Frustration and Anger
Being very bad at using FAQs and reading manuals, I am a big user of online tech support. Though I meet many lovely people in the business all over the world, the tech systems that support them drive me wild with frustration and anger. 10GbE NAS
For gobbledegook, press 5; for incomprehensible tech term pres 7; for nothing I am looking for, press 1.
Hi I’m Steve, head of customer services for Big Inc and I’d like to thank you for choosing Big…
Please listen carefully, as all our menu options have changed.
Please enter you sixteen digit code, then press the pound sign.
You know what I’m talking about.
In the first example, so often ‘they’ know what they are talking about, but you don’t and even when you do, all you want is ‘agent’, but there’s no number to press for that.
In the second example, you could care less about Steve wanting to feel good and maybe you feel you made the wrong choice anyway.
In the third example, you have been hearing that same message over the last year and ten calls + you’re not an idiot or you would not be calling a tech support center.
Chances are high that in the fourth example, you will be asked for that same information a couple more times before you get done with the call.
Of course, you have your own frustrations and beefs. Since you are often told that “calls may be recorded… ” please always share your dissatisfactions-you never know, maybe a report will get back to management.
But imagine my delight when I discovered management at two companies, at least, have listened to me!
Apple and Canon.
You might expect a breakthrough from these tech giants. Well, I’d always been pleased with their people and the way they always seemed to be able to solve my problem, even sometimes when it was not their business.
I had occasion to call both Apple and Canon last week-twice. On the second call to each they acknowledged ME, and asked if I was calling about the same or a different problem. No ‘if this, press that’, no asking for serial numbers, product or offers to speak in Spanish.
The two calls took a fraction of the time for me to get resolution, wasted less time, blocked airtime less and had me calling off delighted. So much more delighted that I already was, that my feelings for both companies were positively enhanced.
Delight Customers, Don’t Piss Them Off
Big corporates and startups alike are beseeched to delight their customers, but so often fail to go the extra mile to make that happen. When a business does that, the effect is astonishing.
We are so concerned with the inside of our business that we often fail to check each of our actions potential for pissing off our most valuable asset, bar none.
When we do manage to do something great that they have not asked for, but that enhances their experience of using our product, we get a huge return on the investment.
Sustainability Through Delight
So, great product user experience, and satisfaction of value proposition are wonderful to behold, but inherently lack the ability to create a long term relationship with customers.
This delight is one of the biggest factors that those who seek sustainability often do not acknowledge. Professor Richard Rumelt (author of Good Strategy, Bad Strategy), talks about coherent action being needed to make a successful implementation of guiding policies of strategy.
My experience of the tech support breakthrough at Apple and Canon demonstrates a really significant example of coherent action. It’s tough but companies have to do everything right to ensure sustainability.
Tech Support Contributes to Strategy
Back office activities, like tech support and many others are the places in the company where the rubber meets the road, but are seen as an end in themselves.
Have you ever heard of the Director of Technical Support having a place at the top management table? Probably not. And yet his or her failure to implement customer delighting services can utterly destroy the strategic intentions of the Senior VP of Marketing.
Tech Support may not need to be at the top table, but they people involved like software engineers, communications specialists, as well as the agents themselves must think like a senior manager. Their contribution to strategy can go unsung if delightful, but will be castigated if they piss customer off too much.
William Keyser, a veteran entrepreneur, is Managing Director of Venture Founders LLC: How To Start a Business. Startup Owl offers a wealth of free information and advice to would-be and early stage entrepreneurs.
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