Monday, December 12, 2011

Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed: 2 Case Studies

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.

DC Comics
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"
  • James:
  • 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 along with their 1-800-number. Time to call customer service. It went something like this:
  • Prompt: "Please enter your confirmation number"
  • James:
  • 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:
  1. Be quick!
  2. Quickly identify the person calling and access their information (verifying is cool, asking me to repeat myself is not)
  3. 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.)
  4. Quickly identify the issue and possible solutions (The person should be trained enough to understand what's going on)
  5. 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)

Both DC Comics and are excellent examples. Good job!

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