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Where’s the customer service?

I just got off the phone with Verizon…

Shudder!

It took them 45 minutes and 6 different operators to finally resolve the issues… Oh, no wait. Let me rephrase that. It took them 45 minutes and 6 different operators to resolve 1 out of 3 issues I have with them regarding our account.

Grrrr!

Years ago we had Verizon for phone service and got messed around with by their billing department (basically they kept charging us after we canceled service), and I swore I’d never use them again. As it’d been 5 years since then I thought everyone deserves a second chance, right?

Well, let me tell you nothing’s changed. And the stupid things is the signs were there before we signed up again. Distant voices crying out telling us to stay away. Friends reporting weird things were happening with their FIOS, PPV events crashing during service, and horrible tech/customer support.

“Ah!”, I thought. “That won’t happen to us! I’m pretty tech savvy and can handle it.”

Needless to say, I’m very disappointed with paying what we pay for what we get. Yet, we’re locked in for 12 months and if we cancel service before then they’ll hit us with a hefty early termination fee.

Now I realize I can fight them tooth and nail and ultimately probably get out of it all without having to pay anything further, but since it took me a minimum 45 minutes to resolve just one issue, I’m not hopeful that cancellation would be headache-free. At the end of the day, I just want what I pay for to work properly and be worth it.

Ok, so enough about Verizon. What the heck has this got to do with karate?

It’s this:

What is the message you send to your students, family, friends and community about your dojo? What is the general word of mouth? Is your place well liked? Well respected? Does it get recommended by others? Is it remarkable (in a good way)?

Creating good customer service, friendly atmosphere, and good rapport with everyone associated with your club goes a loooooooonnnnnnnng way to keeping customers a much longer time. But if you overcharge and provide horrible service you’ll lose students quicker than you can “yame!”

Verizon gets away with it because they’re no longer a small business, have a huge marketing budget and can churn customers over without much care. You can bet your bottom dollar they didn’t start out that way.

However for a small business that’s trying to prosper in challenging economic times, failure to provide is business suicide.

Your thoughts?

Post ’em below

– Jason

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