Five-Star Service. When is the last time you experienced service that was truly five-star? Has it been a while? I don’t know about you, but it’s been ages since I have. In fact, I recently had an experience that was a tipping point. It was, in a manner of speaking, sort of a last straw for me. Let me share it with you.
I’ve been an Amazon shopper from the beginning. I love being able to shop whenever I want and get my stuff delivered right to my door. Amazon has always been great at that. When they rolled out the “Amazon Prime” membership, I immediately signed up so I could select Prime items and get my orders delivered in two days without paying for shipping. Even better!
On Amazon I order everything from dog food to bicycle parts, from office supplies to socks, and I get it in two days without spending a dime for freight. And I love it! Recently, however, I’ve begun to notice a trend: Things shipped by UPS have started arriving late.
Now UPS has always been an outstanding company, well… until recently, that is. Lately, the “S” seems to be missing from United Parcel Service. Of the last ten orders I placed from Amazon, nine of them were delivered a day or more late by UPS. Oh they shipped out on time but UPS turned 2nd day air into 3rd or 4th or even more.
Today I received a 2nd day air shipment 7 days after it was shipped or 5 full days late! My thought was, “What happened to UPS? They used to be such an excellent company.” And then I reflected on all the other companies I deal with. AT&T, Time Warner, and dozens more. Bad service seems to be the new normal.
Some types of companies are far worse than others. Let’s face it: technology companies are notorious for bad service. Don’t believe me, just try opening a support ticket at Yahoo!, or Bing, or Microsoft, or Apple, or Google, or Top Producer, or Zillow, or Trulia or Realtor.com. Good luck ever even getting a reply. You’ll need even better luck trying to find a phone number that connects to a human.
I decided that that would never happen at Guerilla Realty. We will have five-star service even if nobody else does. Five-star service is precisely why I give out my direct phone number and email address. That’s why I actually answer my own email and phone calls too. Five-star service is why we disbanded our technology sales force back in 2006. We didn’t want to let our growth outpace our ability to properly serve the agents who joined us. And it’s worked, too.
Well lately — even without a sales force — we’ve been growing very rapidly. In fact, just last week we set an all-time daily sales record and yet we don’t have a single salesperson. Word has gotten out and demand for the Ultimate Website has been phenomenal. Since we run a very lean staff to keep our prices affordable, it is sometimes very difficult to keep up with the growth and assimilate and train all the new agents beginning to use our technology.
So, after the frustration of my recent UPS experience, I had to take a hard look at my own company and ask myself if our customer service was still five-star. Just because you once had five-star is no guarantee that it will continue. Let’s not forget that UPS was once a great company and deliveries from coast to coast were regularly done in only two days. This week delivering a package a mere six hundred miles took them seven full days.
I don’t know about you but I am determined that my company is never going to have that kind of lousy service, even if it is the “new normal”. To do that we’ve had to make some tough choices: We’ve limited our rate of growth in order to focus on providing five-star service and training to the agents who use my Ultimate Website. As much as I didn’t want it to be true, bringing in lots of new agents limits my ability to serve those who have already placed their trust in my company.
Something else we’ve done is provide unlimited personal coaching for agents who sign up instead of just pointing them to our online training and wishing them well. Of course we still provide lots of first-rate, online training, but for some agents that little personal connection makes a huge difference. If you’re an Ultimate Website user, you already know what I’m talking about. You have a personal coach and of course, you always have direct access to me. Customer service can never be perfect but our company has determined to be light years ahead of many of the lead generation companies we compete with.