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.

Seriously, a phone ATM?

I got the strangest email from Redbox over the weekend. I actually thought it was a delayed April Fools message. Basically it was announcing “EcoATM.” No it is not a new form of an ATM machine, it is a kiosk that allows you to sell your old cell phone back. Complete with videos that show how you are given a sticker, have to put your driver’s license into the machine (and hope it does not get stuck), place the sticker on the back of the phone and they will proceed to send in your phone and confirm the amount you get paid. If you want, you can allow the proceeds of your phone go to the charity of your choice.

Why does it seem so strange to me? Sure, I am grateful that it is another way for folks to be paid in hopes that their phone does not end up in a landfill, but would you go to a kiosk and submit your phone (while also returning your Redbox movies at the neighbor kiosk). It just seems very unlikely. It feels rather cheesy actually.

It looks like all the local kiosks are in very strange suburbs. Ones that are not on the normal beaten path, almost as though they have purposely launched in obscure locations. You can even “price your device” by selecting your model and phone provider and they will let you know the range of what you can expect to receive back.

I still think it is odd. Maybe because Chris and I have found that we can make so much more selling our old phones on eBay. I am not sure if the “sell your phone” kiosk is a sustainable business model. I suppose we go through phones much faster than we used to. So if they can cover picking up phones and clean up of kiosks, and then sell them for 50% more, then maybe it is sustainable. I guess we have gone from kiosk movies, to coin exchange, to selling phones. What is next?

Would you use it?

Let it Go

I have not jumped on the “Frozen” bandwagon. Apologies if that means you no longer want to read this blog post today. I cannot even remember the last movie I saw in the movie theater. I am partially ashamed to say that I think it was Flight. Sad, but true. The movie actually sucked, so maybe that is why I have not been back to have my feet stuck to the floor, and be absolutely annoyed because even though they play a commercial about turning your cell phone off at least 5 times, it is always the guy directly behind you that decides he is going to answer his phone during the movie.

I am more of the wait until it is on Netflix or Redbox type. You know, watch it on your couch in comfy clothes, with a snack, and the ability to comfortably snuggle with your husband. Ah, yes that is the best theater experience for me. Having said all that I am still extremely behind on my movie watching list, but hey Memorial Day weekend is upon us, so catching up on movies is on our list. That and summer is a great time for a few movies here and there, since primetime programming is on hiatus. Although my backyard beckons me much stronger than the boob tube.

I digress. I started telling you about “Frozen.” A friend posted this mother remake of the Frozen song and while I have heard the original version a zillion times on the radio, and while I am not a mom yet, the words to this rendition made me laugh. It would only be that much better if they did it in an actual house (instead of on a stage) then you could get the real feel of a mom, picking up toys, folding laundry, or cleaning up a mess of dishes. If you have not seen it, you might find you will sing these lyrics (instead of the original) while driving. Especially since the song comes on the radio every hour. Enjoy.