Great customer service isn't hard. It's tedious, it's thoughtful, and it's a little effort, but it's not hard. It can cost time and money, and so many people try to shortcut things here, resulting in badwill. In these days of automated voice response and speech recognition systems, it can be frustrating for the customer, and it appears that many companies don't worry about that.
I see it as a mistake, and one that small businesses don't want to repeat. They can't afford to churn customers as much as large companies, though large companies are realizing this is an issue as well.
I got a new modem/router the other day since my current one has issues. When I got it home, I realized that I didn't have the password to connect to the DSL line, and I couldn't retrieve it from the modem. Not sure why it's a big deal to get it back since that's likely a more secure place than on my desk, but in any case, I can to call Qwest.
I got an automated system, as expected, and it wasn’t obvious which options to pick for a “need my password”, but it was simple. I selected “Internet” over “Telephone” and then “Tech Support” since it wasn’t billing or ordering. Next it was “Configuration” over “Installation”, “Email”, and “Troubleshooting”. That immediately brought me to an agent, well not immediately, but within 2 minutes. I got a message in the meantime saying the expected wait was 3 minutes.
That’s easy, using automation to efficiently schedule people and providing feedback. I’m not sure how expensive this is for small businesses, but lots of little call center applications exist, and they could easily do this for you.
I explained my issue and the agent told me to hold for a minute while he checked. I asked him what he was checking and he said he wanted to verify the old password that he had was working. That’s amazing. I can’t tell you how many times someone has reset or sent me a password without checking it. I’ve done that, and when it doesn’t work, it’s annoying.
He then read it to me, let me read it back, and then asked if I wanted him to stay on hold while I switched them. I said no because I wasn’t quite ready here, but I appreciated the offer.
Total time about 5 minutes from the phone number lookup to having the info. Very impressive.