Friday, February 11, 2011

Customer Service

I had a nice surprise this morning.  Criss said, “I forgot.  You got something in the mail yesterday,” and he handed me a large envelope.  When I saw who it was from, I felt a sense of relief – one more thing I can mark off my to do list.  It was my Alabama teaching certificate.  It was going to expire last year, so I took two classes to get the hours I needed for its renewal.  I sent everything in last September but never heard back from them.  I called to check on it last week, and they sent it without any further hassles.

I was actually surprised it went so well.  I seem to have a lot of problems finding good customer service these days.  I generally dread anything that involves calling a customer service representative.  Some of them just aren’t very friendly, and sometimes they are friendly, but the problem never gets fixed.  Let me give you a few examples…  (Hang in there with me.  I do have a point at the end of all this.)

Last summer, I flew to Virginia to take the classes I needed to renew my teaching certificate.  (Why I had to fly to Virginia to take the classes is a rabbit trail for another day.)  When I got back, my luggage wasn’t there.  They had put it on the wrong plane.  They assured me that it would be there in a few hours, and they would bring it to my house.  Several hours came and went, and I had not seen my luggage.  Over the course of two days, I called numerous times.  First they had no idea where my luggage was.  Then, they would tell me it would by at my house by this time, or by that time.  In the end, I finally got my luggage but what a hassle!!!

Just last week, there was another incident.  Silas had several DNA tests run last year.  The insurance (let’s refer to them at XYZ insurance company) has not decided whether or not they are going to pay for some of them.  I called XYZ to see what I could do to help the process along.  They needed notes from the doctor.  I called the doctor’s office, told them what I needed, and hoped for the best.  A week later, I had not heard from XYZ or the doctor’s office.  I called XYZ again.  The lady that helped me the first time wasn’t available, so I had to speak with someone else.  She couldn’t find the records from the doctor.  So, I called the doctor’s office.  They had sent the records a few days before.  The insurance company should have them.  I called XYZ again and this time was able to talk to the person that had helped me originally.  The doctor’s office had faxed the information but had not put our contract number on it.  It was sitting on the lady’s desk because she did not know whose it was.  Now, all this doesn’t even include the time I spent sending them information at the time the test was done.  So, one letter and at least five phone calls later, they now have what they need to process the claim…I hope.

This just seems to be the course of my life.  Things that should be simple end up taking days…weeks…months to resolve.  I am always pleasantly surprised when I have a nice experience with someone in customer service.  Chick-fil-A, Publix, and Target are the first to come to mind.  Even if I have to spend more money on an item, I sometimes visit one of these places just because I know they generally treat me a little more kindly than other places I’ve visited.  No matter how they feel that day, the employees at Chick-fil-A are trained to respond with certain phrases such as “How may I serve you today?”  What a nice change from the rest of the world.  At Publix, I can always find someone to help me find the item I’m looking for.  They never act annoyed that I’ve bothered them, and they will walk across the store to help me find what I need.  Target is one of my new favorites.  I was standing in a line at Christmas – not too long, but there were several people.  Someone walked up and kindly said, “Let me open a register for you.”  I nearly fell over!  In the many years I’ve shopped at “the other store,” no one has ever done that for me.

Now to my point.  At church this past weekend, several of the messages were about reaching the lost and the difficult to love.  It got me thinking.  This world is such a harsh place – often filled with so much unkindness and disappointment.  People long for someone just to be nice to them.  And when they run across someone who is, it is not quickly forgotten.  I think that’s why love is mentioned so much in the gospels.  That should be what makes Christians stand out from those around us.  It’s not that we have it all figured out or never make mistakes.  It’s that we live lives that exemplify the love of Christ to those we come in contact with every day.  In a way, we are God’s customer service representatives here on earth.  He has chosen for us to be His hands and feet, meeting the needs of those around us.

John 13:35 states, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  If others were to evaluate their experiences with us, what kind of rating would we get?


No comments:

Post a Comment