customer service

Great customer service. Its one of those phrases that you here all the time from all kinds of businesses; everyone touts their great customer service. But what is great customer service? Is it fulfilling the “customer is always right” motto or is it something more? Personally, I believe it is doing one’s best to solve whatever problem that the customer has, even if that solution is not what the customer originally asked for or doesn’t mean that they wind up making their purchase from your business. … Sometimes, getting the goodwill of the customer can mean more in the long run than actually getting that one particular purchase.

The other day, I got a phone call from someone looking to have a passport photo taken. Not just an


y passport photo but one for Canada (1) which has different criteria for their passport photos than the United States(2). It was kinda odd getting that particular call, I don’t advertise that I do passport photos, don’t even mention them on my website and being that I work on location, I don’t really have the setup to do them. Turns out the caller had been going down the list of photographers on a Google search and I was the first one who actually picked up the phone. Now what does that say about the priority of customer service of all those photographers he called before getting me? Unfortunately, I did have to turn him down since I don’t have the setup to take and print to the criteria needed, however I did leave the call with the offer that if he was not able to get someone, I would figure out something at the price that I did headshots for. Hopefully, he may think of me in a positive manner, even though I was unable to solve his problem.

As a contrast, the other evening I was running late getting home and decided

to order a pizza from one of the pizza chains since it was right on my way home. I used their website to place the order on my phone, figuring that it would be ready by the time I passed by the location in a half hour. Everything was nice and simple except the app wouldn’t take my card but that was ok, I could pay when I got there.

I get to the store, find a parking spot which did take a little bit being that the lot was packed and walked in. I noticed there were a number of people sitting around and a line at the register. So, I get in the line, pay for my order and wait for it to come up so that I could leave to go home. After about ten minutes, I ask the woman behind the counter what was going on. After all, I had placed the order over 30 minutes ago, that should have been enough time to make and box it, even at busy time. This thought was based on times that I had ordered pizza from other places with no issues. The woman looked flustered, started looking at random boxes and then asked someone about the order. The guy she asked barked back “Its gonna be another 45 minutes!” Not a very professional answer and not really something that you want your customers waiting for their food to hear. Since, my order had not even been started, I asked for my money back. This took about five- ten minutes since they had to find someone who could do the refund, amazing in such a small space. Once I got the voided transaction slip in my hand, I left, grumbling that I would have been better buying a frozen pizza at the grocery and baking it in the oven when I got home. I would have spent less time doing that that waiting at the pizza chain place. What was really sad it that noone working at the store seemed to care that I left unhappy with no pizza.

One of the things that the pizza chain place does is send out emails asking how my experience was. You can be sure that I have replied to those emails! It will be interesting if I get any kind of response. If I do, I’ll post what it is.