Customer communications, done right

Home ThermostatWe get them just about every week now — mostly emails, but sometimes a physical letter from our dental office, our CPA, or our insurance agency.

The letter says that the mid-size company with which we have been happily doing business has been acquired by MegaCorpCo. The email or letter from MegaCorpCo assures us that now we’ll get even better service — just as soon as we log into their new online system, set up a new account, and spend three months trying to contact their call center to get the information from our previous account connected to the new one. Of course they don’t offer exactly the same service as the mid-size company did, but, hey, now we can get even better services (for a lot more money) or considerably worse services for the same price.

We hate MegaCorpCo immediately — even more after the three months of fighting with the know-nothings at their call center. So eventually we go off and hunt for a highly regarded mid-size service provider.  Then we cross our fingers and hope we’ll have a year or two of decent service before they, too, are acquired by the MegaCorpCo.

Turns out, it doesn’t have to happen this way.

Today I got two letters — in one envelope — from our oil company, Rossoe Energy systems. The first letter was from Ronald N. Glatz, the president of Rossoe. It begins:

“It is with sadness but also with pride, that I share the following news with you, our valued customer. This year I turned 82 years old and am thankful for that. Unfortunately, I also found out I have severe health issues that prevent me from continuing as President & Owner of Rossoe Energy and that makes me said.”

At this point, it is making me pretty sad, too. These are the people who rushed out and took apart our furnace ducts when our cat got lost in the ceiling. He continues:

“As you may know, Rossoe Energy has been around the Seattle area for over 80 years and I have been at the helm for the past 40. We built a family run business with employees and clients that over the years, became family to me. I enjoyed every single day I got to go to work and I will miss it.”

Now, I’m in tears.

Glatz’s letter goes on to introduce the new owners, “another family run business that has been serving their clients for more than 67 years, in much the same manner as Rossoe.” He assures me that we can still call the Rossoe phone number to get Sound Oil, and that Rossoe’s employees will be with the new company.

The second letter, with the Sound Oil logo, is from Marilyn Jensen, president, and Jim Franck, VP, of Sound Oil, welcoming us to their company and giving us the history of the friendly competition between the two local companies. Then, a look at the future:

“There is nothing for you to do…everything has been handled for you…service records have been carefully transferred to the Sound Oil office. Heating oil deliveries will continue normally and without interruption. For customers who have Furnace Maintenance Agreements and/or Tank Warranty Coverage, those will continue seamlessly…the Rossoe Energy office staff, along with all of the Rossoe Oil delivery drivers and service technicians, will be joining our team. Expect familiar faces and familiar voices!”

So. No MegaCorpCo. No clueless call center. And no despairing customers off to seek a better oil company.

What Rossoe Energy and Sound Oil have done here is corporate communications on the level of Warren Buffett’s annual letters to shareholders.

This is an example of how easy corporate communications is when you love what you do, are proud of your company, and have every intention of giving your customers great service.

These letters left me with a very warm feeling, and it wasn’t because my furnace just came on.







Author: Karen Anderson

To paraphrase Mark Morris, "I'm a writer; I write!"

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