In my last entry, dated a few months ago (my apologies, I've had a very busy summer), I promised a customer service experience I had with a company that did it right. That company is AT&T Wireless. That's right. I know they have a bad reputation, but I have not had one customer service problem with them over the years like I had with my previous carrier. For this reason, I can call myself a loyal customer. Unless they screw something up really bad, I will probably never switch and if I have any problem with my current cable service, I'll likely switch to AT&T U-verse. That is the the power of customer loyalty.
At the same time I was having trouble with the gas company, my cell phone got shut off (what can I say, it was a busy month). Frantic, I called them to see how much I needed to pay to get my service restored. I didn't have the money to pay all of it, and was hoping to take a partial payment.
Because of my decent (not great by any means) payment history, they agreed to restore my service - with only a promise to pay in six days! Of course, if that payment didn't go through, I would lose that option for future payments but still - talk about exceeding my expectations. I really thought I'd be without cell phone service through the weekend but AT&T really came through for me.
What's more, the rep on the phone didn't need to contact a supervisor to make that decision, nor was she reading from a script. She had the knowledge and the authority to make that decision, something the reps at my local gas company were lacking.
So many companies fear putting authority into the hands of a customer service rep but the rewards are many. Sure, they are going to make mistakes and often they will be in the favor of the customer, but what price to pay for customer loyalty?