Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why is customer service so hard?

I really don't get it. I just don't.
In the last few weeks I've had some not so good product experiences , mostly technical (you're so shit Vista) and had to go through the the lovely customer support people.

Some were good. Others need help. But help in a really 'this isn't brain science' way. You've got your customer on the phone, you can go from a little casual relationship, to one where they are completely hooked on you as a brand of choice. Think of it this way, if I have a problem and you help me fix it, I know I can trust you, implicitly. No brainer. And there is no way I will transfer to another product within the same category.

Case 1
I bought some environmentally friendly cosmetics. As a reward for purchase I was awarded the choice to choose 5 samples. As it often occurs, they may not have my samples, but they will do the best to supplement those samples if they aren't available.
The Package arrives.
I have 3 of what I want, and 2 samples can go fuck themselves. Not the same category of product, totally useless and unnecessary for me. So I called the company and explained that:
a) they should leave a note of apology when they don't have your sample as a courtesy (which they have now implemented);
b) they should definitely try and supplement the sample with the same type of product eg cleanser with cleanser, soap with soap;
The sample reward is a great tool for appreciating your customer. If you offer that carrot, you need to completely deliver. When you can't meet that, you need to overcompensate. And it isn't a question of a company just throwing the freebie in for the sake of it. It is an additional ploy to keep your customer loyal. When they told me the freebie was just a throw away, I felt a little cheated and they nearly lost me. They couldn't believe I wanted samples of within the category I requested. They thought it was preposterous. In the end they sent me not 2 of what I wanted, but 10. At first it felt unnecessary, I really did only want the 2, but then I realised they saved me as a customer, because I was already thinking 'fuck 'em'

Case 2
I got a Canon printer. Vista screwed up the installing process of the printer. Canon helped me fix it. They were awesome and knew exactly what they were doing. Thanks Ted. I hope those shrimp on the barbie went was a long conversation, there was waiting time, we needed small talk.

Case 3
I bought some Belkin software to hook up my printer through bluetooth. Again Vista screwed up what used to be a simple process. I call Belkin. This Indian girl answers, she has no idea what she is doing. She tells me to do something that doesn't exist, she says she has no supervisor then wants to transfer me to a supervisor. TOT.ALL.Y. whacked. She even let me uninstall something I wasn't meant to. Absolutely shithouse. I ask her for her name - it's Mary-Kate. Not only does she want to take me for a ride, she is an Indian who thinks she is an Olsen. I ended up being on the phone with this loser for an hour and a half "unplug the adapter, no plug it back it in". I will be having nightmares. In the meantime, I think I fixed it.

In Conclusion
There is some much opportunity. Don't be an asshole like those Dell customer service reps were. Use it. It's actually pretty rewarding (yes, I can be nice) and EASY.

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