Generally, I like what David Pogue has to say. Today in his daily mail he covers “Business 101: Quality Customer Service Breeds Customer Loyalty.” (registration required)
In it, he talks about the experience he had with a popular online electronics retailer, one that I must confess I have never used. (My wife will find that quite alarming, as she thinks I’ve been a customer of just about every major computer and electronics etailer on the web).
What struck me in the column today was not the great price, the web user experience or the fast shipping… Mr. Pogue wrote about something that made a much bigger impact on him: the customer experience he had with the company. He talks about how Crutchfield has a “hyper-service-oriented approach” that has “generated a massive audience of rabid and repeat customers.”
This from today’s article
“Sure enough: when the package arrived, there was Crutchfield’s installation manual, with the company’s “we’re here to help you” toll-free number printed in 60-point type on the first page.
“What are they, nuts!? They are actually *inviting* people to call them for free technical support? Don’t they have any idea how that idea will kill their revenue stream? Haven’t they learned anything from the computer industry?
“Above all, I can’t help wondering why nobody else has questioned the wisdom of the current “go away, customer” attitude that prevails in the penny-pinching computer and software industries.”
There’s part of that last sentence, that software companies have developed a “go away, customer” attitude, that rings true and in some ways is not quite correct. If anything, a number of companies have increased the ways in which you can interact with the company, making it easier than ever before to get help with a software problem. But problems and inconsistencies do still exist. Contrast the above experience with this well-documented and discussed poor example…
“The response was overwhelming. More than 1,000 readers weighed in with comments, many lamenting their own customer service horror stories with the vendor. Ferrari was interviewed on the Today show. Google news lists 32 news accounts of the incident. The recording was downloaded more than 65,000 times from YouTube. Demand was so high that Ferrari’s blog server crashed. You can read his story here.”
I’ve talked about my good OEM support experiences with Dell and examples of how our own OfficeLive team makes the connection with customers during their beta. More on that later, but I wanted to point out that every time we interact with a customer and a partner, we should view these as an opportunity to influence and delight our customers.