Julie Seedorf: The value of good customer service skills

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, May 6, 2018

Something About Nothing, By Julie Seedorf

A few years ago I wrote about the imperfect evergreen tree with five tops in our backyard. I shared my heart about the ornamental tree with the beautiful blossoms and berries that feed the robins in the summer. The robins loved those berries.

Today my heart is sad because I had to say goodbye to my beautiful ornamental berry tree and I had to watch as we cut back the evergreen so my electrical wires would not be taken down in a storm by the tree. It is a fact I was in love with my trees, and I wanted to hug my trees and tell them I loved them and I was sorry. I also apologized to the birds for them losing their home.

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The same day my trees had to go, my husband’s cell phone had to be replaced because it went through the washing machine and no amount of drying fixed it. For the record, I was not the one washing his clothes when the cell phone snafu happened. The loss of his cell phone, too, made me sad but not for the same reason as the trees, but at the expense of replacing it. Yes, we had insurance but the phone was old and wasn’t worth using the insurance.

What made my day easier were the people who took care of my problems.

My tree problems were taken care of by Don and Dale. Not only were they adept at the slicing and dicing but they understood my sadness and made sure I was included in every piece of the decision-making process when making the cuts. When I got a wild idea to use part of my ornamental tree’s wood for a few craft projects such as hot pads and a coffee table they cut the wood for me, so all I need to do is put it together. I think they saw my vision but never once did they make me feel silly for having the emotion I had about my tree and wanting to preserve some of it for my memories. They also cleaned up my yard so it also looks better than it did when they started.

After my tree men left me smiling, we tackled our cell phone problem. Tyson from Verizon, not Mike Tyson or Tyson chicken — we had to ask him which one he was as a joke, was one of the best Verizon representatives we have ever had. He checked the phone and after giving us the bad news that it had left us forever, he helped us get into a new phone. We juggled an old phone around, so my old phone went to the one who massacres cell phones (this was the second one which suffered death by water with another one ending up lost in the Albert Lea landfill), and purchased a new one for me.

Tyson was very patient with us old people, very respectful and excellent at helping us understand our options. He even gave me some ideas about using Verizon products to solve my high cable bill problem. Since I hate spending money and since I still had tree jitters, the fact that Tyson, our customer solutions person, was not pushy but helpful, explaining our options in a way we could understand, had a calming effect on me. We walked out with a smile and will go back and ask for Tyson next time we need help.

In the midst of all of the chaos that day, Brian, another service person who also happens to be my neighbor, came over to diagnose my air conditioner problems. Again, his attitude kept a smile on my  face. Four people in one day, and I was not at any time frustrated with having to deal with the issues.

I have had problems in the past trying to navigate the ups and downs of service people. Being a woman I don’t always get the respect from men that work in the service field. Or, there have been times in the past being a woman has had nothing to do with it, but having a complaint and getting ignored when bad service has been rendered has made me dread dealing with companies and those who work for some of the businesses.

The ornamental berry tree and the pine tree have been with us since we moved into this house. We planted it the first year we were here almost 24 years ago. I was given shade and joy as I watched the birds build their nests and raise their young in my trees. The beauty of their song always lifted my spirits.

The trees might be gone, the birds may have to find new homes and hopefully one day I will hear their song again, but until then Don, Dale, Tyson and Brian have put a song in my heart. They made my sad day better, they helped me cope with the loss of my trees, and the loss of my money and gave me hope I will be cool this summer. I will always go back to a business that treats their customers with respect and helps us understand and solve our problems.

Businesses and those who represent businesses take note; the key to a successful business is customer service and making sure those you employ know the value of the way they represent your business.

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” — Michael LeBoeuf

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.