Love, Loss, and Customer Service

Zippy (right) pictured next to Zorro (left)

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” — Dr. Seuss.

It’s great advice and so true, but hard as heck to do sometimes.

My wife Ivette wrote that this past week as we both we lost a piece of our heart.

Ivette found Zippy fifteen and a half years ago at an animal shelter where she was on the Board of Directors.

After a Board meeting one of her good friends talked her into going into the back to take a look at a cute JRT that they had found on the side of the road.

I remember Ivette coming home and saying that we needed to go look at a dog. We love dogs, but at the time we were living in a 1,400 sq. foot house with a lab, dalmatian, another jack russell and two cats.

Getting another dog wasn’t something that was on either of our minds any time soon.

But…I knew Ivette well enough that she wouldn’t ask me to look if there wasn’t something special about him.

I can still remember on the ride over to the shelter looking into Ivette’s eyes. I already knew a new member of the White family would be joining us on the ride home.

We walked down the hall between the kennels and about three quarters of the way down was this cute little jack russell jumping up and down and looking right into our eyes.

The look where you can feel it in your soul. The look that felt like he already knew we were coming because of a connection that was always there.

It begs the question, did we find Zip, or did he find us?


Some call that fate. Some call it luck. Some say God makes things happen. Some go on to say there is no rhyme or rhythm to the universe at all, stuff just happens.

You can call it whatever you want, but I believe there’s energy all around us, all the time. You simply have to be open to seeing it.

When I’ve done that, opportunities I never expected opened up.

I digress, back to the story…

The lady at the shelter suggested that we take Zip out back to the play area so see if we liked him.

It was clear to me at this point that Ivette and I were about to put on a show of sorts. An act to demonstrate we were thinking hard about the decision so the lady at the shelter felt good that we really thought about it and it would work out. You already guessed the decision was made before we walked out back.

I’m sure you can think back in your life and relate to one of these moments?

The thing I remember most, aside from Zip’s JRT bossiness, is the level of appreciation he had for us at the get go.

It’s a challenge to put that feeling into words, but he looked at us with such a level of gratitude that if you spent too much time thinking about it, it would break your heart. Thinking how someone could have let him get loose, never look for him, or worse, drop him off on the side of the road.

Sometimes you just don’t know what you passed up.

Ivette does dog agility and gave it a shot with Zip. We were amazed how fast this little guy learned. Not only did he learn fast, he was fast! And he was amazing at agility.

Ivette and Zip traveled the world over following years spanning seven USA world teams winning gold, silver, and bronze, and other shows with too many ribbons and trophies to count. There are several shelves of large bins in our garage filled with them to prove it.

What always struck me as I watched Zip fly around an agility course was that while he was having fun, he was doing it for Ivette. As if it was his way of showing how grateful he was for the love and home we gave him.

He appreciated us as much as we did him.

A funny thing Zip would do…

Zippy loved treats, but when other people would come up to him, because how couldn’t you with a cute little dog like that, to give him treats he didn’t give them the time of day. He would just look around as if they weren’t even there.

It was a little embarrassing at times because people would be so nice and he just ignored them. A few seconds later Ivette would reach down with a treat and he’d eat it like it was the last one left on earth.

The saying goes that practice makes perfect.

I haven’t found that to be true with losing someone close. I think you do lose a little piece of your heart.

The good news…

As time passes and you get used to the new normal, it allows some space to think about all the fun times, the good times, and how appreciative we are to have that other soul in our lives.

In all my memories that have passed through my mind over the last week, I can’t think of anything that Zip did bad. And trust me, as cute as they are, Jack Russells can be naughty as all get out. Zip was no exception to that.

I’ve asked myself why none of those naughty things have come to mind.

And pose this question to you…

Love may be binary, but doesn’t it feel like it 10x’s itself when someone else lets you know how grateful they are to have you in their life on a regular basis?

That’s the effect Zip had on us and I believe that’s what makes us miss him even more. He was one of a kind.

There’s a few valuable lessons in this story. And…

Let’s take the opportunity to focus on one that can make your business better, Customer Service.

A little over a week ago we had an absolutely terrible experience with one of the services we use here at the EDGE.

It’s 4:30pm last Friday, I was wrapping things up for the day and take one last look at my email to see if there’s anything pressing.

I see an email from the service I mentioned. The email read:

Hi Brandon,

Please note our Accounting team has locked your account.

Please update your billing information and follow up with Kristin to get your account unlocked.

[email protected]

company name

The first thing I think is, what’s wrong with our credit card? We use the company card about every day, we’re never close to our limit so that’s out of the question, and doesn’t expire until 2025.

