This blog post was originally conceived as a rant about several recent customer service experiences. As I started organizing my thoughts I found myself looking for the lessons in the things which frustrated me or impressed me. What did I learn?
LinkedIn: Be Proactive
One day, I got an email from LinkedIn telling me that there was a problem with the way updates from my company pages were being displayed in the general news feed. I didn’t even know there was a problem. The email expressed concern, apologized and told me they were working on it. A few days later in a follow-up email, I was informed the problem had been rectified, none of my data had been lost and my updates were now displaying properly.
The emails were sent to thousands of people, but the way the message was worded, it felt as if they were talking just to me. Their proactive and informative approach left me feeling confident that they are committed to delivering a great product with high level of service.
The Lesson: Tell customers when things are going wrong before they figure it out. Let them know there is a plan to fix it and they will be patient as you work on it.
Facebook: Admit there is a Problem
Like LinkedIn, Facebook was having issues with status updates not displaying properly. For months we’ve been noticing intermittent issues with the way status updates displayed on our company page and the pages we manage for clients.
Searching the FAQs and Help Screens made us feel like we were the only company having this problem. It wasn’t until we reached out on Twitter that we discovered we weren’t alone. Several of our peers were experiencing the same issues, but they couldn’t find any information about the problem either. One day the problem magically resolved itself. Never once in all the time we were battling this issue did Facebook acknowledge the problem.
The Lesson: Admit there is a problem. Left in the dark, your customers will imagine the worst. We wondered if it was all part of some elaborate scheme to get us to pay for sponsored content when it was just a technical issue.
To be fair I need to admit, I don’t like GoDaddy. As a result, I always expect the worst when I have to call them. True to form, they lived up to my expectations. After holding for 20 minutes, I was told they knew the site I was trouble shooting was down and they were working on it.
There was no timeline for the repair to be completed and no offer to update me via email about progress toward resolution. Their support page was 24 hours out of date, but clearly showed that the problem we were experiencing had been occurring intermittently for several days. How hard would it have been for them to keep this page updated? At least I would have had the option to check on line when I had time. Instead, I had to call back every four hours and retell my story from the beginning, because their customer service people don’t actually seem to take any notes.
A #fail tweet got the attention of their customer service representative , who was polite but useless.
@roundpeg Thank you, I will have my hosting team dig into this today for you. ^C
— Go Daddy (@GoDaddy) April 10, 2013
Over the next few days ^C and I traded notes as one site came back up and another went down. He was always ready to send me a link to their support forum which was still 24 hours out of date. Even now, a week after the incident, the support forum has less information then is available on other hosting company sites.
The Lesson: If you are going to use online tools to provide support, keep the information current. If you’re going to use social media for customer service, make sure your reps have the power to actually do something.
The bottom line? Your customers are grading you and the criteria isn’t just how quickly you solve the problem, but how well you communicate along the way.