Friday, November 21, 2008

Customer Service

There are only a few things that a company can do that will upset me. For example, I become agitated when a company is over-charging for products or services that I know should be priced more reasonably. That's annoying. But I have to say that there is nothing more annoying or troublesome than bad customer service.

Earlier today I was working on a rather complex demographic question that included six variables, more variables than our resources at the Research Network could compare. I spoke to an industry publisher who redirected me to two companies that might be able to help. I called each company with the reasonable expectation that I would be able to determine if they could help or not.

Company number one, which will remain nameless, had an automated system answer. After eight minutes of being on the phone (with a disconnect from their end at one point), I was unable to determine if the company offered what I was looking for. After eight minutes, I was never offered the option of speaking to a human being. In fact, I pushed every combination I could think of to connect with an operator and had no success. The automated system spent most of the time trying to convince me to buy one certain product without clearly describing what other services were offered.

Company number two, J.D. Power and Associates, answered the phone on the second ring. Not an automated system, but a human being. The woman who answered the phone was cordial and informative, and in under two minutes I had an email address to send the inquiry that my resources could not handle. Although the associate could not verify that their resources would be able to handle the various dimensions of the request, she was able to provide me with an answer, which was much more than company one accomplished.

Needless to say, in the future, I will not even think to ask company one for assistance, while company two will stay in my contact list. Below are links to articles on phone customer service.

Microsoft Small Business Center: 15 Customer Service No-No's

McGill University: Top 10 telephone etiquette tips for customer service providers (Word Document)

Phone Pro: Impressive First Impressions

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