Highway Pinball With Company Customer Service Ambassadors
I was heading home from work, out of the city. Traffic was insane on the 4-lane highway and the heat was oppressive. Many drivers, either without AC or just saving gas, had all their windows open and the commute was a noisy cacophony of straining engines and snatches of loud music.
“What the…!” A stone ricocheted off my hood and over the roof of the car. I looked ahead.
In front of me was a crowded minivan and cars on either side of that. Suddenly all three vehicles swerved at the same time, just missing each other. I could hear the occupants yelling and swearing. The minivan braked and peeled into the slow lane, leaving me behind a builders’ truck.
Sean Casey & Sons, Contractors (don’t the drivers realize that their vehicle is one big billboard for their employer?), had obviously been digging a hole and wanted to take the dirt home with them. The gate on the pick-up hung down, a wheelbarrow was leaning against the cab and a large pile of soil and stones was shedding debris onto the following traffic, which was now me.
As sand blew in through my windows and pebbles bounced off the windshield, I spun my head, seeking a gap in the next lane. Cars were slaloming behind me as they dodged the airborne rubble. Finally, I saw my chance and moved out of harm’s way, chanting his phone number into my memory.
It wasn’t long before I realized that I was still in danger. Ahead, traffic was wandering across all 4 lanes as drivers danced around Casey’s truck. Everyone was leaning on their horns and cursing at full volume; the pick-up driver was oblivious.
Cars continued to move as far away from the mess as possible, but speeding vehicles from behind quickly took their places. And then the Verizon phone company van pulled into jeopardy, immediately to the rear of the rock pile.
I watched in amazement as the Verizon rep blocked the worst of the fusillade of stones. He was on the phone and steering on a dime, simultaneously. I memorized his licence number. He finished his call and put both hands back on the wheel.
I realized I was out of position for my exit and joined the slowing flow of traffic to the left. Casey, or his Sons, slowed, too. The Verizon van swiftly cut out of his lane, pulled in front of the pick-up and braked to a stop. I had just enough time to see the phone company guy climbing out of the back of the van and waving at one of the Caseys before I had to leave the highway and continue home.
Safe, but shaky, I later called both companies and described what had happened. Perhaps I spoke to Mrs. Casey? She was certainly very defensive at first, but I gave her the licence number of the Verizon van so she could confirm the incident. She assured me that safety and customer service were their top priorities, though I did not get that impression over the phone.
When I finally got through to the Verizon guy’s supervisor, he was delighted that I’d called and told me that Grant, the driver, was up for promotion, anyway. He also thanked me for making his day, since most of the calls he received were complaints.
It was this experience that convinced me to always give feedback directly and immediately, whether it’s bad or good. Simply chatting with my friends or venting on social media was pointless. How else will these companies know that their customer service ambassador is a hero or a knucklehead?
For more on Disney Style Service and small business marketing, check out my free special report “Systematic MAGIC, How to Disnify Any Business”. Vance Morris is a Walt Disney World Resort Management Alumni, having spent 10 years as an executive in the Resorts. He runs the only Disney Service & Direct Response Marketing business on the planet. Here he coaches companies to create Disney Style Service Systems and then monetize them through direct response marketing. He is also the reigning GKIC Marketer of the Year. He can be reached at www.DeliverServiceNow.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .