Customer Service – Is There Such a Thing Anymore?

I saw one of those infomercials for a kitchen gadget that  I thought would be a nice addition to the other gadgets we have around the house. Being the engineering type though, I wanted to research the details of the product so I went onto the Internet and downloaded all the manuals for all the models they had.

With a penchant for the biggest and the best I was enamored with their top of the line product. In my moment of weakness I pulled out my credit card and began to order it on-line only to find that they were out of stock.

I called the phone number that they gave on the TV to see when they would have stock. I got someone who seemed to only recite a pre-written script. I tried to explain to her that I wanted to know when they would have stock on the particular model I was interested in. This completely through her off course and she began to recite the prices and deals for their other models.  Totally frustrated, I emphasized that I was only interested in the one specific model. She then gave me another number to call (it was not a toll free number by the way). Their focus seemed to be more on selling, not servicing.

Calling that other number I was given, I got another script-reading person who could not get out of the loop of asking me what replacement part I wanted. I did not bother to ask her to transfer me to someone that could answer my question. That finished it for me. With such poor customer support I was not buying anything from them.

Being in customer service myself, I have a biased expectation. My company EXAIR’s business is based on being able to help the customer promptly and succinctly. As Applications Engineers we need not only posses technical expertise, but have the ability to listen to the customer and in our mind’s eye, visualize their application and how our equipment or some other alternative would be best applied. 

The downside though, is that I’ve come to expect that same level of customer service in my personal business relationships, only to be disappointed most of the time.  The upside is that I have the opportunity to work for a terrific company that provides terrific customer service and the satisfaction of having been able help to so many people solve their industrial problems.

Joe Panfalone
Application Engineer

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