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Are You Getting Quality of Care vs Getting Serviced?

by | Sep 28, 2017 | Brain Health, Personal Experiences, Practical Suggestions | 0 comments

Are you getting true quality of care, or are you getting serviced?This blog is more of a vent than deep insight or great knowledge.  I hope you find it informative. I truly would like to hear your feedback on whether you have been getting quality of care or have been “getting serviced”.

Throughout my life, I’ve lived in various parts of the United States and what I’ve observed for decades from the craft person, to small business and the larger corporation is we took pride in excellence.  We were given quality of care. This is still true for most craft people and small businesses. However, in the last month from Sears, National Grid and Benjamin Moore Paints, I’ve been “serviced”.

Now before I go into my lengthy story of how I personally got “serviced” by these companies, I want to give a definition of service. My brother, Dan Roberts, loves to send me funny verses and jokes.  This was one of the better ones and applies to my recent experience with Sears… I now know why they are going out of business.

Subject: Clarification of the word ‘Service’:

I became confused when I heard the word “Service” used with these agencies:

  • Internal Revenue ‘Service’
  • U.S. Postal ‘Service’
  • Telephone ‘Service’
  • Cable TV ‘Service’
  • Civil ‘Service’
  • State, City, County & Public ‘Service’
  • Customer ‘Service’

This is not what I thought ‘Service’ meant. But today, I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had hired a bull to ‘Service’ a few cows. BAM!!! It all came into focus. Now I understand what all those agencies are doing to us. We are getting serviced!!!!!

I hope that you are now just as enlightened as I am.

Sears – Being “Serviced”

Now my story of all things is about a refrigerator.  I had a Whirlpool refrigerator for over twenty years, and it worked great. It also fit perfectly into my kitchen cabinets.  If any of you have tried to replace your appliances, you keenly know how difficult it is to get a replacement that actually fits your present kitchen cabinets! Thus, you now have the expense of a new appliance along with redoing your kitchen cabinets.

Well, I looked high and low and finally found a refrigerator with an ice maker that would fit my current kitchen cabinets. Yeah. To my surprise it was another Whirlpool.  Okay, now where to find the best price?  I searched and found one at Sears.  I was thrilled to know a reputable company that I’ve used for years would provide my new refrigerator. Recently, I’ve been puzzled how such a landmark of a corporation was closing so many stores around the country. Now I know why from my recent experience. So, to go on with my story, I ordered the refrigerator only to find out that the ice maker was a separate item which had to be ordered and paid for separately. Which we did, however we received not one, but two ice makers.  Neither was compatible with the refrigerator. In addition, I decided I would have my plumber to install the ice maker, however, the Sears Customer Service representative said that was not needed. They informed me that the delivery person would install my ice maker for me for free.  Initially, I thought… Wow, this is great. What fantastic service! Boy was I wrong.

Delivery Day or to be correct Being Serviced Day!

Due to my health issues, I was at my oncologist’s office and I asked two staff members to be available for the Sears Delivery person, since I have a home office.  We went over all the information that the Sears Customer Service representative provided me.

The Sears truck pulled in with two Sears “Service” men, who rolled out the refrigerator.  One service person was nice, while the other was arrogant, hostile, abrasive and rude.  They removed the previous refrigerator as quick as they could, then replaced it with the new one.  When my staff asked about the ice maker, the rude “Service” guy, said, “We don’t do that!”. My staff explained the situation and how Sears Customer Service clearly stated that delivery person would install the ice maker, not a plumber.  Where about he started laughing at my staff, saying, “Yeah, Sears will tell you lots of things, trust me. I’ve been working for them for two years and you can call them all you want, they wouldn’t care.”

They quickly departed leaving my staff with one used ice maker, and two new ice makers.

When I arrived home from the doctor’s appointment, I heard the bad news from my staff, upon which I immediately had my office manager call Sears, since I had patients waiting.  She called Sears Customer Service and complained that we did not have a plumber on site, because they told us that the plumber was not needed since their delivery person would install the ice maker.   Also, she noted to the Sears Customer Service representative how rude, arrogant and hostile the second service person was to my staff.   The response from the Sears Customer Service representative was to dismiss and blow off our complaint.

