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I’m a Customer Please Ignore Me

Last updated January 15, 2013
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I Just Need Some Help From Customer Service.......

With so many apps and business tools available on line how do you, if you are a non-techy like me, decide which ones to sign up for?

So many tools and apps are the same (at least they seem that way to me).  Essentially they solve the same problem – but when they go wrong, as a business owner, you want someone to solve the problem for you. And guess what, generally we are happy to pay if we have done the damage. But if it’s a bug at the suppliers end and we have discovered it well, surely we should get a solution quickly?

Sadly this week I have had a whole week of hassle trying to solve problems with a remote customer services department who would only communicate using their own software system – perish the thought they might actually talk to me! So, I have spent far too much time having to try and solve it myself on top of lots of time trying to get some help from the supplier!

Why is it that these on-line tools and solutions companies will only deal with you via email, Twitter or their own ‘report a problem template or form’? The last straw for me this week was being asked for a screen grab (I can do that!) but I mustn’t send it as an attachment! Instead I was told to download yet another tool that appears to do the same as an attachment! Needless to say I voted with my feet and now have a new supplier – and hopefully a much better one

Related Post: Dear BT Your Customer Service Sucks!

It seems to me that these companies are really happy to take our money but their terms rule! Heaven help you when you get a problem and you can’t talk to anyone, you have to follow their procedures, timelines and formats - quite frankly it’s astounding that they think that customers will put up with such treatment. They say the true test of how good a supplier is, is how they deal with your complaint. Take me seriously, solve my problem quickly and effectively and you will probably have me as a customer for life! Fail to do that and I’m walking and telling anyone that will listen why!

So, I have decided that my main selection criterion for a supplier has to be:

“Who is going to work hard to solve my problem when it occurs?”

That means:

  • Who is going to recognise that I am a customer?
  • Who is going to take me seriously?
  • Who is going to understand that I can use the tool but as I didn’t build it I don’t know what’s wrong?
  • Who is going to let me actually talk to them rather than fill in templates or send emails?
  • Who will understand that I can’t solve the problem myself – after all I don’t fix my own car when it goes wrong I send it to an expert at the garage!

In general, it’s the big boys that are a nightmare to deal with. Even my bank only wants to communicate 24/7 via the ‘Can we help’ box on their web site. Just one problem they don’t respond to the question “I have a few problems with my account – can you call me please?” So, another job for next week - find a customer friendly bank!

Call me old fashioned but I like to talk through problems – I’m a coach after all – and I like to learn then perhaps I can solve it myself if it happens again!

So, from now on I’ll be avoiding suppliers who;

  1. Don’t publish a phone number
  2. Use contact email addresses such as sales@, customerservices@, info@  etc.
  3. Have automated answering; press one for X, press 2 for……
  4. Heavily promote ‘on-line support’ facilities

What puts you off using some suppliers?

Shirley Mansfield
Master Business Problem Solver

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