It was the best of experiences, it was the worst of experiences to paraphrase the famous beginning of ” Tale Of Two Cities.”
The next, little remembered part Dickens’ actual text is “it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” With a nod towards that, let me relate two experiences of the last 24 hours and you get a couple of good examples of customer support done at either end of the spectrum.
First, Cablevision. My wife was having issues with the cable TV yesterday. The issue was it wasn’t working. Someone in the house has run her through the troubleshooting protocols any number of times (ahem) so by the time she called customer service she knew that the problem was on the cable end and not something in the house. The rep informed her there was no trouble in the area nor was anyone working on the lines nearby so she’d have to send out a technician. She set an appointment for 24 hours later and basically washed her hands of the problem. My wife then headed out to do errands. Lo and behold, not one but three Cablevision trucks were on the road working on the lines. The crew informed her they were doing maintenance and apologized for the brief outage. By the time she got home, the service was fine and she cancelled the appointment (without speaking to a human, by the way).
Second, AT&T. Our internet service kept failing yesterday afternoon. The modem showed the DSL connection was fine but there was no internet. The rep pinged the modem and said there was definitely an issue but wasn’t seeing any issues except in a town 5 miles away. She asked me to hold while she escalated the issue to the tech support supervisors. 3 minutes later, she came on the line to explain what was being done and asked me to hang on. She came back every couple of minutes to update me. Finally, she said that there did seem to be an outage in the area, gave me a support ticket number and told me when the problem would be solved. There was a lot more detail about what tests we ran but the important point was that she actively looked for information and kept me informed about what she was doing to solve the problem. The service is fine today.
Contrast the two. One rep seemed to want to do nothing but get my wife off the phone as quickly as possible. She gave little information and what she did give was just dead wrong. The other one was proactive, communicative, and apologetic. Why isn’t Cablevision my internet provider too? Duh.
Customers expect reps to treat them as the VIP’s they are. While there aren’t a lot of choices about TV or internet providers in any area, there are a few. I know I can get higher-speed internet from Cablevision. Think I’m going to make that move? Would you? Part of being a good marketer is remembering that any touchpoint the business has with consumers is part of marketing. It all needs to be executed at the same high level. If you’re ignoring the customer service reps in your marketing thinking you’re missing the boat, as these examples make clear. You agree?