service disservice

Are you providing great customer disservice? – Part 1

I experienced two customer service fails in the same week. Part 1 describes my odyssey with a well-known audio/video conferencing service that sounds like Kleenex.

I needed to remove a long-discontinued phone number as the default callback number for this conferencing service. Whenever I joined a meeting, it would prompt to callback my old business number. I needed to type in my new number. I searched the company’s Knowledge Base, tried a few actions, and no luck. As a free user (basic functionality, good enough), my customer service interactions are limited to a series of emails.

On the positive side, customer service responded promptly.

Let’s give credit where it’s due. The promptness of responses made me feel as if the company properly staffs itself to handle customer service inquiries across multiple channels.

Then it went downhill.

With the first email, the representative sent a link to uninstall the program. I responded and reminded him that I have a Mac and that he sent me the link to a PC-based program.

He then sent me another link, this time to install the Mac package. While already installed, I figured that a new installation might fix my issue. No dice. I still had the old callback number.

Third time – no charm. He sent me a link to uninstall their program. (Note — he never told me to uninstall and then re-install; I still need the program).

On my own, I figured out that by clicking on an inconspicuous arrow, it shows your saved phone numbers. I deleted the old number there.

Why didn’t he know that?

It’s the simple-stupid fix in a completely questionable location. I informed him about the fix, suggested he update his documentation, and asked him to close the ticket.

One might argue I got what I pay for. But while the situation mildly annoyed me, consider the amount of time the Help Desk technician needed to research, send me responses, rinse, and repeat. If the company has updated, correct documentation, they could save time and money with a first-contact issue resolution. And I would be writing about a customer service success.

You can take three simple actions to improve the customer service you provide.

  1. Review and update your documentation. You should do this at least annually. If you upgrade the product or service you provide, make sure the documentation is accurate prior to rollout.
  2. Analyze your interactions with your customers. Ticketing systems, especially when integrated with email and live chat transcripts, provide insight into how your customers use your product and the problems they have with the product. Take advantage of the information contained within these tools to continuously improve your customer relationships and product functionality.
  3. Communicate changes to your employees, especially those who are customer-facing. A more experienced help desk technician often provides answers based on past calls. They need to know that something has changed and that their responses must change.

Whether your customers use a service you provide or buy one of your products, they are grading you on all of their interactions with you. If they can figure out how to solve a problem before you can, then something needs to be fixed in how you operate.

Photo courtesy of Rinet IT Australia under Creative Commons License.

Discussion (respond below):

  1. Do you have a recent customer service fail you need to vent about?
  2. What steps do you or your company take to remain customer-focused?

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3 responses to “Are you providing great customer disservice? – Part 1”

  1. Dana Lasko Avatar
    Dana Lasko

    Thanks, Harold, some terrific insights written in a compelling manner, as always.
    Recently I had an interaction with a company when I was locked out of my account. After one round when I could not get back in despite filling out the customer service form, the interaction was successfully concluded – the analyst noted that I had gone back to the website rather than clicked on the helpfully provided link in the email. Great!
    The very long series of letters that you have to input, as another option when you are in a lockout situation – Not so great, if you don’t have a Millenial-level memory and are not in a copy-paste friendly environment.
    All in all, a good experience that exceeded expectations although it did take 72 hours (48 of which were due to my schedule). For this interaction there was no urgency, OTOH often I am trying to respond to another member’s inquiry ASAP so usually there is some time urgency.

    1. Harold Waisel Avatar

      Thanks for reading! It sounds like you had a pretty good experience, although the initial lockout process seemed frustrating. It is interesting how our sense of urgency can easily change how we perceive the situation.

      I’m not a security expert, although I occasionally play one on TV. I like using @LastPass to manage all my passwords and logins. In most cases, I don’t know what my passwords are anymore, so being well-past a millenial doesn’t impact me here. Check it out.

  2. Dana Lasko Avatar
    Dana Lasko

    Thanks Harold, I will look into @LastPass.

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