But hey, things happen sometimes right?

I log into our credit card company’s website to check a charge from another company the day before and see if there’s any alerts on the account. No issues.

I go back to the company’s website and figure I’ll just enter in the same credit card and see what happens.

When I do that I get an error on their site that said there was an issue with the site and it couldn’t accept payment at this time.

I do what I believe anyone would do, write back and say I checked the card and there is no issue. And…to double check things I went to re-enter our card and the site again said it there was an error with the site.

And I added the question, “What warrants locking our account on a Friday afternoon when we’ve never been late on anything and the card has worked fine for years.”

I immediately get a reply:

I am out of the office and will return on Monday October 17th.

If this is an emergency please follow up per the following:

Emails of contacts

I will be getting back to emails on the 17th.

I appreciate your patience.
company name

How mad would you be if you got that auto reply?

I go to their site and look for a customer support phone number. None to be found.

Given we need this service over the weekend I put in a support ticket with customer support explaining the problem with their site. And I attached several screen shots showing I tried with different browsers.

I write back to Rob and explain that I find it problematic that they send out an email about locking our account on a Friday afternoon and aren’t providing a way to resolve it. BTW, I also copied accounting on this email, who apparently had already left for the weekend.

In the email I also include my personal phone number and ask that someone call me so I can give them our credit card over the phone since their website isn’t working, they have no phone number to call and I’m not sending my credit card over an unencrypted email.

To Rob’s credit he gets back to me and after some more back and forth, which I’m not going to bore with, he says that he’s allowing us basic upload features so we can at least upload if we need to.

He signs the last exchange with,

“Sorry we can’t unlock the account until you resolve the billing issue next week with Kristin.”

He wouldn’t even call me to take my credit card.

Oh wait, it get’s better. I’ll make it brief…

When I go to upload a file I realize I have a typo in the text field and need to correct it.

I go to edit it, but Rob locked the ability to do that. So I can upload, but can’t correct anything. I’d probably rather have not been able to upload at all vs. having to leave an error out there.

What the hell?!!!!

At this point I’m pretty mad and I start to write an emil, correction, essay about how this is some of the worst customer service I’ve ever had. Yada, yada, yada.

At the end of it I thought to myself,

“You know what, if they would lock your account on a Friday and not even call you when you offered, they just don’t give a crap about their customers.”

I deleted the email.

Monday morning we get a response from their Customer Service saying there was something wrong with their site. And went on to ask that I try again to enter it.

Not long after follows an email from Rob:

Hi Brandon,
The account is fully unlocked.

No, “Sorry about the problem.” No, “Hey really sorry, we appreciate your business, it was our fault here’s X for the trouble.” No anything else.

My reply to that email.

“Please let me know what we need to do to cancel our account.

Thank you, Brandon”

Customer Service is Your Opportunity to Increase Sales

Lately, I’ve had some similar customer service experiences across totally different types of companies on multiple issues.

I’m not sure if it’s an effect of the recession we’re in and everyone cutting costs or what. But, I was talking with several friends over the last week and in the course of the conversation a poor customer service experience seemed to come up with them too.

Consider this….

Every year, businesses lose a total of $75 billion due to poor customer service.*

According to data from Emplify, 17% of customers will leave a company after just one negative customer care experience.

While 86% of customers will leave a company after two negative customer service interactions. And 73% of customers will leave a brand after just a few poor interactions, according to a 2022 Coveo report.*

It really got me thinking about our business, how we approach customer service. How we can do better.

More data to support this thought:

A Gorgrias study* showed in an analysis of over 10,000 online businesses, that raising CSAT score by just one point, from 4 to 4.9, lifts overall revenue by 4%.

What happened with that service we canceled?

First, the sad part: The company had a chance to save us as a customer.

All they had to do was demonstrate their appreciation of us as a customer. 10X some love on us. With that I would have still been mad for a minute, but forgiven the problem and eventually probably not remembered it happened.

That didn’t happen even after my email about canceling.

We made the switch to a new company. Their onboarding was easy. Their interface is excellent and they have better stats.

Here’s the kicker for you…

They are missing some features that we loved with the other company.

But you know what?

Their customer service is a 4.9 out of 5. We’re staying.

Evidence that you can have an OK product or service, but provide excellent customer service, and beat your competition.

Don’t cut costs in your customer service in a down economy, double down. It’s simple math, it’s cheaper to keep a customer and sell them more than acquiring a new one!

Appreciate your customers like Zip appreciated me and Ivette and see what happens to your sales!

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It’s full of great information and other articles just like this one. This piece is from my 10/23/22, Week 44 update.

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SOURCES: Gorgias: ,

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