If you’ve been missing our stories of bad customer service and wondering why it’s been so long since we’ve had a new entrant to The Answer Guy’s Customer Service Wall of Shame, your wait ends now.

Which might be bad news for Binding Price Moving of Fresh Meadows, NY.

If you’ve ever hired a moving company, you know how many “gotchas” there are. Mayflower Moving, a company whose yellow and green trucks had at one point become pretty much ubiquitous have all but disappeared, and the scant references you can find to them on the Internet are mostly … really bad. Here’s one, and here’s another.

But I digress. Today’s story is about Binding Price Moving. The interesting thing about Binding Price Moving? They just keep saying “yes”.

You might expect that if you’ve had any dealings with moving companies. There are plenty of moving companies trying to get your attention, and nowhere more so than in New York City, which seems to be where Binding Price Moving does much of its business. When I started investigating a move a couple of weeks ago I only had to fill out a form at a web site that deals with moving companies and in minutes I received e-mails and phone calls from a dozen companies, with Binding Price Moving being the last one I spoke to, and its representative being the nicest.

Honestly, if I could find her I’d hire “Debra” away from Binding Price Moving. GREAT salesperson, that Debra.

Debra made me feel all kinds of happy. Forget that I had never heard of Binding Price Moving before. She spoke professionally, quoted me a basic rate that was a solid thirty-five percent lower than top-of-scale, promised free boxes as part of the move (have you ever bought boxes? I’m amazed at what they cost!), and just plain did a great job. She followed up with me when I asked her to, didn’t pressure me, and aside from referring to Binding Price Moving as “they” instead of “we” several times was pretty much perfect at handling my questions and making me feel as though using Binding Price Moving was a great idea.

Yesterday, Binding Price was supposed to send someone between Noon and 1PM to quote a definitive price.  And let me be clear that even this felt civilized; the appointment was set almost a week ahead of time because a specific Binding Price employee had an another appointment right down the street, and I’m a reasonable guy.

Do you feel me? The hiring decision had already been made; barring disaster all Binding Price Moving needed to do to get the gig was show up.

At about 12:45 I got nervous, called, and was told that they had tried to confirm the appointment, gotten no response, and dropped me from their schedule. Bad, right? Reminds you of the sorry about horrific customer service from A&E Factory Service Appliance Repair?

It’s actually worse. Binding Price Moving had called to confirm the appointment; I spoke with them. So either there are people and departments at Binding Price Moving that aren’t talking to each other, or this customer service representative had been trained to lie when confronted with such situations.

Either represents a form of incompetence that ought never to be. Anywhere. At any business doing any form of customer service.

Binding Price scheduled a new appointment for late yesterday and the new estimator arrived within the promised window, even calling when he thought he might arrive late. He was friendly, pleasant, and polite, took a few notes and left with the promise that someone else would be working things up and calling with the estimate.

Why did Binding Price bother sending an estimator just to have someone else work up the estimate? I could have just told them what there was to move!

That might sound difficult of me, but let me be clear: there’s no way this man had all the details he needed to convey to another person who hadn’t seen the job what needs to go into that quote. That one’s a “says me”, but in a world of breakage, insurance claims and liability and a move of many things to several locations, it just won’t do.

Is it unfair of me to have this strong a reaction based on Binding Price blowing an appointment? I expect they’ll think so, but in a market as competitive as moving, when gruff behavior is the standard being set by your competitors, if you get ahead by being fantastic at customer service you need to stay that way. As I’ve pointed out before, perception is reality.

And be fantastic you must. Really, the whole secret to customer service is simple: just do what you promise.

This isn’t like when Nissan of Manhattan Stole and Called It Customer Service. It isn’t like Customer Service at the NJDMV, which seems to be about unnecessary systems and inconsistent behavior. It isn’t even like Customer Service at ShopRite of Fairlawn NJ, where the manager offered me $4 for fifteen wasted minutes of my time instead of the whopping $8 he owed me.

It’s worse: you simply must not promise something that you cannot deliver.

By the way: in the interest of fairness I’d like to point out that Binding Price Moving is a nine-year-old company, and has just three complaints against them with The Better Business Bureau. I presume that means that they actually do a pretty good job of moving things. But in business, you’re only as good as your latest “move”, and this was a very bad move by Binding Price.

Once you hold yourself up as the goood guy in a bad world, you need to stay that way, or you would have been better off just playing “me too”.

Perception really is reality.

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