Is Google smarter and easier to deal with than your company?

I recently purchased a new car and have been having issues with my EZ-Pass, the automated toll system that is used on the East Coast.  The last time I got a new car I forgot to take my EZ Pass out of the old one and didn’t figure it out until I got stuck in a toll booth with a security bar that wouldn’t go up.  I was outside of New York City and the many people behind me weren’t impressed; I was very embarrassed and scarred.  But that was my fault.

When I acquired this most recent car, I made a point to remember to transfer the EZ Pass to this new one.  Now, in Pennsylvania the toll booths for EZ Pass have no bar and no red/green light to let you know if you are having an EZ Pass issue; you are supposed to look at your bill online to make sure it is working – it is only when driving in neighboring states that they have the lights and bars.  So going forward, I was using the EZ Pass for a while in PA without incident, at least from my perspective, though if I had looked at my account online it would have told me a different story.  Anyway no problems until I was at the same toll outside of NYC when low and behold, the bar didn’t go up again.  Grrrr!!!…  After that incident I called up EZ Pass where a very nice woman promptly answered the phone; when I explained the problem she said their system showed that I had a low battery and they would send me a replacement.  I thanked her but wondered how and why if they knew I had a low battery, why didn’t they let me know? 

I get the replacement just in time for a trip to Canada.  At the border the same thing happens again: the bar doesn’t go up and the cars stack up behind me.  Now I am mad! I call EZ Pass again and quickly get another very pleasant person on the phone, explaining the whole situation and telling them they sent me a bad unit.  No way they say; I must not have mounted it properly.  I insist it is bad and they instruct me to ship the unit back to them; they will test it and then return it to me or send a replacement.  Whatever!  I am really not happy with the whole ordeal, but they are the only game in town.  

On my next trip I removed an EZ Pass from one of our other cars and… you are not going to believe this… the same thing happened at the same toll outside of NYC.  I am flabbergasted! We were on our way to visit our oldest daughter. When we arrived and I explained the predicament, she and her boyfriend (they are both engineers and very good at figuring things out) encouraged me to Google it.   After a few tries, we found an article that said the kind of car I have has some sort of coating on the windshield that blocks the EZ Pass signal, suggesting that I mount the EZ Pass on the inside of the sunroof, although according to EZ Pass, this method is not allowed, and it must be installed on the windshield next to the rearview mirror.  Too bad, as the pass is now mounted on the sunroof and been working flawlessly ever since.  How is it that Google was able to help me and the “experts” at EZ Pass were of no help?

This experience made me think back to how we would interact with our clients.  It wasn’t enough that we answered our phones fast and were pleasant, just like the folks at EZ Pass.  We had to actually solve our client’s problems.  We needed to be their path of least resistance when they needed help or a question answered.  If we weren’t, they would find another way.  

Is Google smarter and easier to deal with than your company?


What I am reading:
Professional:  So good I read it twice – Trillion Dollar Coachby Eric Schmidt – Amazon Link
The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell
Personal: The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan – Amazon Link
A New History of the World