Posts Tagged ‘end’

Who thought that customer service is dead?

This one is going to be a short one (That was what I thought when I started writing), but I believe that it was worth saying something about it. We all know that once in a while a product we buy, the services we procure or experience we live when dealing with companies does not always work out the way we want it or expected. Sometimes products shows up DOA, sometimes the service is really bad and painful. Even if the bar is low and/or sometimes the experience in getting those little annoyances resolved become a mammoth pile of disappointment and frustration.

That is why sometimes we, the customer, keep building the paradigm/filter that prevent us sometimes going over the trouble of taking some action to get the issue resolved.

*Is the pain/trouble worth the few dollars?
*How much is my time worth?
*Will I get treated like they do not care? Like always happens?
*I am a human being, why they treat me like that? Iam the customer.

     These and many other questions run thru our brains every time we have to deal with some issue that involves customer support. You get passed along the next representative that makes you go over the same list of questions that the 1st representative asked or items that you already covered. Things like “Power it off”, “press reset button”, “Did you check that the cables are connected”, “the problem is not with our product, is the __________ (insert your preferred topic here: operating system, network service, health plan you have, you know what I mean).

I have to say that there are rare pleasant occasions in which you get totally the opposite. Once, long time ago I bought a Gateway computer and it was basically kind of a DOA, giving an error and not booting up. (This is back to probably to Windows 95 age, not that long ago) Just to give a reference of my level of computer knowledge, I am not a super expert in computers but I have built few top of the line computers gaming systems from scratch with success. Ok, now that it is out of the way, let us go back to my experience; I was able to figure out that the cable to the floppy disk drive (The floppy disk drive was essential for the computer to work at that time) was not fully inserted. Either due to shipping or was improperly installed, easy fix. But still it won’t boot up and the BIOS was getting interrupted. This issue, since it was an out of box problem and I was unable to quickly find a solution, I decided to call service support.

      This is where I would love for other companies to listn to this, learn something from it an implement similar approach. The representative quickly asked few initial questions, but it was different than any other traditional service support. He 1st took some time accessed what was the issue, listened and asked about what I have already try, asked my opinion, suggested a few theory of what was happening and asked to whether or not I was comfortable in opening the case and mess with few stuff inside the case. All this before happened even before any instruction was given to do or perform any task.  To end the story here after changing a few jumpers in the motherboard we were able to fix my issue and I was an extremely happy customer. My point is, the customer support took the time to connect with me, gauged my technical knowledge and inquired information relevant to the problem that allowed him to provide sound solutions and resolution to the problem. He took the time to treat the customer like a customer. No irrelevant checklist was used; no impersonal process flow and definitely no treating me like one more to go or one more for the metrics. To summarize the experience, it was very cooperative, pleasant experience. We are talking about a product that was DOA and I felt that we were part of a team, being part of the solution and that my opinion counted. Kudos to Gateway for their customer support structure and service back in the 90’s.

     Today’s problem is not the geographical location of the customer support or whether or not they are completely fluent in your preferred language, is that the support is no longer support. It is how support is being address, once customer support becomes a checklist that you need to follow and can not deviate it becomes impersonal and non-inviting, it is starts to be a recipe for disaster and disservice to the customers. I have plenty of bad stories that I can share, but today is for the good ones, not the bad ones.
     And it does not have to be a person responding or interacting with you to make it a good customer support/service. Take for example this other anecdote, the one the prompted me to write this time. Everybody has a daily routine, I do too and when that gets interrupted it is a pain. One of mine is that I like to, at the end of the day, watch a little bit of TV, few shows and then done for the day. I have been a customer of Netflix for some time. I like that I can watch my shows and programs when I find the time at my leisure. Two nights ago something went wrong with the service; it would not load the list or the selections for me to start to watch the shows. I tried few things to make sure the issue was not at my end and verify that it was indeed Netflix not something else. I was curious of what happened, but did not though much about it and went on to find the alternative plan for the evening. The next night while setting up I remembered what happened the prior night and was ready to figure out what action I was going to take if the same situation happened. But everything worked out just fine and the routine continue like it normally and religiously do. So no big deal, very happy with service and all is forgotten, so far so good, right? Well to my surprise today I received the following e-mail,

“Recently you may have had trouble instantly watching TV episodes or movies due to technical issues.
We are sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. If you attempted and were unable to instantly watch TV episodes or movies yesterday, click on this account specific link in the next 7 days to apply a credit to your next billing statement. The credit will be 3% of our $7.99 a month plan that lets our members instantly watch unlimited TV episodes and movies. Credit can only be applied once. “
“Again, we apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding. If you need further assistance, please call us at 1-866-XXX-XXXX.

