Monday, July 23, 2007

Stalking for customer service

Working for a company that mails out patient satisfaction surveys and promoting best practices to improve health care customer service, I have increased my expectations about what constitutes good customer service. I've also learned that to receive the service you need requires you be your own advocate.

Recently Verizon erroneously charged my credit card 75$. I had received no bill or notification of the charge. When I first called they couldn't even tell me that they knew my card had been charged. Needless to say it took at least 5 phone calls talking to as many as 4 people per phone call to get a proper credit. I also had a great deal of difficulty with a local doctor's office. A few years ago I got my leather coat replaced.

I have learned the following rules for effectively prying out excellent customer service from those who should willing give it.

Stalking for Customer Service- How to get your complaints sufficiently resolved.
1. Always keep records of everything. Keep all e-mails, bills, receipts, dates of phone conversations, names of people you talk to (especially those that are rude). As soon as you realize something is amiss, keep everything. This will prove valuable should you have to prove something to anyone.

2. Stick to the facts. Avoid at all costs inflating your claim or injecting emotional concerns. It only hurts your credibility. It never hurts to review your complaint prior to calling to make sure it is truly legitimate. You are likely to be caught with any falsehood (not to mention it is wrong) and emotional appeals yield little action.

3. Know what you want/deserve. Make sure you have clear expectations of how the issue will be resolved. Typically people will offer little up, be prepared to set the bar.

4. Put it in writing. Letters typically receive a better response than phone calls. Many organizations have policies about how written complaints are handled. With a phone call they'll just try to make you go away. A letter usually will get a manager's attention.

5. Be persistent. It may take several phone calls, letters or a visit. You need to demonstrate you are serious.

6. Leave NOTHING ambiguous. Always ask for a date when you can expect a response. When that date comes and nothing happens, call the same people back.

7. Take comfort in that at least you tried. You won't always be able to resolve issues completely, but it is our job as consumers to hold businesses to their promise.

Happy Stalking!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sleeping in the bathroom

When children are growing up, sometimes communication with their parents struggles a bit. This issue becomes even more profound when the parents are awakened in the middle of the night.

All of us as children remember waking up in the middle of the night with an upset tummy. You waddle down to Mom and Dad's room because of course that is what you do. Mom and Dad's primary concern upon your arrival is that you don't vomit on the carpet.

Mark's younger brother one night woke up with an aching arm. He toddled down to his parent's room to seek a remedy (and likely a little sympathy). Dad was obviously groggy and must of misunderstand his chief complaint. He told the poor little tyke to go sleep in the bathroom. Even though the little guy was thoroughly confused, he was obedient. He promptly went to the bathroom and slept on the floor.

In the morning, Mom found him sleeping and inquired. He explained about his arm and that Dad told him to go sleep in the bathroom. Realizing very quickly what likely happened she assured him that it was just a misunderstanding. He did not have to sleep in the bathroom that night.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fun parts of my job

One of the most common questions I get is in regards to my job. "What do you do?"

Well that is an interesting question. In my current position as a Knowledge Manager my primary activities revolve around researching best practices in patient satisfaction improvement and sharing them with our clients. Now of course my job also includes a wide variety of other activities as well.

One of the more entertaining ones occurred this past November. At our client conference in NYC we had our resource tables and booths each take on a Broadway play or musical to create a "Walk Down Broadway." This of course was terribly fun. With the release of Mary Poppins on Broadway just this past October, our team decided this was the perfect opportunity.

I firmly believe you can buy anything off the Internet and with the help of eBay I was able to procure a Mary Poppins costume.

So there I was in NYC at the Marriott Hotel dressed as Mary Poppins. I have included a picture for your amusement. Now please be forgiving of my tired face, after nearly 2 and 1/2 days on my feet straight...even Mary Poppins gets tired.

So my short stint as Mary Poppins is one of the many random aspects of my job.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My diligent husband

Over the past few months (pretty much since Jan 1), Mark has been working many many hours. The product he works with is in high demand and has had some production issues. This means that we've had very few weekends where he hasn't had to work. The first quarter of this year it also meant 10-12 hour days as well. This has thankfully tapered off a bit.

During this time of long hours and tiring days, Mark has maintained to keep up with his school work as well. He is close to completing his associates degree and will be moving on to his bachelors very shortly.

Everyday he comes home from work and studies for 3-4 hours. I'm so proud of his hard work and diligence. He also is careful to make a point of spending time with me. School keeps our days full but together, we'll get through it.

For those of you who don't know Mark, here is a picture of him on our recent trip to Chicago with my family.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Wishing you God's richest blessings

It is an exciting time in the world of my friends. In recent months, two very dear friends (bridesmaids actually) have had their engagements announced.

Katy Schlipf to Chris Stoller


Jolynn Schmidgall to Kevin Hodel

Each one is special to me and I'm excited to see how God has brought this change into their lives.

Marriage is a wonderful blessing. Yet it was in our singleness did these relationships even come to be. I wouldn't trade either.