I really hate to keep adding businesses and companies to my Loser List, but the lack of competency I find in the workplace really angers me. Customer service leaves so much to be desired. Some of the mistakes I see employed people making on a regular basis are ridiculous. Here I am, a perfectly intelligent, well educated, unemployed person with a strong work ethic who can't get a job, who could easily work ten years without making the types of mistakes that other people make, and I have to suffer the consequences of the mistakes of those who are employed. I have to repeatedly spend my valuable time mopping up their messes. Is that fair?
Here's the deal: People make mistakes. I understand that. However, when the same person makes the same mistake or the same company makes the same mistake repeatedly, that is what is so difficult to understand. I mean, when I call someone and tell them about their mistake, and tell them how to correct it, are they actually correcting it while we speak or are they playing with themselves? I have to wonder.
Here's a clue: When a customer is inconvenienced by a mistake that someone in your company made, even if it wasn't you're mistake, always apologize on behalf of the company. Apologies go a long way in assuring the customer that the problem is being handled by someone who actually cares. Yet I am astounded by the number of people who will not apologize. It's a common courtesy.
Here's a lesson I've learned: Customer service is much better when you are a new customer opening an account than it is when you are an old customer trying to close an account. I am continually amazed at how many companies fail to properly close my accounts
So, topping my Loser List today is Culligan. Culligan is a company of franchises that provide water softening tanks to homes. I called them in August to discontinue the service at my mother's house. They sent me a bill for the months of August and September. I called them and asked how I can be billed for those two full months when I discontinued the service at the beginning of August.
The lady explained some mumbo jumbo about how they calculate the final bill. I said, "Yes, but this bill is showing that the house received a soft water tank in the month of September when it didn't, because someone picked up the tank in August when I closed the account."
She took a closer look, and by golly, I was right. Wow! What a concept! The customer was right. Seriously, who do you think would most likely know more about whether a bill is correct? The one person who receives the bill and knows what the heck is going on with their service, or a company that has an automated billing system that serves hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of customers?
So, the lady calculated out what my bill should have been, and told me to just pay that amount. I still thought it was a little high, but I just wanted to pay the final bill and get it over with, because I'm trying to settle my mother's estate so that I can distribute funds from the Trust, and I cannot do that until all her debts are paid off.
So, today I received another bill for the portion I previously did not pay, plus a late fee. Say what? I called their billing department again and explained the situation. I explained it in as many ways as I could conjure up, hoping the confused woman on the other end of the line might be able to understand just one of those translations. She said, "So I should credit you for the amount of this latest bill?"
"Yes, that is correct. And I should not receive any other bills. I don't want to hear from you guys again."
We'll see. I won't know if my phone call was effective until this time next month, but believe me, if I have to put them on the Loser List again, I will have to create a Super Duper Loser List for repeat offenders and contact their corporate headquarters. The only other company that has made this many blunders was Charter Cable.