                                                                              –The Netflix Team”

     When I read the message and I thought, WOW! They did not have to do this at all. Without asking for anything or explanation (I did not check forums, facebook, tweets or other media to see if people were commenting or complaining, so I do not know), an email apologizing for the inconvenience? Providing a credit without me asking for any? Now, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprise and it was completely unexpected. Yes, I have to click to get the credit and is from the $7.99 plan regardless of the plan you have but hey, they did not have to do or say anything at all (like plenty other companies will do) It was very good to see that things like this happens. To see, companies taking responsibilities for their action and or issues to care about their customer base. I can also say that this will increase my desire to keep the service, they accumulated lots of points. Netflix, you did well here, very nicely done.
We all have bad stories, thing going terribly wrong, but do you still have those glimpses of good service and good customer care. Care to share a few of those?

As a year comes to a close

It has been a great year of learning and challenges. It was just 365 days ago that a new chapter in my life started. The capacity and capabilities of the human being are always tested not in good times but in challenging ones.

I had the opportunity to take a leap in faith, believe that “yes we can” and make as many bold moves as possible to achieve success. This is why going back in the last year makes me think about human behavior, skills and aptitude.

In one extreme side you have a group of people that always see the glass half full. These are going to be the go getters, the ones that even if they get knock down they will rise and perform even better than before. It is very important for these individuals to keep moving, very active and optimists. This does not mean that they are not realistic, but they will believe in themselves and will achieve even in the dire conditions.  Fortunately these individual will always see and seek opportunities that will enable them to achieve their goals.

A friend of mine saw in the news this business owner that suffered a blow to his restaurant business. Over the night the main restaurant caught on fire burning most of the facilities and setting him back big time. Instead of closing or waiting for the insurance money (Hopefully he had insurance) He got in the next morning and figure out how to be open for business and continue to generate cash flow.

Another group is the Half Empty kind of people. Like the other group these are realistic people, but the main difference is how they react to any given situation. These people get knock down easily and it takes them a fair amount of time to get back on their feet. They will see life in neutral ways, bordering in pessimistic. Although they might think all bad things happen to them they will stay and do their best to continue the journey, often being grateful for what they got. They will take the opportunity if presented to them although once in a while the opportunity will pass by without notice.

Then you got this group waiting, literally waiting, at the left side of the chart.  As another friend of mine said to me that this group is the “Dry to the bone kind of a glass” type of individuals. These are the victims of a ongoing conspiracy that the universe has against them. Unfortunately they live in a gloomy type of bubble and nothing seems to help. Nothing is right for them, nothing is good enough and they are afraid of taking any chances or even take a look at the opportunity. They wait for things to drop in their laps or they let life or happiness past by their side. It is sad for me to see individuals behaving like that. You recognize them when people will provides them with help, goods and support and nothing positive comes back in return. And by that i mean that since they are always pessimist and negative they will take the help but after that they will sit once again looking for one thing that is not going right. No effort should be waste in trying thing, new one or old ones.

As the author Robert Greene says on his book “The 48 Laws of Power”, his law number 10 “INFECTION: Avoid the unhappy and unlucky”. His reasoning is that a person puts so much effort into helping or getting this group out, or break the cycle that it will demoralize you and drag you down or so much effort is put into the matter that we miss other opportunities. My take on this is to try once and if no positive reaction or a hint of effort is perceive, move on and help the next one in line.

One key element is that the majority of people think they are always behaving as “half full glass” individuals when in reality we might fluctuate between both. But it is hard to see ourselves in the mirror and make that decision solely on what we think or see without the inputs of other and consciously measure what you have delivered and goals achieved.  If we always thrive to search for the opportunities, continue to achieve our goals and always, always on the look to improve our lives and others near you, only then you might be able to say you are behaving “half full glass” attitude.

So as I group into three different types, tons of attributes into a single description, things gets more complicated than that. But it will allow me to think over the past year and kind of wonder whether I am “half full, Half Empty or Bone Dry” type of a glass.

What about if we all take a bold move today and at least pursue an opportunity to achieve our goals.