Since this conversation started during the holidays, going to bump it with a personal story ... however, it is from a slightly different perspective. It is customer feedback that I got from a customer about a support call I was on.
When: Spring 1998
What: Internet Service Provider - Inbound Sales Call - "i.e. I want Internet, sign me up"
This was the height of Windows 95, and it was not uncommon for people to see our ad (in the paper), have a computer, and decide..."I want to try this Internet thing out". They would call us up over the phone, and we could normally have them setup and online in less than 10 minutes, 30 minutes for the really new users.
- Customer (C) calls up and says, "I want Internet".
- I (Me) confirm with her that she has the required hardware (i.e. computer + available phone line).
- I ask her if she has Mac/Window and she confirms Windows.
- I ask her if she has Windows 3.1 or 95, she confirms 95.
- (Me) I ask her to then go ahead and click on the Start button (*noticeable background noise stops) ...
- (C) "Oh my gosh, it just turned off" ...
- (Me) I'm thinking, great...she pressed the Power button. I instruct her that the Power button is not the Start button. I ask her to turn back on her computer, and she does so (*noticeable background noise starts again). We talk for a minute to give it a few minutes to start, and I ask her to look in her lower-left hand corner...do you see the "Start" button?
- (C) She says "Yes".
- (Me) OK...click on Start => My Computer => Dial-Up Networking.
- (C) She says, "Done".
- (Me) Ok...click "Add New Connection".
- (C) "I dont see that" ...
- This cycle continues for another 30 minutes or so, going through the various permutations that might cause her to not see the intended UI. Finally, as I am just about at the end of patience and my sanity. I hear, "........ Mr. Marshall" in the background.
- (Me) (being a movie buff) ... Are you watching Rooster Cogburn?
- (C) "Yes"
- (Me) Are you at your TV?
- (C) "Yes"
- (Me) Have you been trying this all on your TV?
- (C) "Yes ... (banter) ... I saw this ad that I could get online with just my TV"
- (Me) You are talking about WebTV ... do you have a WebTV unit?
- (C) "No, just a TV"
- (Me) I explain to her the difference between WebTV, TV, and computer. And how to get online she needs to get the proper hardware. I suggested that she stop by the local Circuit City to get more information. I proceed to refund her money and close out the call.
3 Weeks Later:
I come in for a shift with a note at my station. Apparently, this customer had:
- Purchased a computer from Circuit City
- Purchased a book on Windows 95
- and, called back and prepaid for a full year (prior call was for 3 months prepaid)
She was very thankful for my patience on the phone and was extremely excited to be online! She passed along this experience to many of her friends, who subsequently signed up for Internet service in the following weeks.
While a bit detailed, this experience goes down in my books as my most frustrating customer support experience of all time from the support-side perspective; however, in hind sight it also was my most rewarding experience and anecdote.
Not everyone can say they ushered someone into the Internet-age over the phone in under an hour, when the person thought a TV was a computer. But I can. =) Anyone else care to share? If not, I've got some fun ones with some telephone providers that are a hoot!
Well, this might be one of the worst customer support scenarios I've seen in a long time. I understand the need for a firm response in certain situations, but this appears to be counter productive and alienating.
Wow...it's almost like a text book of how NOT to engage your customers. Thanks for sharing! =)
Holy cow-- definitely should be in the Community Manager handbook as a 'what not to do'.
One of a classic case from recent past that I came across - not really my experience but my friend was involved.
So with Twitter gaining popularity as part of customer support in India in past year or two, a lot of vendors have jumped onto the bandwagon - but as most of us here would guess, these vendors have no clue about the Dos & Donts of using social media for customer support. Very few actually have dedicated folks sitting behind those twitter handles and almost none of those are educated enough to understand how these new media tools work.
In this particular instance we had one of our leading Cellular Service Providers very conveniently tweeted my friend's mobile number asking him to confirm it on twitter! After a huge backlash, the worse happened, they deleted the tweet, but by then me & a few others had already taken screenshots and more. It was a pretty sad state of managing customer privacy on public social media.
There are many similar instances that have happened in last few years, but this was personally close to me. Definitely helps emphasize the fact that social media is not just for fun and one does need education / understanding over and beyond just typing 140 characters!