Be a Good Customer and maybe you won’t have to apologize later like I had to.
This is a good customer service story and I’m the one who is the bad customer. But that’s okay. I have already apologized to the service representative who I was a bad customer to.
The Story: Last week I went down to the bike room on the first floor of the fifteen floor Chicago building where I live. My bike was not there so it was obviously stolen. Duh. Fuming, I ended up taking a cab to work and, as the day went by, I began to go through the emotions one feels when something of value to them is stolen. I felt bad. Really, really bad.
To add full context and color to my story, this same week my bike was stolen, the washer machine broke, and I’m just coming down from a “working summer” where I have launched a new business so cash-flow is pinched. I have also been MIA in my relationship and fretting that I’ve not been a good friend to my posse or my bestie who’s still in the hospital. My motorcycle has been out-of-order the entire short riding-season of Chicago and I’m cranky, all the time. There’s more, but everyone has their own country song they could sing…
On the day my bike was stolen, I texted my boyfriend about it. Blunt. Angry. Venting. He immediately told me I should email the condo management company. After all, I had just paid $36 to them so that I could have sticker put on my bike. All the old decrepit bikes without stickers and left by tenants who had moved out, years before, were to be removed.
In My Defense: I wasn’t quite ready to email the condo association because I was in funk, and not necessarily from having my bike being stolen. I thought, in my state, that no good could come of me emailing anyone about the situation. But my partner, sweet guy that he is, was trying to make me feel better and, maybe get my bike back. He had already called our friend, the condo board president, so the ball was in motion. I wrote the email.
In my email to the condo management association I stated that the bike was gone. In the email I had also begged them, challenged them, to not respond to my email. I stated that, if I got a form letter or a letter where they might be posturing themselves against a possible lawsuit, or anything like that, that I would be angry or sad. I also expressed my distrust of all condo management companies as well as the police; in regards to filing a stolen-bike report. (I’ve had past experiences with a past bad management companies and a bad police officer.)
The worst part of the email could have been my snide comment about how uncanny it was that, after I purchased a bike sticker, my bike was stolen. In my angry state, I imagined that, maybe, my bike was accidentally taken as one of the old bikes and that the person who removed it did not see the sticker. Stupid idiot…
Two days later and, after I was in a much better state, I walked to my gym and there it was, my bike, minus the seat. I know, right?! Why couldn’t the bike-seat thief just have taken the whole bike so I wouldn’t have to email the condo management company an apology? So, duh, I ended up being the bad customer in my story and I had to make it right.
To wrap up: Nikki, at the condo management company was so sweet. She laughed it off and said it was “no problem” after I sent her an apology email with a promise to write this blog. (I teach social media and customer service!) But my story got me to thinking: How could I have been more like my “old self?” the positive guy who prides himself on being a good communicator and a good customer? As I stated before, this is a good customer service story so I’ll tell you my four tips on how I should have handled this situation.
4 Tips How to Be a Good Customer: