Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Customer Service Is Not Dead

Today my carpool buddy, Kim, and I had an adventure that restored my faith in customer service. I've had recent dealings with companies where customer service was severely lacking or poor.

This morning started off good we were both on time at our meeting destination and looked like we were going to arrive in record time at work. We chat about our evening adventures like we do every morning when all of a sudden we hear this loud noise. Kim asks if that's us making the noise and I think it's the person behind us riding the bumps on the edge of the road. The noise gets louder to the point where it sounds like a helicopter is hoovering directly over our vehicle. We pull over and it turns out we have a flat.

No worries about the flat because Kim's car is equipped with Onstar Emergency Service. She calls and we're informed that they will contact the police and a wrecker service. We sit to wait for the automated call from the wrecker service and find it funny that after 15 minutes no one has stopped to offer help. The phone rings - the wrecker will be there in an hour and a half!

Another call to Onstar - is there any other wrecking company that we can use? No, that's the best time we can get for you they reply. Of course, we could call someone else but then Kim would have to pay the service and this fix is covered free of charge by the warranty on the car. Meanwhile still no police have arrived.

As we sit there reading "Life's Little Instructions Volumes II and III" a gentleman in a white van stops to offer assistance. We reply that's okay we have a service coming. Another call to Onstar to let them know that the police have still not arrived. We find out that an onlooker had called the police to let them know about us being stranded but told them we were 5 miles further north. Ahh, restoration of some faith in humanity.

It's now about 7:15 a.m., we've made calls to our bosses and others in our departments at work to let them now we'll be running late. We watch and a semi tractor trailer pulls off the road in front of us. Perhaps he's going to offer assistance we say. Then in the rear view mirror my carpool buddy sees a white van from Cadillac Hennessy pull up behind us. Hey, that's less than an hour and half we say.

Kim gets out and graciously declines the offer from the truck driver to help change the tire. (I wish we had gotten his company's number.) We return to the technician from the Cadillac dealership. He graciously shows us how to open up the spare and we have some idle chit chat. We mention how we were on time for work and then we got the flat. He says he was on time too and then stopped. What?? We ask him you mean you weren't the person called by Onstar/GM? No he says he saw us and just stopped. His name is Paul.

He not only changes the tire he also agrees to take the flat to Hennessy for it to be fixed and then later reinstalled on the car. Kim provides him with some money for breakfast and we thank him for stopping to help us.

Paul definitely follows the simple truths of service that is shown at this link. (A link that Kim provided me.) He is getting a reward because after such great service above and beyond what he's required to do, Kim made sure to contact his boss when we arrived at work today (much earlier than had we waited for the original wrecking company). Ahh good deeds are rewarded.

Kim and I have now vowed that when we see a stranded motorist on the side of the road - at a minimum - we will call to make sure that helps is on the way if it's not safe to stop and lend a helping hand. Let's all vow to be like Paul and the world will be a better place. Extra blessings from God to you Paul.

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