It’s been a while I know… moving house, holidays and loads of work have made it a little bit of a slow couple of months for inspiring things to say. Regardless, today’s topic is a simple question and in theory a number of possible answers..
What exactly do you get from good customer service?
I work for a number of friends and clients and find myself in the position where I am constantly dishing out advice whether helpful, requested or otherwise. I work on a forum (at Newmedias), I do a great deal of email support and I answer a lot of questions from clients and customers.
Of course working in IT means that everyone assumes you know everything about everything and call whenever they can’t get their email to work or computer to start (i’m a web developer!). So why oh why do we bother helping people out at all? Well.. there are a number of reasons that I came up with:
- The money
- The challenge
- The self gratification
- That thank you you get on helping another person out
- The favour you are then owed (assuming the person you helped didn’t pay for the privilege)
- The handouts (such as the comedy Photoshop job that someone did for me this evening (right top))
- The money
A short list, I know, but feel free to post your own! I think that we all do it for a combination of those reasons as opposed to just one. Even if you are paid to help it’s still nice to help people out and go that extra mile. You wouldn’t, and don’t(!), expect to see it everywhere but as a person in need you are always very relieved to find that one helpful person who makes it all better for you. I am not saying that I am always that person but I must admit I do try (when it’s convenient for me to do so).
From a business perspective the customer service is incredibly important although I do wonder if some companies strategically position their helpful (and local??) staff where they are likely to need it. For example my ISP and phone are provided by a company that sounds a lot like Squawk Squawk and I have had nothing but problems with them for three years. You wonder why I am still with them… that’s easy.. they are cheap! However, being cheap does not exclude you from having to give a good service to your customers. My internet at my old house was intermittent at best and in my new house it seems to have stopped at 3mb (i’m paying for 20mb!). Now when I took out the contract (fixed term.. no escape!) I was assured that all would be fine… I got lots of glossy welcome literature (which went swiftly into the bin) and the service was running by the due date. Then it all went down hill… internet service was incredibly slow and flicked on and off seemingly randomly. On calling technical support I was asked to plug my computer into the router with a cable instead of wireless, I was asked to change micro filters and use a different phone socket. All completely pointless and fruitless but the support operatives would not take no for an answer. In the end I got a little bit grumpy with the person on the phone and asked to be transferred to second line support. On connection I was greeted by someone who I could understand and who noted a fault on the line and had it fixed within a few minutes.
The moral of the story was not to dig at Squawk Squawks appalling service (and believe me it has been dire!) but to point out that the useful staff are hidden behind a wall of incompetence whose sole use is to fend off the people who need to turn it off and on again. A good business practice? I don’t know but it seems effective for all except those with any computer knowledge who they manage to infuriate. Luckily, like good support staff, those are in short supply as well.
To conclude, what do you get for good customer service.. the answer if of course a comedy Photoshop drawing to put a smile on your face