Thursday, April 3, 2014

Customer service

New York couldn't help me out.
Maybe our local postal service can.

500 words from a five minute phone call


I spoke on the phone this week with a young man working out of an office in Manhattan. When ordering a package from his company's swanky downtown eyewear boutique, I inadvertently missed one number in my own street address, and was, therefore attempting to have that misplaced number put back where it belonged so my package might find its way to the correct house in rural northern Wisconsin.

A little embarrassed, I called the minute they opened Monday morning. As soon as the customer service rep answered, I had the feeling this was not a normal request; most people don’t mess up their own house address when filling out shipping information. He did, in fact, confirm this suspicion.

The guy, let’s call him Manhattan man, was helpful in walking me through the steps. This was a much better experience than attempting to wrangle customer service out of a cable company, mind you, but Manhattan man still seemed stressed. He did apologize for the wait and for putting me on a brief hold a couple times, but really, the whole thing only took five minutes.

It wasn’t until I got off the phone that I started to think about it more. See, I was very relaxed and slow on the telephone. While half of this is because I have to take a few deep breaths before calls because I otherwise become anxious, the other half I chalk up to my pace of life as compared to his.

I’m not in a hurry. What is there to race towards? More important to me is a day-to-day lifestyle in which I do not feel rushed at every moment and can take the time to see things done with care and decency rather than quick carelessness. Not to say that Manhattan man was careless, in fact he was anything but. I just noticed a different pace in those five minutes, and that’s one of my favorite aspects of the Northwoods lifestyle - the pace of life...

While it is gaining some speed, I still like the feeling I don’t have to go to war in traffic each day, ride elevators and escalators, or have a security card to scan at the door on my way in. I’m very fortunate to not be surrounded by strangers constantly, be able to see the stars at night, and go for a walk in the woods whenever I feel the need.

Manhattan man was quote polite, though I got the impression he was waiting for me to fly off the handle at any moment, even if it was a mistake I made (which it was, poor guy). That’s a lot of pressure to deal with, a lot of pushing and shoving I’m not interested in. Things happen slower in our quiet, rural area, and that’s just fine. I think most of us try our best to work peaceably together because we know we’ll likely have to for many years, and that generates some accountability not found in the world’s metropolises.

In the end, all Manhattan man could do for my silly address mistake was ensure me he would e-mail the distribution center immediately with the change. He did not sound too hopeful this approach would be successful though, given the large amount of product and rapid turn around with online orders.

I left the conversation by telling him I live in a small town, saying, “we’ll figure it out with our local carrier, thanks!”

See you out there,
A woodsman in training.

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