Perhaps I am just unlucky or something but for every Zappos “wow” moment in my life, I have had a dozen more negative episodes that range from slightly painful to watching-2 Broke Girls-excruciatingly-bad.
Bad Customer Service
My worst customer service experience involved U-Haul. In 2003 I rented a 20 footer for my move from Boston to Los Angeles. The short story is that they gave us a lemon which kept breaking down but their customer service repeatedly refused to get us another truck. After breaking down for the third time outside St. Louis, I finally managed to get them to give us a different truck, but only after close to 6 hours of phone calls. Through it all, there were no heartfelt apologies and my general feeling that they didn’t give a flip about me or my problems.
That’s the thing about good customer service. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing you truly care. You can’t fake it.
My First Customer Service Job
Back in 1998 my first real job was in customer service as I interned with the John Hancock help desk. I will never forget listening to one particular agent routinely asking callers to send a good review of him to our boss…EVEN if the call went horribly wrong. It was amazing. There were others there, though, that actually cared about the customer and taught me a lot about the service industry. The “good” help desk agents showed me how things have a way of working out for everyone involved when you genuinely empathize with the customer and works has hard as you can to solve their problem.
My Second Customer Service Job
I ended up working again in the customer service industry a couple years later when I was hired as a consultant to build a new, custom CRM system for a small auto finance company called WFS. Up to that point I thought providing great customer service was simply an attitude and mindset. I quickly learned, however, that when people have the right tools and the right direction, it becomes much easier to care about the customer.
My New Customer Service Job
When I moved back to Boston last year, I re-connected with a friend and former co-worker, Christian Allen. He had been working for a couple of years on a website called GetHuman.com, which was started by Paul English (co-founder and CTO of Kayak.com). Christian explained to me that GetHuman exists because customer service generally sucks and consumers need someone on their side to help get their questions answered and their problems solved.
I almost immediately had an interest in what Christian was working on and how they were solving a problem that I knew very well. We ended up helping each other on our different projects throughout most of 2012. The more I learned about GetHuman, the more my appreciation of the company and what they were trying to do grew.
By the beginning of 2013, Christian was looking for someone to help and it just so happened that I was looking for a new job (a story for another time), so we decided to join forces. I am psyched because I get to work on something I am passionate about and which I think will truly help other people. My career has come full circle in some ways and I am excited help GetHuman make a dent in the universe
Most importantly, I am scratching my own itch and it feels good.