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What does awesome customer service look like? It looks like this. And this. And this.

What does vomitous, nauseating, infuriating, God-awful, crappy customer service look like?

It looks a lot like the guy who came over to fix our AC the other day.

This guy was so bad, I threated to “name names” in a Facebook update about the incident. I've cooled down a little since then, but I will tell you that he works for a St. Louis-area HVAC company whose name includes (with absolutely no hint of irony at all) the word “Excellence.”

Here's what happened:

  1. He was rude, showing no interest at all in the details that an obviously uneducated moron like me could provide about the problem.
  2. He immediately put me to work, asking me to bring him my garden hose, my screwdriver, my flashlight, completely unable to grasp the concept that I had hired him to do some actual work.
  3. He spent all of two minutes looking at our AC system before diagnosing the problem as a “maintenance” issue. Translation: Hey, stupid homeowner — it's your fault.
  4. He reported to our home warranty company that the problem was ours. The warranty company then, understandably, denied the claim.
  5. He quoted me a price of nearly $4,000 to replace the entire system.

I said “Thanks” and called someone else for a second opinion. Here's what they did for us:

  1. They politely and extensively quizzed me about the problem.
  2. They inspected the system front and back, asking questions every step of the way and explaining the issues in plain English.
  3. They ran a number of sophisticated tests to determine where the actual problem was hidden.
  4. They told me, incredulously, that the problem was not our fault and that the warranty company should pay for all repairs.
  5. They instructed me to call the warranty company and explain the situation. They even told me exactly what to tell the claims adjuster so he would understand that we were not at fault.
  6. They worked with the warranty company to authorize the appropriate work.
  7. They returned promptly to fix the problem.

Customer service is that easy, people. Be nice. Ask the right questions. Listen. Explain in simple terms. Do what you say you'll do. Follow up. Solve problems. Make the customer happy.

That's exactly what Doyle Patton Service did for us. If you live in St. Louis and need some work on your heating / cooling system, give 'em a call. I'll vouch for them.

Or, you could go the other way and risk ticking off someone like me — someone with a big mouth and a lot of friends.

In a social world, is that a risk you really want to take?

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