Great customer service

by Michael Alderete on 7/23/2004

Just this last week I had two great customer service experiences. With all the horrible customer service most companies provide, via outsourced call centers or worse, the great companies deserve to be noticed and praised, and patronized.

First, my DSL connection went out. Rochelle got me out of bed early Sunday with a “Honey, is the internet working?” After a couple of quick tests, it was clear the problem wasn’t on my end. I called our DSL provider, Speakeasy, and opened a trouble ticket.

What was remarkable was that (a) I didn’t wait on hold for more than 2 minutes before I spoke with the first human being. And (b), she was the only person I spoke to, because instead of being an idiot reading from a script and telling me to power cycle my computer / router / coffee maker, she knew her shit, and we quickly ran through real troubleshooting steps that allowed her to isolate the issue to being outside my network. She wrote down my particulars, and told me what she was going to do, and how Speakeasy was going to get the problem solved.

Four hours later, Rochelle and I were taking an afternoon nap (it was Sunday), and we got a phone call. Speakeasy, letting us know that they had found a bad circuit card in the network center, and replaced it. Would we try our connection and see if things were working again? Sure enough, everything was good.

Not 10 minutes later, I received an e-mail message asking me to rate my recent ticket support. Speakeasy follows up every trouble ticket to ask you how they did. They are not afraid of getting feedback, because they work very hard to make sure it will always be positive. And I gave them the top rating across the board, because they’d earned it, by being quick, treating me like an intelligent person, and being proactive and following up, instead of just silently closing the ticket when they found and replaced the bad card. (It’s amazing how many companies close tickets when they find a problem, without checking back to see if it was the problem.)

My other great experience was simpler. I was working on some HTML pages for a web site for Rochelle, using the finest text editor available, BBEdit. And, when trying to select a menu choice I’ve used many times before, the item was grayed out, inactive. I tried a bunch of things, and couldn’t figure it out. So, on a Saturday, I sent off an e-mail inquiry to Bare Bones Software‘s technical support. Less than a day later, still on the weekend, I got back an e-mail from the director of technical support, which not only had the answer, but also guessed (correctly) at how it had happened. It turns out that a third-party plug-in I had recently installed does something bad, and that bad thing has the effect of disabling the command I wanted.

So (a) they knew exactly what the problem was immediately, and (b) the problem wasn’t created by Bare Bones, but they addressed it anyway. That’s great customer service.

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