Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The New Standard in Customer Service/What's Wrong with You?

My four-year-old car has one of those navigation systems, a cool extra feature that we’ve used and appreciated, particularly in large cities where the map data has been surprisingly complete and accurate.

On occasion, the company that manufactures the DVD’s for the system contacts us, offering to sell us a new DVD with updated map information. We purchased a new DVD about two years ago, but like many software “upgrades,” it seemed to be more of a downgrade. We have driven to the beach on two occasions and were plagued by a number of wrong turns and incorrect instructions from the Bond Girl (our name for the female voice who tells you when to turn).

Suffice it to say that when we received a notice that version 6.6 was out, we were skeptical. Before we plunked down the nearly $200 for the new disk, I thought I'd e-mail the company, asking if this version truly was an upgrade. The customer service representative was less than helpful.

CS: What kinds of errors did you encounter?
TS: While driving through two states, we were advised to take several wrong turns, and the map data was incorrect.
CS: Exactly what kinds of errors did you encounter?
TS: I’ve already given you all the detail I can remember. Thank you, though—you’ve helped me decide that I don’t want to purchase another DVD from your company, because if you were really interested in customer service you’d be asking “How can I help?” rather than “Why can’t you give me more details?”

Today I received another e-mail, "What kinds of errors did you encounter?"

No wonder is so successful. They're like a little oasis in the desert of poor service and weak apologies.

Last night, DH was attempting to order some sheet music online, and the merchant’s web site kept kicking him out of checkout and losing the contents of his shopping cart. (See, I think that if you’re in business, you should make it easy for people to give you money, but oh, well.) He became extremely frustrated and finally just faxed the order to the company this morning, requesting a phone call. When the customer service person called him, he related his difficulty with ordering online.

DH: I couldn’t complete the checkout process, and the site kept losing my entire order.
CS: What’s wrong with your computer?
DH: Huh?
CS: What’s wrong with your computer?
DH: Nothing. I have no problem ordering anything else online—it’s just your site.
CS: Do you have a Mac or a PC?
DH: Both. We tried it on my PC and on my wife’s Mac.
CS: Well, we set up a new web site, but that was about a year ago.
DH: It’s terrible.
CS: Well, I hope you figure out what’s wrong with your computer.

Yikes! Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your monitor. Now, remember—the next time you have a patient or a client with a question or concern, just keep repeating this to them: “What’s wrong with you?”


the roomie said...

Don't you love it when Bond Girl starts saying "Recalculating, recalculating. When possible make a U-turn," and you know what she really wants to say is "Turn around you stupid idiot."

TS said...

Oh, yeah, we get that a lot. And since the "upgrade," quite often she doesn't ever figure it out.