Do you ever feel disappointed by poor customer service and walk away feeling frustrated? Maybe it caused you to reflect and wonder where good customer service is heading. If so, I am very proud of you. You get it!

Odds are you have a much different understanding of what life is about. It indicates how you were raised or the way you have always lived your life. Regardless of the reasons your expectations are commendable!

Last week Deb and I stopped at a well-known fast-food restaurant. The guy behind the counter was 40 or so. He joked with every customer but kept the line moving. He was funny. He counted the change and used humor at the same time as he connected with everyone. He served much more than hamburgers!

Think about the irony of even remembering this experience? Why should I get excited about having someone treat me nice? Good customer service really should not surprise us!

Sadly enough poor customer service is just part of the trend we are seeing in many businesses today. “They” are forced to employ warm bodies that are willing to go to work on time. “Their” employees earn money but are not engaged. It doesn’t have to be that way.

As Jim Collins indicated in his book Good to Great, it starts with “getting the right people on the bus”. If we fail to get the right people on the bus it’s kind of like teaching a pig to dance. We will be frustrated and so will the pig!

I’ve worked hard through the years to improve customer service at John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical. It starts with our team. Our applicants go through a personality survey to see if their seven basic personality traits fit the job description. If so, the applicant has a better chance of succeeding and will be happier as we manage those traits to build successful careers.

Our interview process typically takes three hours or so, not including the criminal history or drug and alcohol testing. How important are criminal history checks? Two applicants had bench warrants and after phone calls were handcuffed during the interview. One was considered dangerous. Where are they working today? I believe in redemption, but also believe it is essential to provide trusted technicians in your homes.

I am involved in the final interview process because a company can only be as good as its employees. It’s important to understand what’s in the hearts of people and the interview process typically brings that out. Since customer service is important, we hire for attitude and train for skill.

Providing good plumbing, heating, and air conditioning service is serious stuff. People can get sick or die if it is not done right. Poor quality of work can also be costly. Low prices should not drive decisions.

Training and communication are important. Our company has a Learning Center; it’s not a Board Room! The “Free Zone” in the Learning Center gives us a place to have open communication.John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s team is encouraged to speak their minds respectfully with no fear of retaliation by managers. This allows an opportunity to fix problems before they get out of hand.

I extend that “Free Zone” out to you too. If John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical ever falls short of your expectations, we need to know. I want you to be a customer for life and not the customer that quietly goes away. It’s too easy to make a mistake and no one wins if we fall short. We work on shortcomings to stay your best choice. Thanks in advance for your input. It is appreciated!

How do we measure our direction? John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical is the only plumbing, heating, and air conditioning company in our community that has won the Better Business Bureau Integrity Award. We also won the Lennox Centurion Award two years in a row which goes only to the upper 5% of Lennox dealers in North America. We won the KFOR Best of Lincoln in 2012 which was given for the first time to a plumbing, heating, and air conditioning company. Thanks, Lincoln!

My expectations of John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical are always high. I also understand the bar may naturally be lower for others, but there is no excuse to accept poor service. That’s when I offer free unsolicited suggestions!

Hopefully, this article hits home and makes a difference to those that expect good customer service. It’s OK to be vocal. We do not have to settle for mediocre!

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