Now THAT’S Customer Service!

In November, my wife and I arrived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for our semi-annual month -long working vacation. We were staying in the same 15th floor condo we had rented for many years. We parked on the third level of the parking garage right in front of the well-lighted elevator, and we unloaded our van. The next morning, we returned to the van to find the back side window smashed and several items stolen. Great way to start a month at the beach!

There is always a silver lining if you look for it. My old GPS is now replaced with a new, large-screen model. My large LCD projector needed to be replaced anyway, so the break-in forced that issue as well. The money … well, that’s just gone. So what’s the good news? The replacement of the window of the van was an outstanding example of great customer service.

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My first call was to the police. We answered lots of questions and filled out lots of paperwork. The process was complete, and we never heard from the police again.

The next step, however, was calling my insurance company back in Kentucky, who patched me through to the claims department. The Customer Service Representative was nice and understood that our need was simple, but important. The window of our van was shattered, and we needed it replaced before we could go anywhere. My rep asked who I would like to replace the window. Since I had no knowledge of window replacement companies in Myrtle Beach, she read me a list. When she mentioned, my ears perked up … their catchy little jingle immediately popped into my head: “SafeLite repair,!” I had heard it dozens of times on the radio. The provider was selected!

Point #1 – Marketing works, but it needs to be continuous and overlapping. Marketing is NOT a call to action like advertising. Marketing is keeping your name in front of the customer, so when the customer needs a product or service, they think of you.

While I was still on the phone, my insurance company called SafeLite and patched me in. It was a national call center, but the rep was well trained and spoke clearly. He scheduled me for 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. the next morning.

I have taught contractor business training for 27+ years. The number one customer complaint has always been, and still is, the same – contractors seldom show up on time! Well, at 8 a.m. the next morning, I received a call telling me that Barry was on his way and would be there in about 30 minutes.

Point #2 – Integrity in communication and showing up on time instantly raised my expectations. I thought, “They called and will show up on time. This must be a GREAT company. I now expect an outstanding job, done in a timely manner.”

Thirty minutes later Barry called to tell me he was five minutes away. He was the poster child for customer service. He was friendly, in a clean uniform and had joined SafeLite nine months earlier. His initial step was to vacuum the van. However, he didn’t just vacuum the area where the window was broken — he vacuumed the entire van. Wow, that exceeded my expectations!

Barry then gently disassembled the interior of the van around the window area. To him it was like a sunny walk on the beach. To me, it was an impossible task. The van had one or two minor scratches near the window where the robbers apparently used a bar to get in. I mentioned them to Barry, and he instantly shared a trick of the trade to rub them out. He not only told me about it, he took the scratches out before my very eyes.

Point #3 – Barry exceeded my expectations even before the actual window was replaced. Again, my expectations of him doing an outstanding job were rising. If he was willing to vacuum the entire van, and take out the scratches, he must do an outstanding job replacing the window itself.

I was not disappointed. Barry was fast and his work was flawless. Now for the unexpected! The window was motorized to open and close; the thieves had broken the motor. My heart sank thinking the worst. “He won’t be able to finish the job today and will have to re-contact the insurance company for approval of the added part. All this will continue to interrupt our vacation.”

But, Barry handled it all. He called the local Chrysler dealership about the part. He called the insurance company and got approval for the additional cost. He then ordered the part, which was going to take a couple days to get. Next he taped the area around the window since it would not fully close without the motor. He was taking care of everything … without my having to get involved. He told me they would call when the part arrived and would schedule a time to complete the project, around my schedule.

Point #4 – Barry handled the unexpected. He could have had me call the insurance company and could have thrown the part-ordering process in my lap, but he didn’t. I was impressed with Barry and, therefore, the company.

The part arrived a few days later. The local office called to schedule around my timetable and Barry returned to complete the job flawlessly.

Point #5 – The company sent the same tech to complete the job. I had built a relationship with Barry and I was thrilled to have him return to finish the job, as opposed to some other technician.

Now that is what customer service should be like. I thanked Barry for doing a great job and gave him a $10 tip. I also told him I would be writing this article and that I would be sending him a copy.

I am now a raving fan for but the real star was Barry. From my perspective he “was” the company. I will now tell everyone I meet what a great company they are and will suggest they give SafeLite a call should the need arise. As a matter of fact I just did, to thousands of Grandy & Associates readers!

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