Posted by Steve Gulsvig on Jan 26, 2018

I recently called a specialty service company to see if I could schedule a service call at my house to service two gas fireplaces. I gave them all of the requisite information they needed: model numbers and serial numbers. They told me that they would research my units and call me “soon” with a proposed service date. I teased the person on the phone and said that I would be calling them if I didn’t hear from them in three days. The person on the phone laughed and said, “It sounds like you’ve had bad experiences before.” When I told her that was indeed the case, she assured me that I need not worry. Three days later, I called back to follow up and find out if I had received a coveted position on their service schedule. After my call was transferred to scheduling, I was put on hold. When the pleasant woman came on the phone, she asked my name and what I was calling about. I obliged and gave her the information she needed. I was surprised by her answer.

 “You’re second in the stack.”

 What? I definitely don’t want to be in a stack, much less second. I’m not sure how many stacks there are or how long it will take me to move up to first in the stack, but I was assured that they’d get back to me “soon”.

 After I hung up the phone, I wasn’t upset. However, I came to a realization: Many well-meaning companies can lose sight of the fact that jargon and processes that make perfect sense to them internally usually mean absolutely nothing to a customer. Here’s a small suggestion: review your communication policies and even listen to some of your front-line people (CSR’s, Sales, Managers) to make sure acronyms, jargon, and confusing language hasn’t crept into their vocabulary. Don’t become a company that puts valuable customers “second in the stack”.