Scott Stewart relives his most recent experience with customer service. Scott's is only one experience, but it makes you wonder why customer service in general ever responds like he says they did to him. In short, Scott's blog relives an experience where he brought a laptop to a store where he had an appointment with their customer service to look over why the laptop was so hot. The guy basically said they had to ship it out. According to Scott's post, the customer service guy wouldn't try to listen to the symptoms, wouldn't try to swap out hardware pieces to see if they could figure out what part was the culprit, and wouldn't even talk to him. You can read the entire experience on his blog which he calls iExpectedMore.
Disclaimer: OK ... this post is not about any specific company but rather about what customer service should be. Any scenarios contained within are ficticious and meant to drive home the point.
Think about those software vendors out there that let you buy a product, try it out and if you do not like it, you can return the license and get your money back within a certain time frame. Or the electronic stores that have the same no risk no hassle policy! What a concept! That instantly draws me to try it out and even if I do not like the product, I will consider that company in the future. It is good customer service! (Yes, those words can be in the same sentence)
<FONT face="Courier New" size=2>if (customerServiceAgent.Listen false)
<FONT face="Courier New" size=2> customer.LikelihoodToBuyAgain false;
... This is a HUGE frustration point of mine ...
OK, forget Apple for a minute ... just consider customer service in a broader sense. What do you really want when you have a problem with your widget? First and foremost they want it fixed. That was easy, but et's go deeper since most issues can;t just be fixed with magic pixie dust. People generally want to talk to a live person, who is educated on the matter, promptly available and listens to what you have to say. For example, I don;t want to call customer service about my widget and have to wait an hour to get to a person only to transfer to another person because they don;t know enough about my widget to help me. I also don;t want to hear that I should send it in before they even listen to what is wrong.
Here is a major point that customer service departments should all get, but they don't: Customer service is about the customer. Why is this so hard to understand? When the customer contacts customer service the customer wants to hear "I'll take care of it". That simple phrase defuses the situation in most cases. Listen to the customer's issues, let them get their frustration out and tell them you will find the answer. You don;t have to find it then and there, that's not my point. You very well may have to ship the product away to get it fixed, but that is not a reason to tick off your customer by not even letting them tell you about the issue. Think about this for a second ... if you have a broken computer you are frustrated. You want to tell someone about it. It helps blow off the frustration. When a customer service agent listens to this and says here is what we're going to do to solve this you think 'geez, s/he is going to help me get this solved'. You feel better. You want to work with the company again. The customer experience should be enjoyable.
- Returns should be easy with no hassle
- Customer service should listen
- If products get shipped away, replacements should be available (temporarily or permanently)
Yes, customer service costs money. But it buys my loyalty and my future dollars.