I can’t go into Home Depot now without whining that they don’t offer baskets throughout the store. You know, the little ones you carry when your arms are full of duct tape, cabinet door hinges and paint brushes. Just as you’re about to drop everything, you find the one thing you forgot you needed: Swiffer dust cloths. Now, at Lowe’s I could skip to the end of the aisle and drop everything into a basket and be happy.
But, no. I have to get cranky, because I’ve come to expect Home Depot to understand my plight and pre-empt my need with the solution.
I’ve become very critical, and I blame Dan Gilbert.
Dan Gilbert, Bill Emerson and everyone who leads us here at Quicken Loans are to blame for my heightened critical eye, because they all demand excellent customer service. They expect everyone to pay attention. They have created a bubble of excellence that makes it really, really hard to wander outside the walls of Quicken Loans and encounter people who just don’t care, or who have some sort of chip on their shoulder.
Providing great customer service is not hard. In fact, the more you do it, you realize that it’s actually easier to be excellent in the first place, rather than trying to fix the experience after turning off a client or customer. Great customer service really does boil down to the simple things. Anticipating needs and then meeting them. Listening like you are doing the talking. Doing what you say you will do.
It’s easy to find the blatant examples of poor customer service, where the person delivering the service was rude or negligent. I zero in on some of the more subtle things. Like the receptionist who scheduled x-rays for my son.
"I’d like to schedule an x-ray for my son. We want to know if his adenoids need to be removed," I began.
"So you need a [something-something] soft tissue [garbled-nonsense]," the receptionist replied.
"We need an x-ray of his adenoids," I said, hoping to clear up the matter.
"Yes, that’s a lateral soft tissue [garbled-nonsense]," she responded.
Okay. I get it. She knows the "right" terminology. Does that deny my son an x-ray? Of course not. Did she not understand me? She completely understood me. Being elitist does not provide great service. It alienates the customer. Clearly, she was right, I was wrong. (I still don’t know the exact name of the x-ray my son received, but his adenoids are now out, and he’s much happier. Whatever.)
It sucks working at Quicken Loans because this stuff jumps out at me in a bubble where it’s not tolerated. Dan and Bill are out to change the world. I, for one, don’t think it’s catching on fast enough.