On 12 May 2010 I ordered NEW internet service at my home. There were not many choices (capitalism not in effect) as I own an iPhone and so the cheapest package was with AT&T.
It took an overwhelming two hours and four people (three were disconnects by employees of AT&T) to establish the phone number and service for the land line and establish service and sort out router for internet as my area now has Uverse.
The topper was AT&T sent the router via UPS (routing number 9302 3530 334 2). I was not home for the first delivery attempt so I went online an arranged to pick up router from UPS directly. In this wonderful age of technology, I would have expected this to update and on Monday 17 May at 12:00 Noon when I went to UPS, router would be there. No, router was not there as no one bothered to check the updated manifest on the truck before it went back, could I please come back tomorrow….The customer service person in Oakland was no where near this pleasant, in fact, her demeanor indicated I was bothering HER, not that I was the customer who had a problem.
With this story in mind, it seems reasonable that at $10-12/hr for customer service jobs, AT&T racked up $20-24 just on me and UPS racked up probably $10 in hours of work and package follow through and communication with people at their office. In addition, it cost me time and money to go twice to get my router.
It appears the five people I interacted with do not understand how to read a P& L so do not understand why good customer service does in fact improve the bottom line. This is an example of what happens when companies want to hire ‘qualified’ employees, or those who do not have the ability to understand a P&L, however, these employees will stick around as they are not really qualified to take another better job when the ecomony improves. I am a flight risk because I will do the job to the best of my ability but will leave when something better comes along. I would enhance the company short term by providing excellent customer service but would not feel committed to stay as indeed, I have other skills and competencies.
Sadly, AT&T and UPS left a bad taste in my mouth. So what if ‘Brown’ can throw a tracking number on a package – they don’t use the tracking number to their advantage as noted above, customer service. So what if AT&T has exclusivity on iPhones for now – they will not be able to remain profitable without the iPhone business as the customer service is bad.
Apparently being smart enough to read and interpret P & L sheets is bad for business and having to do corporate PR to clean up poor quality customer service comes cheaply these days – cheaper than flight risk of a competent employee.
The one company I can state has the best customer service, bar none, is USAA. This is because they have to – they can not do less when the majority of people they deal with are out in the world protecting our personal freedoms/lifestyle/democracy-whatever you want to call it. If I use this as a model, UPS and AT& T are not even within the same league.
So, UPS and AT&T, when you are ready to hire competent employees, even those who are a flight risk, contact me. I WILL do the best job possible for you while I work for you and if you provide me with oppportunities, I will not be a flight risk. I also understand if you can/will not hire me as you have demonstrated to me already what kind of company you wish to be -mediocre.