Never Ask the Customer to Do What You Can Do

Posted on by in Business, Customer Service, Design, Remarkability

Don’t you hate it when you call a company with a problem, and they give you another number to call? "I’m sorry, you’ve called customer service.  You’ll need to call tech support at the following number?"  Aaahhh!!!! Or, in today’s culture, it often occurs with email.  You send an email to someone in response to a problem and they write back, "You’ll need to contact xyz person at abc@xzy.com."  It’s inane, isn’t it? 

Unfortunately it happens all the time (and there’s usually some vestige of it in all of our companies and organizations).  In fact, I just had this happen to me recently.  Since last Monday evening I haven’t been able to receive email through my main account, bruce@brucedjohnson.com (not very advantageous for a business, especially one with the name, Make it Remarkable).  So I wrote to tech support explaining the problem and giving them all of the relevant details.

After 35 hours of still not being able to receive email through my domain account that they host (and 12 emails to tech support, including responses to such inane questions from them like, "What is the email account you’re having problems with?" which is a question I addressed in the previous 10 communiques with them), I decided to write to management@site5.com.  Obviously, I wasn’t getting anywhere with "customer service", so I thought someone higher up the ladder ought to know how poorly this has been handled.

Shortly after I sent the email to management@site5.com, I received the following email back.

"Dear Valued Site5 Customer,

Thank you for your email to Site5’s management address.  Unfortunately, we’ve decided to discontinue the use of this address.  We have recently added some very skilled staff members to our help desk in order to facilitate ticket escalation.  If you’d like your ticket to be seen by a senior member of our support team, please ask for the ticket to be escalated and one of our Level 3 Sr. System Administrators will be more than happy to help you with any outstanding issues."

Question, "Why did I need to see this email?"  If they changed the system so that management no longer sees emails to this address (bad choice, by the way, since management should want to know their customers’ experiences with their company), all they needed to do was to forward this on to the Level 3 Administrator–where it should go directly to the top of their priority list and a response should be sent out promptly.  The absolute last thing any company should want to do with a frustrated customer is make them do more work.  There was absolutely no reason why that email should have been sent out. I don’t know who’s in management.  And, furthermore, why were they (a technology company) asking me to do something they could have easily done themselves (forward it).  At every juncture, this company has failed in the last two days to do what their website says, "We have a very high customer satisfaction rate and are known as one of the most customer oriented hosts in the industry." Not by me.

So, back to you and your company or organization.  Where are the places and systems where you’re asking your customers to do what you can do? A classic illustration of this is filling out the same information at the doctor’s office time after time after time.  Or not having a database that all of your people can access with all of your customers’ histories in it.  None of us likes having to repeat the same information to different people in the same organization. So where are asking customers to do what you can do?

Once you identify those places, eliminate them.  Because sometimes remarkability is simply found in making it easy to do business with you.

P.S.  It’s now over one week later and I still haven’t been able to retrieve my email (even though I’ve written over 40 emails to them, contacted the President and COO of Site5, waited for days between responses, and tried multiple email readers on multiple computers in multiple locations–all to no avail.  So much for 24/7 customer service, eh?).

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One Response to “Never Ask the Customer to Do What You Can Do”

  1. Chris Cree 31 October 2006 at 1:33 pm #

    Sounds like it may be time for a new web host! That’s nuts.


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