A Tale of Two Companies…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  This describes my two recent customer service experiences to a tee.  Let me tell you about each of them.

Best of times:  I pay my bills on time — always.  Recently, though, I realized that my credit card payment had not cleared the bank.  When I checked on it, I found that the envelope (yes, I still mail my payments) had stuck to the inside of my briefcase, and therefore, had never made it to the mailbox.  I immediately sent that check to the credit card company, along with a check for the late fees and interest that they showed on my online statement.

The same day I mailed those checks, a representative from the credit card company called to inquire about my payment status.  I explained what had happened, apologized, and told her that I had put the checks in the mail that very day.  HERE’S WHERE IT GETS GOOD!  She thanked me for being a great customer who always pays the bill on time, and she said she was going to reverse the late charges and interest.  I was very grateful.  It was, after all, my error, and they didn’t have to do that for me, but it felt very good that they recognized my usual diligence and rewarded me for it.  (The company is Chase!)

Worst of times:  I was scheduled recently for a medical procedure with a clinic I’d never been to.  They sent paperwork to be completed, which I sent back by the due date.  One of the questions on the paperwork was “What name do you like to be called?”  I was thrilled that they asked that question, because I am called by my middle name, meaning that most people don’t get it right–they call me by my first name as noted on their forms.  For once, I thought, I won’t have to answer to “Lois.”

They called to confirm my procedure a few days ahead, and the person who left the voicemail called me Lois.  I was really let down.  They obviously had paid no attention to the forms I filled out for them. But, it gets worse.  When I called back, they addressed me as “sir” and still called me Lois.  Another let down.  It still gets worse. 

I needed to get a prescription filled to use before the procedure.  When I went to the pharmacy, the doctor’s office had not put anyone’s name on the prescription, so the pharmacy wouldn’t fill it.  Another careless mistake.  By that time, I was really getting annoyed.  So, I left a message at the Doctor’s office that I was cancelling the procedure, as I had become concerned about their attention to detail.

When their office manager called me back to try to reverse my decision, she, too, called me Lois.  I explained my frustrations and concerns from the combination of factors.  The office manager was very nice, and I appreciated her hearing me out.  I just hope they will learn something from the experience. 

You see, I had no way to determine whether they knew how to do the medical procedure or not–most likely, they do know how.  But, they certainly don’t know how to manage pre-procedure patient communications, and that left me unwilling to put my body in their hands.

Both of these companies handled small things differently.  They are small things, but they’ve made a great impact on my decision to remain a customer (or not), and on how I feel about and talk about these two companies. 

What kind of experiences are your customers having with your company? 

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One Comment on “A Tale of Two Companies…”


  1. A couple of REALLY great examples of things done right – and wrong! And kudos to you for sharing your thoughts with the medical office. Many people would simply leave, never return, AND tell 20 people about their bad experience.


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