Customer Service: Where Do You Want The Water?

Customer Service

Water will rise no higher than its source! That is an axiom that requires no additional explanation. The question might be, “Where do you want the water?” My expectation of service and someone else’s expectation are quite different. It’s a sliding scale loaded with traps and snares. I normally like to traditionally take the high road in my story telling. I like to spin the story that offers the positive view of problem solution. I just think there is enough negative on the planet, so bear with me, because this has a happy ending.

Several years ago, my daughter, Lauren, shared with me that she was unable to log onto her email. We all use AOL. This might be a good place to pause! Whenever I share my e-mail address with someone, I get that look. I know most folks don’t want to be judgmental, but they hear AOL, and, in the listener’s self talk, you can almost hear them say, “Oh, you are stuck in the nineties. Just so you know, I didn’t keep my leisure suits, Sony walkman, or bag phone. Shall we continue? I told her I would look into it. I called the AOL help desk on my rotary phone.  I’m not trying to be funny. I was using a rotary phone and dial up to be accurate. Google it. The rep answered the phone, and I informed her that my e-mail was fine, but my daughter’s email was not there. After a lot of clicking on a keyboard, she said, “Dr. Henry, I see your problem. I have made the necessary adjustments, and her e-mail will be back on in an hour or so.” Satisfied, I went on my way, assuming all is well in the digital world.

At breakfast the next morning, I ask Lauren if her e-mail was back? She said, “No,” and, LeAnne, my other daughter, had no e-mail either. Back to the phone and back to the service center. You know how this works right? You get to tell the Groundhog Day story all over again!  This time the rep laughed and said, “Well, I see we did do something, but unfortunately, it was the wrong direction. Oh, oh, yea, ok, now I see what happened. Dr. Henry, you are good to go. Tell them all will be revealed in about an hour.  Sorry for the inconvenience.” I hate to telegraph my punches, but you know that’s not the end of the story!

Home from work, both daughters approach me with the Popeye complex—that’s all I can take, I can’t take anymore. You might want to Google that, too! No e-mail! My water level is sinking fast for AOL. I sat down, call in, and had just gotten started when the voice on the phone says this, “Dr. Henry, this is your third call in as many days. You’ve told this story before, right? Before I could answer, he said, “Let me see if I have this correctly. Your daughters’ e-mail accounts are down, right? No, wait! It’s ever better! You only had one down and we shut them both off!  Dr. Henry, my name is Patrick, and I am upset for you and upset at the treatment you have received!” I haven’t said a word and this guy is making my day. You got two minutes? I said, “Yes, Patrick, I do.” Clicking on the keyboard and talking to himself, I could hear him saying, “Are you kidding? Not you Dr. Henry. I’m talking to myself. Now, can you ask your daughters to log in?” From their rooms I could hear, “It’s all good dad!” Patrick, in total confidence, says, “That did it, right?” “Yes, Patrick, you have solved the problem Thank you.” “No, we are not done yet! Thank you, Dr. Henry for your business and your patience. It’s you who makes us better. We are a company of humans, and we screw up form time to time. I’m crediting your account, sir, and you will be using AOL on me for the next six months.” That’s why I still use AOL. I made them better!

I hear far too often that some of my clients are up to their eyeballs in complaints. They need more service reps! So, here is my analogy and, again, it needs no explanation. If you were under water, would you want the waterline to be below your nostrils or below your eyes? Below my nostrils, because at least I could breath. No, below your nostrils because you can still fix the issues. As long as there is breath in your body, you can make it right with the customer–if you care. Where do you want the water? We have several great video resources, including DVDs and a YouTube Channel. If we can serve you, Michelle and I welcome the opportunity. We promise not to get you wet!

3 thoughts on “Customer Service: Where Do You Want The Water?

  1. DAVID Edward WAGUESPACK says:

    Thanks, Dr. Dale! Very enjoyable reading and so very true. My best to Michelle. I remember you guys from the Zyber Pharma. days!

  2. Pearl McFadden says:

    Dr. Dale, I truly enjoyed the course you taught on leadership at 2018 SGMP NEC. You captured my attention through your great ability to tell stories, and how they align/connect to the points you want your audience to understand and apply. The story about Wanda, the Delta Airlines Stewardess, continues to be embedded in my memory about providing excellent customer services.


    Pearlavise Professional Administrative Services

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