How Coleman Lost a Giant Giraffe (and a reputation built over 100+ years)
Is that piano out of tune? It’s hard to say. Like millions of dollars worth of Coleman’s customers’ precious belongings, it’s beaten so badly that that it is completely unusable. This is unfortunately right on key, and right on brand for a typical experience with Coleman Worldwide Moving.
How did an historic company run by a God-fearing, upstanding Christian man, become known for unprofessionalism, unscrupulous business dealings and one of the most sloppily run and disorganized customer service departments ever? How did this man, whose name is on the truck, lose his way?
Proverbs 22 talks about the importance and value of a good name. Plenty of country songs have taught this Alabama resident that a man is only as good as his handshake. So how did his company fall so far from both paths? My best guess is it’s a simple lack of drive towards excellence.
How could Coleman turn their reputation and operational sloppiness around? 2 men and a truck will certainly put Coleman out of business so it won’t much matter, but let’s say Jeff Coleman actually had got inspired and wanted to get out of the business of letting sketchy folks do business under his father’s last name before that happened. How could he do that?
It’s simple- be excellent, and hold those practicing under the Coleman name to a similar standard. Don’t let your customer care team take weeks if not forever to get back to folks when they’ve had a horrifying experience, seek it out and find out what happened! Don’t let people operating under your name defraud their customers and operate with a total lack of professionalism or conscience. Instead, realize your once-good name is being used by wrongdoers, resulting in advantage being taken of hardworking, honest families who trusted the Coleman name to move their family’s most prized possessions. Understand it, admit it, and do something about it. Have some pride, you only get one name, and yours used to be great.
How do you lose a giant giraffe???
I have historically used 2 men and a truck for all of my moves for a reason: they were excellent. I mean, professionalism and integrity and awesome work- I let that experience combined with my own pride in what I do blind me to the fact that some companies are run by slimeballs. Then I met a salesman named Jeff (not the CEO). Jeff came into my family’s home and when I told him I wanted the absolute best team in town, he shook my hand and assured me that his team was the best, that they were big strong professional men and that the high price tag was because of the quality my family’s belongings would receive.
Then Stephanie, our move coordinator, charged my card for 3 times the amount I authorized, completely different than what my salesman Jeff had told us (that we would only be charged third for the deposit). Throughout the process, I was blown away by how sloppy and uncoordinated the team was. I quickly chose the biggest insurance plan. What arrived at my new home, however, was a nightmare come true. The belongings my wife and I had collected and stored memories in were beaten, rained on, ruined. It was as if they saw the “full insurance” tag and decided to smash the hell out of everything in the truck for fun since it was insured. It was a disaster. The movers were not professionals and poorly trained and equipped to do the job. My new house is now filled with broken furniture, broken musical instruments (like the piano above), broken historic religious artifacts and just about everything you could break.
My favorite part was when I tipped the movers (they still have to eat and they weren’t the ones that packed or destroyed items in the storage center, they were a small boy and a mother and father which is not exactly the “professional” moving team I was promised by the sales guy) and asked them if they were headed home. The father replied “Well, we have to stop by Roanoke on the way back. The guys who packed your truck [and beat your furniture to pieces] got confused and forgot to drop this giant Giraffe off.” Sure enough! There was a huge lost Giraffe that had to be returned to Roanoke. Who loses a giant Giraffe? Who loses to a company called 2 men and a truck? Who loses the good name of a hundred year old company? Who would just ignore bad actors in your company because customers are literally leaving town and don’t have much of a voice to spread to other customers where the sketchy movers are located?
Jeff, here’s some free consulting: hire a director of customer experience, switch to NPS, and for the love of God quit letting your name be used to rob honest people during one of the most vulnerable situations one ever finds themselves in. When people completely defame your name, your father’s name, your family name, don’t let the victims be ignored. Don’t let them be treated like they don’t have a voice or recourse. Seek out those experiences and stories and learn from them and make it right. It’s just old school good business.
I’ve turned around organizations bigger than yours and achieved industry leading NPS scores in my field, but I’ll tell you, you have to want it. Otherwise the name Coleman will become even more synonymous with poor quality, terrible customer service, unethical business practices and more until it finally is laid to rest.
If my company had my last name on it, I wouldn’t want our ass kicked by a company called 2 men and a truck. Take charge of your company.