Recently I was trying to solve an issue over the phone with a well-known retail company. I got into a strange loop of talking to a computer. I had to push seven different buttons to get where I wanted to go. When I finally got there it became clear that my issue could not be solved by the automated voice because it did not fit the next set of menu items. Despite repeatedly saying “Customer service, please,” the computer would not connect me with a live operator and kept looping the same menu questions.
Fifteen minutes later I finally connected with a human being. Needless to say, I was furious and frustrated but three simple words lowered my blood pressure. “So sorry, sir.” An immediate apology goes a long way in getting back on the right track. What is even better is staying off the wrong track that ends up requiring an apology.
It is incidents like this one that make me so passionate about customer service. When it comes to software providers, how do you evaluate whether you are getting the support you need and deserve? Here are 8 critical questions to consider.
Who is answering the phone?
If you are under pressure to enable a feature or troubleshoot an issue the last thing you want to do is do battle with an automated phone system. Demand a provider that provides a live person answering the phone.
Is the support in-house or outsourced?
Our clients have an infinite number of equipment configurations and scenarios. Troubleshooting software efficiently and effectively can often mean asking an experienced engineer or developer to provide input. Keeping support in-house means customer service reps need only to walk down the hall to get help with complicated requests.
How long should you have to wait to talk with support?
Demand a provider who will at the very least answer your request by the end of the day but strives to start a dialogue within minutes.
How long should issues take to resolve?
It depends on the issue but simple questions that have to do with compatibility, use of features, and general information should be answered immediately when possible, but certainly within an hour or two.
We have found that customers don’t have time to go back and access their contract every time a new scenario presents itself. For example, they may purchase a new server and want to know if there is a fee for license transfer (there should not be). Or they need help troubleshooting an error message or accommodating a request for a customized report. The pressure on IT personnel to keep everything running smoothly is considerable. Assistance from the software provider needs to be quick and accurate.
Sometimes the best way to solve an issue is for techs to get online to collaborate together. Demand that your software provider has a portal and enough staff to troubleshoot live.
Demand that your software provider offers webinars and training on a regular basis to help customers leverage every feature applicable of the software to improve workflow and functionality.
Demand that customer service from your software provider is not an expensive add-on that escalates every year.
Sorry is NOT the hardest word.
No company can offer 100 percent performance. So when a mistake is made you should expect a sincere apology.
The bottom-line is that it is the customer’s right to demand that a software provider invests as much in support as in designing new products. The best customer service reps are empowered to stand behind the product and offer a full refund if an issue cannot be resolved.
Click here to read how our in house support assited Jewels by Park Lane.