Subsequently, my office manager called our “local” plumber, Stark and Cronk, Groveland, MA, who has only provided “quality” care for over 37 years to my home office.  They responded immediately and Bruce was at my home office within a day.  However, he discovered that the ice makers sent by Sears were not compatible with the new refrigerator!  He also noted how poorly the refrigerator was installed.  We arranged for him to come back and install the correct ice maker when it arrived, and reinstall the refrigerator.  Now mind you, I already paid Sears for this service!

My office manager ordered a new ice maker from Whirlpool, who did manage to send us the correct one.  When it arrived, Bruce came back and installed it, and then properly installed the new refrigerator…. With professional, exceptional, timely, and courteous…quality care. This was in complete contrast to when my office manager called back Sears Customer “Service” to figure out what to do with the wrong ice makers they sent.  No surprise, she was told to call a different department to get a return authorization.  When she finally got through to someone she was told that they can’t allow the ice maker to be returned without returning the entire brand-new refrigerator (which was now properly installed by my plumber at an additional cost!).

My office manager has had to make several phone calls, and follows up almost daily to get reimbursement for non- compatible ice makers. She finally got a return address, we had to pay for return shipping, and as of today’s blog, we still have not heard from them!  I am out the cost of three ice makers, plus service calls, plus return shipping, plus the cost of plumbing, in addition to all of the time my staff spent trying to rectify this situation!   Now this is what I call being “Serviced”!

National Grid– Being “Serviced”

In mid-August, I went to Cape Cod for my yearly vacation. I rented a small cottage from a wonderful person. Upon arrival on a Saturday, there was a note on the door from National Grid, where upon, I gave it to the owner of the cottage. The next day there wasn’t any hot water in the cottage. Knowing it was Sunday, I didn’t call the owner until Monday morning.  She was very upset to hear my dilemma and told me she would immediately call National Grid Customer Service.  In the meantime, she said I could use her outdoor shower, for which I was very grateful.

No one from National Grid showed up on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, even though she was calling 2x per day and explained I was a summer tenant. When did the finally show up, you ask? Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m.! Now I’m NOT an early bird and she did tell them I was on VACATION! However, they didn’t care that they woke me up or that I had no hot water for days while vacationing.  In addition, when they showed up and woke me up, they were upset that I had no idea where the heating system was.  We had to call the owner.  It took them over an hour to fix the heater.

Both the cottage homeowner and I (National Grid “services” my home/office area) are longtime National Grid customers. Yet, neither one of us received any sort of explanation as to the delay or even an apology for the inconvenience.  What has happened to customer service in corporate America?  Again, this experience is another example of  “Being Serviced”.

Benjamin Moore Paints— Being “Serviced”

My father and grandfather each owned a hardware store.  I remember the paint suppliers would provide “Quality Care” to both the store owners and to the customers. Recently, my deck needed to be stained. My painter of 30 years, Tony Spirito, who provides beyond excellent quality care, went and bought the newest Benjamin Moore Stain “ARBORCOAT”.  This new stain is advertised as an all-weather stain. Well, he used this product to stain the deck last year, and my deck this spring looked awful. There were white streaks and dark streaks. Tony seeing this was extremely upset.  He went back to hardware store where he bought the stain to speak with the Benjamin Moore representative. However, the store owner said the company no longer has “paint advisors” as they had since I was a child.  Tony went to several other stores to ask about why this happened.  Guess what?  No luck.  Tony even tried calling the company directly.  No luck.  Guess what?  We got “Serviced”!

Not knowing what to do, he re-sanded the entire deck and used another product.  We are keeping our fingers crossed for a better outcome.

Quality of Care or Corporate Greed?

In these situations, we have had to spend significant time and money trying to resolve issues that quite frankly should have been addressed immediately by the business. At what cost does quality customer service come and why has customer service become a commodity in big businesses?

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I want to hear from you to know if you are still seeing “Quality of Care” or is corporate greed causing us to get “Serviced”?

And share your suggestions on how we can return to getting the Quality of Care that was noted in “America Made”.  I still see it in local business and crafts people. How can we tell corporate America?  Or maybe they are getting our message as Sears is closing several stores, as well as Kmart, Toys-R-Us, Macy’s and many more.

I have given you my thoughts and feelings.   I look forward to hearing from you.

– Dr. Diane

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Dr. Diane® Roberts Stoler, Ed.D.
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Dr. Diane is a catalyst for change

Image Credit Elaine Boucher

Within each person shines an inner light that illuminates our path and is the source of hope. Illness, trauma, suffering and grief can diminish the light and shroud hope. I am a catalyst for hope and change, offering a way to rekindle this inner light.

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