Whatever happened to customer service?

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On a recent Friday, I realized we needed electrical wiring work done at our home. After consulting the Yellow Pages, I called four businesses. Three businesses did not answer their phone, so I left a message explaining the work I wished to have done and requested a call back to discuss the job and a cost estimate. At the fourth business, I was able to talk to a helpful person and they faxed back a credit application requiring completion before an electrician would come out to the house and prepare an estimate. I faxed the form back Monday morning and was told to expect a call back that day.

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By Tuesday, I had yet to receive any calls back, so I left a second follow-up message at the same four businesses. Over a week passed, and not one business bothered to return my call. Realizing this was turning into a do-it-yourself project, I was fortunately able to complete the job myself with assistance from several friends.

But I was still puzzled as to why these businesses did not have the courtesy to return my calls. Once again, I left a third message at the four businesses, mentioning I had left two previous calls and asked what their view was toward customer service. Within a few days, three of the businesses called to say they were sorry for not returning my calls and that they were just too busy to fit a call into their schedule. I doubt any of them would have returned my call if it wasn't for my third call raising the issue of customer service. The fourth business never returned my call.

While I realize there is considerable residential and commercial construction under way, I have to wonder what happened to customer service? If a business cannot work a job into their schedule or the request is work they don't perform, a quick phone call back to the customer is all it takes so the customer is not left hanging. Businesses should realize that a lack of response sends the message that they don't want my business. They may not need my business now, but might in the future.

Ron Schonenbach


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