On a Scale of One to Ten, How Good Is Your Company’s Service?

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages. - Henry Ford

If you asked each of the following—all very nice people— whether they feel they have a good reputation for service, each would unequivocally say yes. Each would tell you how they love working with people, how they are excited about their jobs, and how everyone who deals with them has good things to say about them. All would be wrong because the service or the follow-up service I received from each will forever brand these people in my mind as also-rans.

The first house I bought in Florida generated a very large commission for the real estate agent who was both the listing and the selling agent. She spent a grand total of one day with my wife and me before we bought it. Now, admittedly, for one reason or another, we didn’t move in on time, but the fact remains she spent less than eight hours on a deal that made her firm tens of thousands of dollars. Did we have fruit waiting in the kitchen, a bottle of Dom Perignon, or a thank you card? NO! In fact, we got nothing—way to build your reputation lady.

When I bought my first Ferrari several years ago from a very nice salesman in Newport Beach, California and referred him to a friend the following week who bought a Porsche, how did he thank me? Actually, he didn’t—well that’s not quite true. He did thank me when I dropped my friend off to pick up his new Porsche—when I was standing right in front of him. After that, no card, no wine, not even a $15 Ferrari key ring. Translation: Ralph I love you, but I’m not going to buy another car from you. I have been a loyal Avis customer for about 20 years but I’m ready to try someone else because despite a great slogan—“We try harder”—they have disappointed me too many times recently. Like on vacation in France when I lost my key to the rental car. Nine hours later, after taking a $200 cab ride, I had a new car. It took five hours for them to send a tow truck, break into the car, deposit my belongings on the side of the road, and leave me there. Seriously—to my utter astonishment they drove off! When I got back to the airport, they then charged me $150 for losing the key. Trying to fight it in my limited French was just not worth it, but they will lose $10,000 a year worth of business because of it.

The service provided by most companies (including yours and mine) is NOT nearly as good as they think it is.

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