Good Customer Service: Finish What You Start

One of the most frustrating things to deal with when you move is coordinating the set-up and installation of all your utilities.  You need to call in advance to disconnect the service at your current location and arrange for a re-connection at your new place.  This seems easy enough, but more often than not things get lost in translation.

Over the past two weeks as we moved into our new house I have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly side of customer service.

The Good

There was the unbelievable coordination between our satellite provider and the TV delivery and installation crew.  One couldn’t be there without the other in order to properly install the wall-mounted TV, yet both companies gave the token “we’ll be there between 8am – 5pm” time frame.  Somehow I managed to get them both at our house at 3pm and watched in amazement as they worked together to get the job done.  This was good customer service at its finest.

The Bad

There was the couch that we bought 2 months ago in Calgary and arranged for delivery on our possession date.  It didn’t show up for a week and the furniture store passed the buck, blaming the delivery company for the miscommunication.  When the couch finally arrived on a commercial transportation truck, the driver basically opened up the back door and dropped the filthy couch on our driveway.  Thankfully it was wrapped in plastic and in good condition when we got it inside.

The Ugly

Finally there was TELUS.  We contacted TELUS to arrange for the transfer of our internet service to the new house.  They couldn’t send a technician out on our possession date, but had someone available to come out two days later.  There was an issue installing the fibre-optic cables and the technician couldn’t complete the job.

We re-scheduled someone to come out on Saturday, and again he was unable to complete the job, but promised to return on Monday with another technician and they would get things up and running for us.  Late afternoon on Monday I called got a call from TELUS saying that they would not be able to come out that day and they would have to re-schedule for September 9th.  Further discussions up the chain of command led nowhere; this was going to be the end of my relationship with TELUS.

Good Customer Service: Finish What You Start

Like many unsatisfied customers in the age of social media, I took my frustrations to Twitter.






TELUS support





TELUS Response






The response from TELUS on Twitter was immediate and, although they didn’t resolve my issue at that moment, it showed they were listening and that someone cared.  That’s good customer service, on any level.

The amazing thing about social media, specifically Twitter, is that conversations between you and your customers are happening in public for all to see.  Ignore the problem and it might just blow up into something bigger.  Acknowledge the problem and you might win over more than just one customer.  You never know who’s listening.

In this case, a Vice President at TELUS was listening to the conversation and had someone contact me the following morning.  They were prepared to send two technicians out to my house that afternoon and complete the installation.  A field manager would also be sent out to ensure we were satisfied with the service.   They offered a substantial monthly discount for 12 months, which was very generous.

A Remarkable Recovery

The installation was completed in a few hours and TELUS kept our business, likely for a very long time.   It’s not very often that an internet service provider or cable company has a chance to lose your business.  Most people are happy with the status quo; you need to give them a reason to leave.  Making the most of these windows of opportunity separates the good companies from the great ones.

It is incredibly difficult to measure your return on investment with social media, but hopefully TELUS can use this example as a learning opportunity and anticipate these types of problems before they escalate.

Unlike with the furniture company, TELUS made a remarkable recovery and showed that good customer service is about finishing what you start.  Yes, the process was ugly, but the result is what counts and TELUS got it right in the end.

Have you ever had a problem resolved after taking your frustrations to Twitter or other social media sites?  Any remarkable recoveries to share where you were on the verge of leaving and the company finally made it right?  I’d love to hear your story.

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  1. Stocksicity on August 24, 2011 at 2:32 am

    Twitter wasn’t so big the last time I moved and the last time I moved, my ISP was Verizon. They just messed it up. I was without internet for more than 2 months because the technicians never showed and when they show, there was no signal, and when there was a signal, the wiring in the house was wrong or something. It was just back and forth. Drove me crazy.

    Unfortunately, they never made it right. They just made me too angry to stick around, I moved to Time Warner Cable then.

    But glad to see twitter worked out for you. Maybe I should use it for all my future complications with big companies.

