Recently I've had a couple of great customer service experiences. I bought a printer from Lexmark for $120 that came with a five-year warranty. After awhile I had to call their customer service--a live person answered and spent 45-minutes with me on the phone troubleshooting my network printing issues. I can't imagine the original purchase price even covered this phone call, and yet I still have four years remaining on the warranty. Impressive. I also had to call Lutron about a light switch dimmer that was malfunctioning. Their support number was easy to find since it was printed on the side of the dimmer. The switch was seven years old and had been used thousands of times. The tech who answered didn't care how old it was--he sent me two new dimmers free of charge...the "extra one in case the other one goes out." Now I am a Lutron customer for life.
But unfortunately most customer service stories aren't so great. Here is my advice for them...
- Don't play a recording that says "we are experiencing an unusually high call volume right now." Just fix your infrastructure.
- Don't send me to a call center overseas. I love the people of India, but I need to be able to understand the person with whom I'm talking.
- Don't ask me to "Press 1 for English." This is America. Our language is English. How about, "Press 1 if you don't speak English."
- Don't continually give me a different number to call. Figure out a way to transfer calls within your own company. It's not that hard.
- Don't play a 30-second music loop when we both know I'm going to be on hold for more than 30-minutes. That means I have to listen to the same piece of music more than 60-times.
- Don't hang up on me. When I call your customer service department at 9:30pm and you are open until 10pm and I stay on hold listening to your insane music loop for 30 minutes waiting for you to answer and then you disconnect my call at exactly 10:00pm--it doesn't make me think pleasant thoughts about you.
- Don't ask me to enter my credit card number, social security number and zip code--and then ask me for the same exact information when a live person comes on the line.
- Don't assume that you know why I'm calling. Your menu of options might not meet my needs. Always give me a way to talk to a live person...in America.
- Don't try to up-sell me. I'm calling because I'm unhappy with your company. I need you to fix something. Don't try to sell me more until you've made me happy.
- Don't call me back with a customer service survey. It's a nice gesture, but I really don't want to talk to you anymore. If you want to know what I think, just read my blog.
I've decided not to tell you which companies this advice is based on (you know who you are). Just shape up--and maybe someday I'll write about my great experience with one of your representatives.