Service, service, service

It is a topic that comes up often at work, but never mind that right now. I want to talk about service in my backyard. In my living room, on the phone, and wherever I might be. We all want it right? When we go into the store we want the person working in the store to not bug us too much, but be extremely helpful when we are ready for their help. We want to know when we call our bank or credit card company that they will help us with their questions, and make us feel good about the choices we have made to be a patron of their company. They make money off us right? So why should we be made to feel like we owe them?

Here are a couple of recent examples — and by recent, I mean in the last week. There is not enough time in my day to even list out all from the past month. Yes, I am a service addict and I tend to never forget how I was treated by companies. Really, if you think about it, service levels leave a permanent, laser-etched mark in your mind about their brand. You never forget a horrible service experience and you rarely forget an amazing one — if you ever have one.

Anyway, on to the examples:

Redbox: Over the weekend we reserved a movie on the Redbox app. When Chris went to pick it up, the machine did not work, so he went to another kiosk and rented from there – but since we weren’t able to pick up the movie at the kiosk we reserved it at, we needed to let them know so they would not charge us and so they could be alerted to the problem. Now, I do not care about the $1.50 I was charged, but I do care about principle. If everyone that reserved a movie at that machine did not contact them, how much are they making on their customers, and how many customers would they frustrate?

Their response to our email? They’ll give us a “credit” for another movie to use in the next 30 days. Sorry, but I actually paid for two movies, not one. So credit my account for the amount I was charged in error for your faulty machine. I rarely use Redbox and most likely I am not going to remember to use my “credit.” Plus, I might not even have the chance to use it in the next 30 days. Their solution is better for them, but not for the customer.

Contractors: Dating back to last May we have contacted over 30 contractors to do work on our house. Out of the 30+, maybe 5 have actually followed through with the appointment, and 2 of the 5 have given us bids. I know it is a booming housing market and they have all the business they can possibly handle, but do they realize how brand damaging it is? Service = following through with appointments, calling customers back, and providing bids so homeowners can make educated decisions. We cannot do any of that without contractors providing a very easy service. If you are one of the 30 you will never have our business – your brand has already been damaged.

Why oh why is it so hard for companies to see that one of the most important parts of how they communicate with their customers is how they serve them? With there being more and more options available from many different companies, if you can move or change companies or providers and find one that actually understands how to take care of customers, then those are the companies that are going to make it. It is all in the little things and in the details. Follow through, be accountable for problems, and fix them is the brand image customers remember.

“Words and Pictures”

Over the long holiday weekend, we watched “Words and Pictures.” It has been a while since I have seen a good movie (or one that I actually watched completely without multi-tasking). This one sucked me in. Maybe it was the subject matter. Words, writing, ideas and art, painting, pictures. Plus it had a bit of the indie film feel to it. It was a mellow movie, not too much drama, but just the right amount of depth.

Juliette Binoche and Clive Davis are the main characters and they do not disappoint. Owen is an alcoholic, yet endearing English professor at a college prep school, and Binoche an artist/painter who cannot do what she used to after rheumatoid arthritis effects her. They begin a personal and professional war that moves both their students and their own worlds. It was not an amazing movie, but enough to keep me engaged and make me think. I was enamored watching her paint. Who knows if Binoche had any idea what she was doing at the craft of painting, watching her awakened a dormant vein inside me. I have not painted for a while. She painted large pieces, a size I do not have a space for, yet it brought back a craving for me to continue to paint. It brought back the desire to dust off my brushes and get busy painting.

As far as the movie goes, I could speak to either side of the debate (words or pictures) as the movie debates. I am a word fanatic. I love writing, find that I process my world with words. Yet, I also love art. It calms me, is therapeutic, and truly allows me to be in the moment. Some of my paintings have no words to describe them, they are just something I feel. Sometimes my words still do not do justice to what I am feeling. The debate continues, but both are just as important to me.

Check out the trailer below.