Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Best Customer Service Caller Ever - Henry W. Bloch

I was talking with Phoebe about our customer service days, on Sunday. We both did some time as CSR's. That got me to reminiscing the next day. There are some calls you will always remember. Sometimes, it was because the caller was so rude, or conversely, because they were so nice.

That got me to thinking- who was the nicest caller I ever had?

The one that immediately came to mind was Henry W. Bloch, founder of the H&R Block Tax Consultant company. People might not know that before founding the company, he served as a navigator on a B-17 in the Eighth Air Force, flying 31 missions. He was decorated with the Air Medal, with three oak leaf clusters.

I was working for First Chicago Bank & Trust IBM Shareholder relations when I got his call. I immediately knew his voice sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it. That's because the name of the company is spelled Block, and his family name is spelled Bloch. Anyway, I got his information, and verified it. Then I asked him what I could do for him. He wanted to verify the amount of IBM shares he had, what the dividend was, and what was the dividend paid out to him.

He had a huge amount of shares- in the hundreds of thousands in different accounts. You know what? The dividend payments were completely screwed up. At the time IBM stock was trading for $106 and change per share, and the dividend payment was around $1.20 per share for that quarter, so we are not talking about pocket change here. Instead of paying him a dividend of $1.20 or whatever it was, for some reason he was only paid a dividend of something like 46 cents per share.

If that was me, I would have been so angry I would have been crapping my pants. Not Mr. Bloch. His voice never changed tone, even after I told him that the company had screwed up his accounts, and owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars in dividend payments. He remained very calm, almost serene, cordial, and unfailingly polite throughout. A really nice, sweet man.

He asked me to see if I could get the errors on his accounts fixed, as if he were asking his son to correct a simple error in his math homework. Heck, with that great attitude, and the way he treated me, I would have gone and slaughtered the whole accounting department for him!

I put an urgent "rush- special attention needed" on this transaction. The next day I checked his accounts, and things were fixed, and new dividend checks were issued.

He called back a couple of days later and we spoke again. I double checked his accounts to make sure everything stayed fixed. He thanked me for all my work, and for a job well done.

Later on he wrote a letter to First Chicago, commending me for my efforts.

Let me tell you- for a customer service rep, callers don't come any better than Mr. Henry W. Bloch!