Have you ever been so busy that you couldn’t write in your blog? That has been my story for the past two weeks. I work for a school district and school has just started for the fall semester. As one of the Technology people I find that things are getting busier every year. Almost everything revolves around data and computers anymore. When you have 20,000 students and have to put together schedules, assessments and attendance just to open the school, it can become overwhelming.
When things get this busy even the smallest disruption can become a problem. Customer service is magnified many times either good or bad. When you have a little problem and it can’t be solved it can become a monster very quickly. Stress levels elevate and tempers flare. You become a firefighter with lots of little fires and one stubborn one that just won’t go out. In my previous post I talk about just this type of scenario. But just as the “bad” things can be magnified so can the “good” things. Unfortunately when things are so busy it is often hard to say “thanks” to the good people. Those people that go the extra mile and not only take care of the big things but the little ones as well.
This post is about four customer service miracles that I have been a part of over the last couple of weeks. These are the people that have put sanity back into my life. They have given me renewed faith that there are still great people who really do care about others. I just want to say thanks…
1. As school started this year, I had to fly out of state to attend my daughters wedding. The combination of these two events caused a blur in my life. I had to prepare for a trip and delegate things to others on my job. One of the little things that became a concern as we were leaving was where to park our car at the airport. I know this is a little thing but a concern none the less. We were flying out of San Diego Airport and we drove down the street from the airport passing long term lot after long term lot. The prices got cheaper the further we went. It started at $14 per day, then $12, then $10 and finally there was a bright shiny lot with a sign that said $9 per day.
The $9 lot was different from the rest. It looked nice and had a big sign saying free shuttle to the airport. My wife and I were a little early so we pulled in and figured we would have to wait a while for the shuttle. Were we ever surprised when a large shuttle van pulled up behind our car as we parked and the driver helped us get on with our bags. The driver was very personable and quickly drove us to the Alaska Air terminal at the airport. The driver helped us out and even helped us carry our bags inside the terminal. He told us how to contact them when we returned and gave us his card. This was so unexpected. When we returned the following week at 1 in the morning a quick call had that shuttle van there witin 5 minutes. A different driver again helped us in and out with our bags and even offered to put them in our car for us. All this with a smile as well.
Compared to all of the usual hassles of modern air travel this was a welcomed surprise. The people of Park, Shuttle, and Fly $9 dollar parking should be commended for going the “extra” mile.
2. When we arrived in Seattle for the wedding we stayed about 10 miles outside the city at a Hampton Inn in the city of Tukwila. I have never stayed at one before, but I was very surprised at the service, cleanliness and personable staff at the hotel. But the thing that put it over the top was the great breakfast bar and 24 hour gourmet coffee. The food was always fresh and hot and the area was kept spotless. This may be a little thing but it made all of the difference. The attention to detail and the smiling happy faces at the Hampton Inn of Tukwila made our stay in Seattle a memorable one.
3. As we returned to work after the wedding it was back to the usual commute. My wife drives daily on the 91 fwy on her drive into Orange County. This last week she had a rear tire blow out on the FasTrak lane coming home. This is a very high speed lane separated from the rest of the freeway. Luckily she was able to pull off to a protected area in the center of the freeway. She called the Auto Club but before they could arrange for a tow truck the Customer Assistance Patrol Specialist for the FasTrak lanes pulled up. He changed the tire in a few minutes and she was on her way. This service turned a very dangerous situation into a quickly resolved one.
I took her car into America’s Tire on Saturday to get the tire fixed. Their customer service rep came out and looked at the tire. It could not be repaired so we went back inside and he arranged for a replacement. They were very busy and he said it would be about 90 minutes to get it replaced. The tire had about 30,000 miles on it but they replaced it for free. Within 30 minutes I heard my name called in the showroom. My car was done, the spare was put back, and all of the other tires checked and aired up. What great service! Every time I go to America’s Tire I am pleasantly surprised at the friendly, professional service from a tire store.
4. As one of the technology people for our school district I am responsible for a huge amount of student data. Every year this responsibility grows larger and larger as the State of California finds more things that they want to track. Luckily our district uses a student management software called “Aeries” by Eagle software. This software is constantly updated to the changing demands of the state and federal goverments. But with these changes comes a learning curve. This is where the customer service people at Eagle software really shine. Their customer service people are some of the best in the business.
I had a data problem this week that was giving me a really bad time. With the back to school rush their customer service reps are really busy and they try to get problems solved quickly so they can get on to other people. They will usually list out how to do something and have you try it once you get off the phone. While this usually results in success, if it doesn’t work it can be frustrating to have to make another call. That is where Janet of Eagle Software came in. She helped me with two nagging problems and led me through step by step until the problems were solved. It took her a little extra time but it really solved a huge issue for me. That extra 5 minutes made all the difference.
If you work for a school district I highly recommend Eagle Software for Student management and I want to say “thanks” to Janet for going the extra mile this week!
As you can see from the list above, it’s the little unexpected things that make all of the difference. On our jobs it’s good to remember that we can help others be a “success” today by going that “extra mile”. Thanks to all of you who do that on a daily basis!