It's Your Customer Service, Stupid

By David Berry: Before I even dive in to today's topic, I should be clear - I am writing this post with blood boiling at my temples; I am in a fit of rage.

I remodeled my kitchen late last summer and bought all new Frigidaire Gallery appliances as part of that process. Well, the gas range oven stopped working on the second or third use and, after a little bit of delay. The stove top still worked, so I could make do with it.

The team that I dealt with via email was very helpful. I provided the model number and serial number for my range and boom - they set my appointment up for me with surprising ease. 

It went all down hill from there.

The service tech was supposed to come last Monday between - you guessed it - a ridiculously wide time range. Sometime between 10am and 4pm. I'm fortunate to work from home, where a six hour time swing is an accommodation I can make, but for the majority of people, who report to an office every day, that can be a headache.

Around 3pm, I hadn't so much as heard from my tech with an estimated time of arrival. I called the number I was given. The tech said he was no where near my neighborhood, his appointments had run over, and could he come by the following day?

I was pissed, but obliged. Fine, I'll get it fixed tomorrow. Well, the same thing happened - twice more since then. And each time, the Frigidaire service tech never called. I had to initiate the dialogue each time, only to discover he wouldn't be showing up - again - and wanted to reschedule - again - without so much as an apology.

Can I repeat a lesson you already know, that somehow still needs to be repeated? No amount of marketing, branding or advertising can solve for poor customer service. It's the easiest, yet somehow most unattainable brand value.

Do what you say you will do. Do it as quickly as possible. Rinse and repeat.

This is not a difficult principle or precedent. I don't care what business you're in - making appliances or shining shoes - you WILL succeed if you can get this right.

And if you make a mistake, own it and fix it. That didn't happen either.

I believe that Frigidaire, corporately, understands that. But with regard to execution, there's a major operational shortcoming. No one from the corporate team followed up with me to see if the appointment ever took place, nevermind my issue was resolved.

No matter how good your first line of customer service is or was, it means nothing if you can't deliver it at the last line of contact.

Frigidaire, you have failed.