How’s That Customer Service?
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Posted by  in Business Etiquette

Author: Darlene Hull

I love it when I have a product/service issue, and I can quickly access a live, English speaking person on the phone. I am adept at customer service via email and social media as well, but in my mind, nothing is quicker than the phone – technically.

I thought I’d share some of my more recent experiences so that if you have customer service in place, you can learn from my experiences to improve what you’re offering. These days, customer service is a HUGE playing card, so making yours work smoothly can be the deciding factor for your success or failure.

Situation 1: Hootsuite wasn’t working properly

Hootsuite does the majority of their customer service via Twitter. That’s fine if you want a link to reset your password, or you can’t remember what page of the site something is on. My situation was a little different as my log-in suddenly stopped working (my logins are all automated) and my posts weren’t showing up. That’s a little hard to discuss in 140 characters, and it took 3 days to get a phone number. However, when I was given the phone number we had the problem solved in less than 5 minutes.

Lesson learned? It’s fine to start with a social media channel, but as soon as it looks bulky, get on the phone.

Situation 2: Roomba Stopped Working

My Roomba is well used, and probably pretty tired. Well past its warranty it gave up the ghost and died. I got on the phone to Roomba, they offered me a better product at half the price, and had it shipped to me right away. I didn’t go through a long menu. I didn’t have to speak to three managers. The person on the phone had the rights and power to handle my problem in a way that made me very, very happy.

Lesson Learned? Empower your front-line support staff to be able to make decisions within certain generous boundaries to keep the customer happy.

Situation 3: ASUS

I had a fairly new Nexus 7 tablet (4 months old) that quit working. I called ASUS, and got a person on the phone who did no trouble shooting, they just asked me to send in the tablet. I had to supply the packaging, pay the shipping and insurance, and wait ten days to get it back. Two months later it broke again. I was not willing to pay for packaging, shipping, and insurance again, and be without a tablet for another 10 days. It took 3 phone calls, several hours, and finally I was able to speak to a manager who was just as powerless. In frustration I posted on their Facebook page only to have my complaint deleted in less than a minute. I finally found someone in the States who worked for ASUS there who was able to find me someone who would pay the shipping, but not the insurance, and I was still going to be without my tablet for 10 days. In this case there was NO satisfactory solution other than to have my son break into the tablet and fix it himself, voiding the warranty. A full month later ASUS contacted me from their Facebook page as I had made the comment privately to them that I would have liked to see them solve customer complaints as quickly as they delete complaints from their social media stream.

Lesson Learned? Apple has the best customer service on the planet. When my iPod broke I had prepaid packaging at my door the next day, and a new iPod two days later. Cost to me? Nothing. I prefer Android devices, personally, but nothing beats Apple’s customer service. Again, ASUS should have had front line people who did troubleshooting, and who could have explained what was going on. They should also have had people locally who could fix this. If my untrained son can do it, so can trained Nerd Staff at my local electronics store.

Situation 4: USPS

I had an issue with an email that I had received, and I wasn’t sure if it was spam or if it was legit. I called customer service and got one of those voice activated menus. There was no menu option for “is this spam?” There was also no way to get in touch with a live person. I tried many different varieties of the problem, only to get sucked deeper and deeper into the voice menu quagmire with no visible sign of relief. There was no “press 0 for a representative” option, either. VERY frustrating.

Lesson Learned? Try walking through your own customer service with a slightly off-beat request, and see what happens. If it takes more than 5 minutes to get to a real person, you’re in trouble.

I think the most important lessons I’ve learned about customer service in this past little while are the following:

  • Give me options that work best for ME as to how I contact you. Make it easy for me to get help
  • Empower your front line people to do what’s necessary to make me happy. They should be able to offer me free shipping, packaging, insurance, and on the second time through with the same problem, they should be able to exchange new for old at my door.
  • Make sure I can actually get to a real, live person who can help me if I’ve gone around in circles at least twice on your phone menu
  • Complaints on social media need to be dealt with on social media as quickly and as successfully as possible. Waiting a full month is beyond inexcusable.

These days, there’s a great chance that your business rises and falls on your customer service.

How about you? What are your customer service nightmares or happy highlights? Share below!


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