One area where my customer-service demon really falls down—or is extra-tricky, depending on your viewpoint—is the matter of service calls and deliveries of large items.
When I purchased a bed last week, we asked about delivery options, and the salesguy told us that his delivery people always showed up during the scheduled 4-hour window. "Once," he told us, "we even got a sort of complaint that they showed up too early."
Aha, thought I; I'd better be there early. 'Cause almost every time I've ever had a four-hour (or two-hour) window for some service or delivery person to show up during, they've arrived early. Except for cabs, which once in a while fail to show up at all. But even with cabs, a cab once arrived half an hour early to pick me up, saw someone else waiting at the curb, assumed that was their passenger, and drove off with them.
So today's delivery was scheduled for sometime in the 8 a.m. to noon time block. I was up past 1:30 clearing out space in my room to make it possible for them to deliver a bed, then set an alarm and woke up around 7:20. Dragged myself out of bed at 7:30, moved a few last items out of the way, went downstairs at 7:40, only to hear my doorbell rung, twice in rapid succession. I opened the door, and the delivery guy was on the verge of leaving; he had already put a "Sorry we missed you" tag on the door. "Were you out earlier?" he said.
"I was asleep," I said. "I was expecting you between 8 and noon."
"Yeah, well we had three cancellations," he said.
On the one hand, he continued to be surly the whole time they were here. On the other hand, they did nicely move my futon downstairs (which would've been a big pain for me to do even with help), and the entire operation from my opening the door to their leaving took only about ten minutes.
On the "Sorry we missed you" card, they didn't write in a time when they were here, just circled "a.m."; then they wrote "Call B-4 8:15 a.m. or call to reschedule We are around the corner at donut shop."
If I hadn't heard the doorbell when they rang it, I probably wouldn't have seen the card 'til midafternoon, if then. A card on the door is only a timely contact method if the person you're trying to contact is outside when you put it there. To be fair, I suppose they assumed I was outside. It looks like they left me phone messages, but I unplug my phone at night to avoid being woken up by wrong numbers (which used to happen regularly). But I suspect they didn't ring the doorbell earlier; it's pretty loud, and I'd be surprised if I slept through it.
Anyway. It did arrive, and they were very helpful and efficient, and the whole thing—including the blogging of it—is done practically before I was expecting it to start, so I can't really complain. Any more than I've just done, anyway.