Customer service has not died, contrary to popular belief. Frankly, it’s alive and well if you know where to look. However, a lot of poor or non-existent customer service offerings for a wide array of products are out there and these foster that ill feeling that customer service is an afterthought to most organizations.
Poor Customer Service Experiences
A couple of examples we have come across recently help illustrate the poor customer service experiences many of us see every day. I’m sure you can cite many of your own and feel free to comment about these experiences if you’d like. This post is ultimately not about poor customer service stories, though, as you will see later in the post.
- A small business loses an opportunity to exhibit at an upcoming show that it has exhibited at several times before. Why? Because a customer who is an important part of the show is unhappy with a product from the business. And there’s been no refund or telephone call or email back from the business owner. And it’s been almost a year in this situation. The lack of customer service has cost the small business not only this irate customer but who knows how many potentional customers at the previously successful show.
- We at Web Active Directory asked for a product demo four days ago for a solution we’re thinking about purchasing. In four days we’ve received no response and this vendor is leaking a direct revenue opportunity from us. At the least you would assume we would be treated well as a prospect before we’ve been converted to a customer, but not in this scenario.
Good Customer Service is Still Alive
What is good customer service? Here at Web Active Directory, we don’t necessarily believe that “the customer is always right.” We do believe, though, that the customer always has a legimitate pain point to address. Otherwise, why would a customer be talking to us? It’s not like we provide fun and exciting gaming software that’s an end in itself. Nope…we provide powerful solutions to address Active Directory pains in Microsoft Windows AD organizations. That means it’s an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to provide customer service and address a customer’s pain point.
Web Active Directory makes customer service a high priority. In fact, assisting our customers is such a high priority that we have a full-time engineer dedicated for customer service who has worked on and tested all our solutions. And just beyond that the product developers themselves are available. No customer support scripts with knowledge tree questions here…just lots of knowledge.
And we don’t stop at providing knowledge and assistance just with our products. Nope, we offer full solutions to our customers. That means we do a lot more Active Directory and IIS web server support than most vendors even think about providing. Sometimes we even help with basic Windows administrative chores like setting up Scheduled Tasks. Why? Because our customers need this type of support to address their pain. We could easily claim that these types of activities are “outside the scope” of our support and move on. Instead, we aim to provide exemplary customer service and ensure our customers are happy with the solutions that Web Active Directory supplies to them.
Case in point, here are a couple of examples of the above-and-beyond mentality provided by our customer service representatives. We can cite a number of other individual instances and these examples include common requests we fulfill from our customers. Can you say good customer service?
- We provide solutions for a very complex data environment, Active Directory. A number of our customers need a way to easily move data into and out of Active Directory but don’t have the need or budget to purchase a full data synchronization solution. We provide guidance for using free Microsoft tools that allow very robust data synchronization for Active Directory. Is this part of our core offering and do we make money on this advice? No…heck, we don’t even charge consulting services for this offering. We just provide great customer service. (Email us if you’d like more information about these free tools.)
- Some Web Active Directory customers do not have IIS web server experts on staff and need help with basic configuration tasks like setting up friendly URLs or configuring. We provide extensive support in IIS because many of our solutions run on the ASP.NET platform that in turn runs on IIS. Could we point our customers to http://www.iis.net/ and tell them to figure it out on their own? Sure. But we don’t…we’re here to make our solutions run the best they can in your environment.
So What’s the Customer Service Verdict?
In the end, we can certainly save money by changing our customer service strategy. We could put up walls of ticketing systems that never allow direct contact with a customer support representative. We could outsource our support to Krakozhia and save a pile of money. We could be non-responsive for days and hope our customers forget their service requests. Why don’t we do this? It’s pretty simple actually: treat people the way you want to be treated.
Guess what? I don’t want to be treated like a nuisance when my patronage is the reason your enterprise exists. Know what else? Our Web Active Directory enterprise exists because of our customers’ patronage. Thank you to all of our customers who continue to support us and we hope to continue to provide exemplary support for you long into the future.
Is the fix in? Are organizations learning to treat their customers with respect and dignity or is customer support a cost center that needs to be streamlined to save money? Please add any comments about your experiences with poor or exemplary customer service and whether or not you think things are getting better or worse.