Earlier this evening, I tried to go out through our garage door. I say I tried because when I pushed the button, the garage door rose about a foot or two and stopped. Uh-oh. It seems that one of the springs was broken and as I needed to go out tomorrow morning (and both our cars were in the garage), we did a search for a place that could come out and do the repair tonight. We found two places that advertised 24 hour emergency repair but only one could come out this evening. I would have to wait until 11:00 tomorrow morning for the other place. Hmm... that doesn't sound like emergency 24 hour repair service to me. Oh well, there must have been a rash of broken garage doors this evening.
Within about 30 minutes the repairman called. He was on his way. He arrived at our door and went right to work. He was courteous and efficient and when he left, the garage door was working perfectly. So what was the problem? Well, you see, when I had visited the website and set up the appointment, I discovered there was an internet coupon (with no expiration date) for 10% off on any garage repair service. Great! My husband calls them "coo-pons" and I call them "cue-pons" but anyway you say them, I love coupons!
The repairman did not accept the coupon. According to my husband, he knew nothing about such a coupon and therefore did not honor it. Hmm... oh well, I would call the company, tell them their employee had not known about this, they would apologize and reimburse me. Such things had happened to me before and all would be well. Silly me.
When I called the call center and attempted to explain the problem I was hung up on not once but three times. Apparently my address was "not in the system" and therefore I was calling the wrong company. The fourth time, I got someone else and managed to blurt out that I had my phone record right in front of my face and not only had I called them several hours ago; I had record that they had called me back to confirm the appointment. Hmm... this person was much more receptive and told me to hang on.
Sigh... the man who got back on the line was the same man who had hung up on me three time. He was much more civil this time at least. He was willing to listen to me even though he kept muttering something about my not being in the system. I ignored his muttering and got down to business. Were they going to honor my coupon? No. Apparently the subcontractor had given me a good price already and therefore they were not going to honor the coupon. "Besides", he muttered under his breath, I wasn't in the system so the work must have been done by a different company even though his company had called me back two hours before to confirm the appointment. Grrr!!! I ignored his muttering and said whether or not I had been charged a good price was not the question. The coupon did not say it was only valid if you spent a certain amount of money. It said 10% off of any garage door repair. His response was that the price I had been quoted was more than a 10% discount. Why someone else could have charged me three times as much for the work done so I should be satisfied. Huh? My last comment was that I would be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau as I believed it was wrong for them to not honor their own unexpired coupon.
I wrote my complaint a little while ago and provided a picture of the website showing the coupon in question as well as the call log which revealed that not only had I contacted them earlier that evening but they had contacted me as well. I stressed that my complaint was not in regard to the workmanship. It was their refusal to honor their advertised discount. It was a matter of integrity.
As I wrote the complaint, I was reminded of the days when my husband and I operated a small business. It was not enough to merely do the work. We needed to be fair and honest in our dealing with our customers. If we were running a special we needed to honor it. If we made a mistake, we needed to admit it and try to make it right. We needed to show integrity.
In contrast, I was at the grocery store the other day and had ordered a pound of potato salad at the deli. When I went through the check-out lane, I was a bit surprised at the cost and checked my receipt. I paid how much for the potato salad? I checked the container to discover that instead of one pound, I had one and a half pounds. Now perhaps that isn't a big deal but I was on a very tight budget and I didn't need that much. I went to customer service and asked to speak to a manager.
He handled the situation beautifully. He politely listened to my story without interruption. Rather than tell me it was no big deal, he stepped into "my shoes" and said that if I had requested a certain amount, I should not be given more than what I had asked for any more than I should be given less. At this point, he had been so courteous that I found myself saying, "Well, I should have checked I suppose."
No, that was not my responsibility. It was the employee's responsibility to try to do their best to give me the amount I had asked for and if it was over, they needed to ask me if that was okay. Sometimes the customer is fine with the overage but sometimes they are not. He would make sure this incident was reported to the deli manager who would ensure that all deli employees were aware that this was the proper procedure. In the meantime, "we will give you a refund for the amount you did not order and please accept our apology for your being inconvenienced."
What a difference! At the moment, there is a bad taste in my mouth when I think about the first company even though the work itself was done well. The reverse is true in regards to the second company. What is the difference? Integrity. As Christians we must make sure we are people of integrity.