Advance Advice

Tips, insights, and news from our experienced team.


The Customer Should Matter

The letter below is an actual customer service complaint I recently sent to an unnamed large organization.  The names have been omitted so as not to be accused of disparagement. 😊

The moral of the story can be summed up thusly; Whether your company is Mom and Pop or Monster Sized, Best practices, training, commitment to continuous improvement, review, and an actual customer service grid that identifies and empowers individuals to fix issues before they get out of hand.

Everybody makes mistakes, it is part of being human.  Strong client bridges easily bear the weight of a mistake or a misstep, or even two or three (if you demonstrate that you are on it and fixing it and helping to bear the cost of the mistake) but at some point, the bridge collapses, making a mess for everyone.

An ounce of planning is worth a pound of cure as my pappy used to say. 

Stay Curious my Friends.


The following is an actual customer service email, from an actual customer.


Dear xxxxxxxxx,

Thanks for the update.

While I appreciate the protocols for rest after storm damage, it is difficult to for me imagine that in a company with 6 billion dollars in equity and 30 billion in assets that a crew could not be made available for a simple install that was requested more than 2 months ago and has been delayed multiple times.

This is honestly theatre of the absurd at this point.  I have now rearranged my schedule twice due to these delays and our builder has had to juggle rescheduling contractors’ multiple times.  The house itself has been done for over a month – the net delay will wind up being 2 months which will cost us a couple thousand dollars in interest on top of the aggravation.

While I recognize that I am 1 customer of millions and just a cog or a number in the maw that is XXX XXXXX, and I don’t have a choice since I can’t build a power plant in my back yard or dam the red cedar river for hydro-electric power, still, I am a customer and that is supposed to mean something.  I took a look at the XXXX website today and found this;


Our values of Caring, Empowered, Deliberate, Agility, and Ownership are alive and well in our culture today. We’re working to ensure our employees can experience them every day. They align with XXX XXXXX strategy and drive all our actions.

May I respectfully say that, in our case, you all have demonstrated a distinct lack of evidence of anyone being deliberate, empowered, agile, or taking ownership and truly caring (with the exception of XXXXX XXXXX who has been diligent to follow up even when she has only bad news).  At this point, sorry for the inconvenience does not cut it.  It is a shame we don’t have a choice – if we did, based on the way we have been treated, we would say see ya! With a rueful smile.  I hope we do get power Monday – perhaps we will still move in to our new home with time to sell our old one before the school year starts for the new families that comprise our target market for selling.  I would be remiss if I did not mention that we had similar issues with having the service removed from this property prior to tearing the old house down.  That request also took several months to be completed delaying the teardown and ground breaking of the new construction, so I know the service issues are not a “one-off”.

I own a customer service business here in Michigan and have done my best to serve my customers well for over 30 years.  I wouldn’t have ANY customers if I treated them the way we have been treated these last 9 months.  On a brighter note, I now have a training example for all of my new recruits with multiple real world examples of how not to treat customers 😊.

I hope that you can receive this constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is intended (please try harder to live up to your corporate “cultural values”)  – and can do a better job serving the next poor soul who looks forward to moving into a new home.  As for me – till I am convinced otherwise by a change in performance – I’ll just chuckle and say “XXXXXX XXXXX – Don’t count on us – we’ll get there when we get there and you’ll like it – or not – we don’t really care, and it shows”

Blaine S.Schultz
Literally, a LIFELONG customer of XXXX XXXXX

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