I have written many times in this column over the years about the importance of communication and customer service.
Apart they are both really important, but together they are crucial. And it is also unfortunate when businesses, particularly local ones, just miss the mark completely (or they subcontract their customer service function to others who do not have the same high standards).
On what turned out to be a very busy weekend we were fortunate to have a nice social event on Saturday night.
Our band, Vinyl, and partners got together to look forward to a year ahead of fun and potential gigs. Part of the evening was that it was ''kid free'' – so with the kids attending other functions, we needed transport and evening meal solutions.
To undertake this logistical challenge, we needed assistance and, being a Saturday, we ended up dealing with businesses who operate call centres. And, being a Gen-Xer, I am still in the habit of picking up the phone rather than engaging an app.
Saturday's experiences started with a standard recorded message and earworm muzak used by corporates everywhere.
In both cases I waited, but not too long, to speak to an operator. In many cases when you call for assistance you end up dealing with a customer service professional (CSP) who is based in another centre and this was no exception.
Unfortunately, people who do not live here at times can make the process of making an order trying - this can become painfully obvious when you describe delivery addresses and they either don't know them or are not versed with the wonder that is Google Maps.
For example, you would have concerns when the person you were talking to could not find your address on a map. It is also concerning when you have to repeat instructions to ensure it was clear.
In most cases you put your trust that your time on the call has not been wasted but when the service you have requested does not "show up", there has clearly been a breakdown somewhere along the line.
It is also not fun having to make a follow-up call and it gets even worse when it becomes clear that your initial request has not even been logged.
For those of us who prefer to talk to a real person, it is a strange place to find yourself when you pull out your iPhone and go searching for an app.
But there is no guarantee this approach ensures 100 per cent effectiveness, having had a delivery get "lost" on the way, and I also recall being charged by Uber for a pick-up that never happened in Auckland once.
Having worked with a few call centres over the years, standards and training are crucial so I am not going to completely lay this at the feet of the CSPs.
However, if you are going to outsource your precious customer interface, the service provider you go with needs to fully understand your business, its location and deliver first- class service.
The good news is that there are some businesses who have this completely right, and we actually remember good interactions. Proof positive that if your customer interface works, the business will come your way.