’ll get back to them as soon as possible really means you need to return the call as soon as you are able. The same is true of e-mails. If you’re currently swamped, say as much, and let the person move on. It’s as much about prompt courtesy as it is about accountability.

At the time of this writing, I’m still looking for a good company to fix the fence and keep my canine pack where it belongs. Those companies that get back to me the quickest are most likely to earn my money. The more emphasis they put on prompt and courteous customer service, the less emphasis I’ll be tempted to put on pricing. Good customer service can often be worth the extra cost.

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