Unfortunately, it's rare to experience excellent customer service. Clearly its from a lack of training and the type of people attracted to that level of pay. However, I recently experienced two cases of excellent customer service and wanted to sing their praise.
I get the Superman comic, which is awesome. DC just re-started the series with "The New 52". Very exciting! However, last month I was surprised to find no comic and this month to get the next issue. Time to call customer service to see if I could get the missing issue. It went something like this:
- James: "Hi, I never got #2 of the new 52 Superman comic"
- Rep: "No problem, what's your name and zip code"
- Rep: "OK. It's processed and will arrive in 5-10 business day. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
BOOM. Done. That easy. I was on the line for less than 5 minutes. I was fully expecting to pay and had rummaged through our recycling to find my subscription number - neither of which were required. Here's what I liked about it:
- I didn't go through 5+ menu options
- I didn't need to verify myself over and over and over
- He understood my issue and solved it super fast
Jessi and I are going on a trip soon. Due to changes, we now need a hotel room one night earlier. I get my confirmation number off TripIt.com along with their 1-800-number. Time to call customer service. It went something like this:
- Prompt: "Please enter your confirmation number"
- Rep: "Hi Mr. Furlo, how can I help you?"
- James: "I'd like to add one additional night to my hotel the night before my reservation"
- Rep: "Got it, add a night before. Let me check availability. OK. Got it, and it's a couple dollars cheaper."
- James: "Nice."
- Rep: "If it's OK, we'll just charge the room using the same card."
- James: "Perfect"
- Rep: "OK. You should have an email confirming it within seconds."
- I did. Forwarded it to TripIt and it updated everything perfectly.
WOW. Off the phone is less than 10 minutes. Here's what I loved about this:
- PEEVE: Asking me to verbally repeat my number after I already punch it into the phone. It feels good when systems interconnect like theirs.
- I didn't need to grab my card and repeat my number
- I actually saved money instead of it costing more!
- Again, she understood my request right away and solved it instantly
It seems there are a few really simple principles to great customer service:
- Be quick!
- Quickly identify the person calling and access their information (verifying is cool, asking me to repeat myself is not)
- Drop the complex menu system (I'll "press 1" once or twice, then it's "0", no matter what, to talk to a real human. If your phone service has a huge menu tree - put it all online and let me do it there.)
- Quickly identify the issue and possible solutions (The person should be trained enough to understand what's going on)
- Empower reps to solve problems beyond the most mundane requests (about half my calls I request to speak to their supervisor, who is magically able to resolve my issue quickly. This is wrong. Either properly train people and hire people you trust)