Over the weekend my car was vandalized. One of the hazards of downtown living and street parking. Yesterday, I called to schedule the replacement of my front windshield. The glass company I was working with connected me to Geico (my insurance company) in order to determine if they would pay for the claim. All three parties were now on the phone.

The process goes something like this:

Step One: Tell the first person at Geico you talk to everything about the situation, give him or her all your information and then…

Step Two: Get sent to the “glass” department to repeat step one

Step Three: Then, get sent to the “claims” department to open a claim and repeat steps one and two

Step Four: Get sent back to, what I can only describe as a “closer.” Repeat all the steps again.

After step two, the “glass guy” asked told me that his aim was to deliver me a “ten” of outstanding service and wanted to know if there was anything that he did that precluded him from getting a ten. I said, “No, you get a ten.”


NOTE: The whole “I want a ten from you customer service thing” that has emerged in the last decade comes from some really solid work by Fred Reichheld and his work entitled, The Ultimate Question. The problem is that companies don’t use his principles in a sound manner. You don’t ask someone at the moment of service, especially if you’re the one giving it, if you got a ten. That creates greater likelihood that the answer will be tainted by external factors.

Back to my story…

The last person- the closer- asked me all the same information. As she launched in, I said,

Dave: Really? We have to do this again?

Closer: What do you mean again? This is the first time you’ve spoken to me.

NOTE: This is a common mistake phone customer service people make. They think your experience with their organization begins with them. They don’t remember that you’ve probably already talked to say, 150 other people before getting to them.

Dave: You’re the fourth person I’ve given my information to. Can’t you see it on a screen.

Closer: (getting testy) Well, Mr. Fleming, it’s the first time you’ve talked with me.

Dave: (thinks to himself) It’s Dr. Fleming

NOTE: The shallow part of me always comes out in these moments.

Closer: (more testy) explains the rest of the procedure and quickly ends the call

Dave- to the “glass person”who heard this whole exchange: Wow, she didn’t ask if I would give her a ten.

Closer: (who actually had not yet hung up) I’m still here Mr. Fleming

Dave: Great, Do you want to know the number I would give you?

Closer: No, I don’t want to know. Goodbye!

The glass person and I laughed.

So, does customer service feedback only matter when the one giving the service does a good job? Or, does it matter, period?

I’d love to know how Geico feels.

I wonder if I could get better rates somewhere else?