The CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation told an interesting story about a nationally-known and highly-regarded car service he’d taken to go from point A to point B. Throughout the trip, the driver complained to the CEO about the limo company, its hiring and firing practices, horrible pension program and parsimonious outlook on life in general. When he exited the car, the CEO said he vowed never to use the limo service again.
I’ve had a similar experience with a major credit card company that handles our corporate account. About a year ago, we signed up for their super duper deluxe service and paid a steep annual premium for the privilege. And that’s right about the time the relationship started going South.
Consider these horrific experiences: The card company’s "24×7 concierge service" told my assistant she was confused in thinking that John Wayne Airport in California was different than JFK in New York. In fact, the agent said, they were one and the same airport (the CSR must have been chewing some top-grade peyote to have come up with that one). Another CSR insisted that Irvine, California, didn’t exist (which must be a real bummer to the folks who live there). A third agent refused to book a reservation on JetBlue because the card company didn’t receive compensation from that particular carrier for doing so. The list could go on and on.
Great customer service has an immediate and direct impact on an organization’s image and reputation. As mentioned in my previous columns, the greatest marketing and branding program in the world will fall flat on its face if a limo driver is trashing the company or a customer service rep is flat out incompetent.
So, what are we doing about our present card company? Being forgiving types, we’ll give them one more chance. But only one.