Sometimes we find the “Devil in the Details”. I recall when I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer that it took a little time to understand just what I was facing and understand the “rules of the game” so to speak and how to deal with what was ahead. Well…not that renting a temporary apartment while away from home is “Prostate Cancer”, but for sure when the ink is dry you do begin to find out truly what you are facing and the quality of the folks you’re dealing with.
Now, first things first, as a business ethics speaker I often write about experiences both good and bad. My readers (which vary from time to time) know that I am willing to be transparent. I make mistakes and find that accepting responsibility for them is healthy and beneficial. But, there are times when I find that business organizations – like Rosemont at Patewood – create an environment that is customer friendly or intolerant and insensitive. Those who fall into the latter categories challenge the very definition of customer friendly and customer service environments.
HERE’S THE STORY:
As Chief Operating Officer of a national company and international speaker, I travel alot. In September (sometime toward the middle of the month) I rented a simple one bedroom apartment from the (what seemed to be) fine folks at Rosemont at Patewood in Greenville, SC. The process seemed to be fairly easy. To pay my first months rent I had to provide a certified check (which I admit made sense). The lease paperwork was presented to me and within 10 minutes I had signed more papers than it took to buy my last home – actually my last two homes. And like most people, I did not take the time to read every page. BIG MISTAKE!!! I readily admit my mistakes. And as I started this – I said – THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS.
The move in was easy. The apartment was old and certainly not up to what I would consider modern standards, but it was acceptable and clean. There are some issues, like hearing the folks above me start their bath water at 5:30 a.m. each day and walk with some real heavy feet, but that’s apartment living (I guess).
Month two… (Now here’s where it get’s interesting)… I am out of town more than I’m in town – which I told the folks at the apartment complex when I moved in). So, at the first of the month I am out of town – back on Sunday October 3rd and back out on the 4th. I go by to pay my rent (because they can’t just draft it from my account – which would make sense in this digital age) and find that there is no DROP BOX. “Wow,” I think to myself, “this is really inconvenient. If there is no drop box and you are not here at the first of the month – how do you pay your rent?”
Wednesday evening the 6th I return at 9:45 p.m. – thinking, I’ve got to get them their check tomorrow – knowing that they open their office at 9:00 a.m. – typically long after I’ve gone to work. AGAIN INCONVENIENT. So, doing the right thing (I think) I defer an early morning appointment to bring by my check. Again, thinking – “This is not very customer friendly.” Well…THAT’S NOT THE HALF OF IT…
9:00 a.m. I was greeted at the door by a smiling face telling me as I handed her the check – “We can’t accept that. You’re late and we have to now have a certified check.” Shocked at my initial greeting she proceeded to say, “The cut off is the 5th and today is the 7th.” What she said was true. Today is the 7th and the only day I was here to pay my rent was Sunday the 3rd and guess what – no one was there to collect it and there was NO DROP BOX within which I could leave it. To add insult to injury – I was told that I must pay $145 in penalties for the two day delay.
“So let me get this straight – You don’t provide a way for me to leave my check (NO DROP BOX) when the payment is due and since I’m out of town and just back last night – I bring it by today and now not only am I late, but I must pay a penalty?”
Her response kindly stated was, “That’s right. And I need a certified check – we won’t accept your personal check.”
AMAZING – LACK OF CONVENIENCE!
We’ll, again getting ready to head out of town, I go get cash and, take time away from work in order to take care of personal business. I bring it by there office. TO MY UTTER SURPRISE – I am greeted with, as I count out cash including my additional $145 fee, WE CAN’T TAKE CASH! If I had false teeth I am sure at that moment they would have fallen out! Talking about feeling a mind wabble – I am bringing by US Legal Tender and am told that cash is not acceptable.
DECIDE FOR YOURSELF…
- NO DROP BOX for rent collection
- NO BANK DRAFT OPTION which I would be the first to sign up for so that it is just “sucked” from my account
- NO WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT CASH for the payment of one’s rent
Perhaps many will disagree, but THIS IS A CUSTOMER SERVICE DISASTER and a business that, now given a choice, I would avoid like the plague. I have no choice, but to again be inconvenienced, and work within their limited guidelines. In fairness, I was told today I could pay my rent at their web site, but telling me today isn’t helping with the lack of convenience above and lack of communication on the front end when I could have been given that as a clear payment option.
In today’s environment, the customer is KING. I believe in playing by the rules. Likewise, I know that if the rules favor convenience and customer service you will have customers for life. On the other hand, when the CUSTOMER IS INCONVENIENCED and the RULES BECOME SO RIGID as to make life less than reasonable (I mean there is nothing more reasonable than paying one’s rent with CASH) then it’s time to expose it for what it is.
The DEVIL is in the DETAILS! CUSTOMER SERVICE IS LACKING and CONVENIENCE IS DEVILISHLY MISSING at ROSEMONT at PATEWOOD. Be warned…
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!