    • Echo on August 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      @Stocksicity – That is pretty much what was happening with our situation. It was aggravating because they kept making appointments and then making excuses, when I could have just called their competitor and get someone out right away. In the end, they made it right and that’s what matters.

      • Stocksicity on August 24, 2011 at 11:29 pm

        Yes it does. And I’m glad it went well for you. Too bad TELUS doesn’t provide service in the US. I’d definitely be interested to go with them.

  2. Money Beagle on August 24, 2011 at 5:58 am

    I’ve always had a great relationship with our cable company (WOW) and they are very responsive to social media questions. One time we got charged for a pay-per-view movie because apparently if you happen to be in the on-demand are, then pressing and holding one button will get you through the entire process if you’re not careful, and one of us must have pressed a button while sleeping as we had a movie ordered at 3:30am one night (101 Dalmations, nonetheless, which wouldn’t have been my choice should I have been suffering from insomnia!). Even though it was our mistake, I felt like it shouldn’t have been that easy. I called and asked if they would waive the charge or at least a part of it, but they wouldn’t. A few weeks later I wrote on their Facebook wall that I was disappointed that they hadn’t been more willing to work with me. They immediately gave us a $10 credit which covered the cost and then some! Much more than I had expected!

    • Echo on August 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      @Money Beagle
      That’s great! I think that more companies are embracing social media and using it more as more of a customer relationship management tool than as a way to advertise for free like so many others try to do. This is much more effective at keeping customers happy.

  3. krantcents on August 24, 2011 at 10:03 am

    The good news is you do not go through often. Why is good customer service so hard to find or at best hit and miss! We become so delighted when they do what they are supposed to do.

    • Echo on August 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      It’s true, we almost expect bad or mediocre customer service, so when a company goes above and beyond we make a big deal about how great they were. The reality is, most companies suck at customer service.

  4. J.B @ My University Money on August 24, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Wow! I had no idea that social media is the way to go when dealing with these guys. Now I know what to do with MTS when I move back to Manitoba…

    Great Post!

    • Echo on August 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      I don’t know if it’s “the way to go” all the time. I certainly wasn’t expecting this type of reaction from TELUS when I went off on Twitter.

      But, I think companies are spending a lot of time and money trying to figure out social media (it’s hard to measure success) and when they get it right it is something to celebrate.

  5. Kara on August 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Who? My gas company

    When? During recent postal strike.

    What? Due to strike, bills couldn’t be mailed but previous notices reminded customers that they were responsible for paying bills. I tried to sign up online to view my bill. Denied access. Phoned gas company. CSR said that company had no record of our account. CSR could not legally provide ANY information to me or make any changes requested by me including updating our phone number because my name had not been added to the account by my husband, the account holder. Turns out company updated its system linking database to phone number. Our phone number on file was no longer valid. How come we weren’t periodically asked to update our information? Company doesn’t accept credit card payments. SO: I’m responsible for paying the bill on time. Hubby’s not available. There’s no record of our account. I can’t set-up paperless billing or automatic payment (would have been too late for that month anyway). I can’t be informed of anything. I can’t pay by credit card. I can’t mail in the amount. WTH? The issue is now resolved. I had to do ALL the dancing. I had to learn their procedure and follow their system to the letter to give them money owing to them! The system is rigid and clumsy. The attitude is old school and represents that of a monopoly.

    Moral: To help yourselves, be sure the names on the accounts are set up to suit your needs. Ensure that your account information is correct and check periodically to ensure that your information complies with any updating by the company.

    So, even though the company is complaying with legislative standards, could it not find a way to be customer-friendly? Whose customer service needs are they meeting?

  6. Ash on August 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Customer service is so important. I recently attended a talk about how people remember and communicate customer service. I can’t remember the exactly statistic, but it’s something like “on average, if you experience good customer service, you’ll tell an average of two friends about it. If you experience bad service, you’ll tell five friends about it.”

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