We all remember the video of the Comcast repairman falling asleep on the job.
Now this report is emerging about how their repair folks didn't come to fix a broken cable modem because when they called the person, no one answered the phone line, which of course is Voice over IP. Would it have hurt them to knock on the door?
This type of no think customer service dominates the service industry.
Here are two others where I have first hand experience:
1) American Express or your bank calls to question offshore charges from a foreign country. They ask that you call them back on their 800 number. Very few 1-800 numbers are reachable from outside the USA. Would it have hurt to provide a number from the country where the charges took place or a direct dial number?
2) UPS calls to tell you that you have a package being shipped that requires an adult signature. They don't tell you the tracking number, the shipper or even mention your name. How do you even know the package is for you, or if you try to call them back, they ask for the tracking number. Would it hurt for them to give you the tracking number on the message?
3) You notify your bank or credit card company that you will be out of the country, but you didn't notify every department inside the financial institution. You go online, pay some bills and they shut down all you account access because the IP addresses have changed daily that you're online with, including some from a USA based VPN which made the connection more secure. Would it have hurt for the departments to share customer information?
Every instance above is true and I have experienced it first hand. With my bank, I have actually gone as far as ask for the "ultimate person in charge" who approved the process and procedure. Thankfully, once I explain things to them, usually days later, they seem to realize that they hadn't considered a situation that way, but would fix things (and they have). In each case I have successfully secured a "good faith customer credit" for the cost of my phone calls to them to "fix" a problem that they created.
The key is to start from the opening discussion, the cost of this call is on your company and to constantly remind the service person that the time for their errors is going to cost them money, not simply a customer.