Customer support: 56 Channels and Nothing Done

The good news is, it's pretty simple to have a human being monitor services like Twitter and catch references to your product or service. The bad news is, adding more channels doesn't make it better or easier for the customer to get satisfaction. Speaking of the rare suppport treasure that is satisfaction, take a look at GetSatisfaction.com which ostensibly seems like a great idea.

I've used Get Satisfaction a few times for different reasons. Onne thing is does not do properly is tech support, no mater how well the company monitors it. Support requires information about a problem that one is loathe to tell the entire world about, so among other reasons, Get Satisfaction should be limited ONLY to issues like requesting new features, and blowing off steam about things you don't like, not pubic dialogues about your private needs as a customer.

I have also been engaged in a support session on Twitter with Comcast and their alter ego Frank. Now Frank does a good job of doing the "@customer How can I help" part. Unfortunately, the email exchanges that followed didn't get the job done, because the final answer was still a scripted one. It blamed the problem on someone else, aka, "It's not my job" used as a company level.

Having so many channels open to reach a company is good. Having ONE that works is far better. An easy to find contact form on the site (simple URL and simple email address) is the best way to make contact and solve a problem. The form can have subjects that direct the email to the proper person, opening a ticket and sending an auto acknowlegement containing the ticket number. The ticket software is supposed to be able to bring up all the context needed to resolve the issue. 

Live chat is great when it works. Which it rarely has for me. One case that worked pretty well, was Mosso. But the fact is, when I used Mosso's phone support that too was excellent, so it isn't so much a question of the channels but the efficiency those manning them. 

I find it impossible to believe that someone at a high level has tried their own company's support to see how well it works. Bad support multiplies customer frustration and dissatisfaction exponentially so it's a no-brainer to say "go check your support as a customer would experience it".

When you first arrive at the IVR level, you are asked to enter your number and maybe some other keypad entry. So when the agent answers, why does she need to ask again?

Stop telling people "your call is important to us". It's almost a proof to the contrary, since you need to say it several times. Stop the ads during the music on hold loop, they really add a new level of irritation. 

Bottom line: you either care about the feeling your customer gets when she calls for help or you don't. Find why to make it so that don't require pretending it is so while putting the caller through innumerable hoops to jump through before getting someone who reads a script. 

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