Monday, September 12, 2011

A Rant...with Options

This Blog post isn’t supposed to be a rant nor is it intended to send any bad vibes. However, this first paragraph is going to be... well maybe a rant. Where is the customer service?

I was recently stuck at the airport because of delayed flights. To help passengers, they handed out a note card with a phone number on it. 150 stranded passengers picked up their cell phones and started dialing. Do you really think there were a 150 operators waiting to take our call? There we stood; 5 people talking, and 145 people on hold.

Because of my delayed flight, I missed my connection, which then put me at my final destination after the rental car company closed. For-seeing this problem, I called the rental car company to inform them that I was going to be late. They assured me that once I was in the system they could not leave until I arrived and had my car. When I arrived they must have put me in the wrong system because the guy I had spoke with was long gone. Where was the help along the way? Nowhere. The great irony and humor I found was that while I waited for the airline, they had sent me an email. The email was telling me about the great service they have and the deals I could get if I booked with them again... Dial 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, 3 if you need to hear options 4, 5 or 6.

Ok, that is half my rant, but I assume you have all been there at some time. I write this because I have customers, clients, and collectors of my own, and always consider how I would like to be treated. I am not a “Prima Donna.” I do not need all green M & M’s waiting for me when I get to my hotel room. I am just another human being that could use some help.

So here is what a little company like myself did. Last year I received a commission; it was a gift from a wife to her husband. She wanted to surprise a man who already had everything with a painting by me for Christmas. We worked out the details, bounced around ideas about his Alma Mater. I did some sketches. She approved them and I was on my way painting. When I completed the work, I sent it out to be delivered before Christmas. I am not sure exactly what Fed-ex did but I made a few calls and assured her it would be there the 24th. Christmas came and went and I had not heard a word. So being the good business owner, I followed up and found out that he did not like the painting. The wife and I had worked so hard together. She felt bad, and did not want to tell me of his disappointment. Now I had a decision to make. Either I let this painting sit in the closet and be considered to be the worst Christmas present ever or I make him a new one. I offered them option 2. By doing this I gained a repeat client and everyone was happy. Granted I had to do some extra work, but, isn’t that customer service?

In the end it became a win win for everyone. He/we donated the first painting to his Alma Mater for a fundraiser, he gets the tax incentives and my painting goes to someone that might never have seen my work. It sure beats the closet and there weren’t even any restocking fees... don’t get me started.


  1. We were on very long bridge breathing in the spectacle of a raging Susquehanna River churning below us. Trucks and cars were barreling by us, often drowning out the sound of the glorious energy below us. I looked at the Amish fellow, whose clothes and face were smudged with field work, his two straw hatted and barefoot children in awe of the powerful flood, and I asked him, "Don't you wish all these cars never existed?" He just smiled at me and did not answer.

  2. From Daniel Pink and his book "Drive"

    RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

    Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation

  3. RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

    Specifically what you mention he talks about at 9:00

  4. @ Michael - if people just stopped for a second there would be a lot more "awe" and amazement of the world around us. I have seen that video before it's great. There is no reason for me to paint i only do because i want to.