Your Call Is Important – Unless We’ve Pissed You Off – Part 2

by Bob Poole on August 17, 2011

This is Part-Three of a Five-Part Series on Customer Service. Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s including some updates about Avid Technology. Why not sign-up hereto get the rest of the series delivered to you by email? Thank you.

 

 

Difficult to Believe!

On Saturday I got an email from Avid Technology asking me to complete a customer satisfaction survey. Really – I’m not making this up!

Even More Difficult to Believe!

You may remember from yesterday that I was waiting to hear back from both Avid offshore support and a gentleman whose name is Adam from Avid Social Strategy | Corporate Communications in Burlington, MA. I assumed that Adam was still working on the problem and that’s why I hadn’t heard from him yesterday. The offshore guys had promised they would get back to me with a solution Thursday or Friday. I’m pretty sure they meant last Thursday or Friday but I started to wonder if we had a communication problem.

Then finally last night, I got an email from offshore support. I thought finally I’ll have my answer. Here’s what it said:

We have not heard from you concerning your request for support in the 5 days since we sent you a response.
Consequently, we have changed the status of your question to SOLVED

At this point in the story you have GOT to be laughing with me.

I couldn’t take any more craziness so I forwarded the email to Adam with a note that asked the question, “Are you embarrassed by this?” To Adam’s credit, he called my office and left a voice mail last night around 9:30 letting me know he had received the email, that he is still working on the problem, that he apologizes for the delay, and he left his mobile number so I can call him anytime if I have a question.

So Adam is one of the good guys. The question is will Avid let Adam deliver the kind of exceptional service that Adam obviously wants to deliver. I hope so. Not for me but for Adam. He deserves better.

On to the last name in our Customer Service Hall of Shame.

  • AWeber Email Marketing – I’m shopping for a new Email Marketing partner and since AWeber is in my back yard, I thought I’d check them out. The first thing they told me is they would have to run an confirmed opt-in on mine and my client’s email addresses to make sure they are all permission based. I had already explained I have a large, active list that gets mailed regularly and they are all permission based. I even told them what email services provider I’m with now.

I also told them “we” were not going to be doing a confirmed opt-in because I know for a fact that 50-80 percent of the people on the list just won’t see the email and then they will get dropped from the list. Then we will spend months answering their emails when they ask why they aren’t getting their newsletters, blogs, reports, etc. And, remember we do this for clients and not just our company so our clients will definitely be unhappy.

AWeber responded by asking me more questions. Okay so far – sort of – although I felt like I was working hard to become a customer.

Their next response was to ask me a lot more questions that all had to do with them asking “Are these permission based emails?” And, it was work this time as I had to gather a lot of statistics from my current system reports.

The last email (and the last email forever with AWeber as far as I’m concerned) was from Chase the Import Specialist who told me he wanted my login and password for my email service provider account at my current provider so he could see the data and history for himself that I had just sent him – much of which was cut and pasted so he could see it came from their system and not mine.

At first I considered sending the login and password to him along with my date of birth, social security number, long-form birth certificate, passport, and the encrypted pass-code to every login and password I have. Then I thought, “On second thought, I think I’ll find a different email service provider.” One that doesn’t approach potential customers with the attitude that they are obviously lying since this is how AWeber left me feeling.

There is a lot of irony here too as AWeber managed to lose their customer list database to hackers not once but twice in the past couple of years.

And, Chase, the Import Specialist, has lived up to his name and chased away a new potential customer.

I could go on with more examples and I know you have plenty of your own. Feel free to respond in the comments as you already have yesterday. The point isn’t to take these companies to task. That would be too easy. My concern is that too many companies still believe they are the ones in control of their customers when this is absolutely not the case anymore.

And, that is a wonderful thing for all of us!

 

By giving up control and allowing the customer to have control, companies can get instant feedback from many sources on the web as to how they are doing and they can put out any fires before they get out of control. That’s why Adam at Avid is monitoring Twitter. He can get positive and negative feedback instantly. Now if they only let him act on it the way they should Avid will be on its way to a big change in customer service. By the way, so you know I’m not picking on Avid, this is the second time I’ve had this type of experience with their offshore support. Last time it took a product manager in Germany to jump in and find the solution.

While product managers should get constant feedback about their customer base it is not a good use of their time to be first-line support. That’s why companies have got to continually invest in the quality and education of the people who deal face-to-face, phone-to-phone, etc. with their customers.

Customer Service should not be an entry level job which too many companies consider it to be. And, Customer Service should potentially be on a career track to anywhere in the company.

Who do you think knows more about your customers, products and services – your C-Level executives or the people in customer service?

Now where will you invest your company funds, raises, and bonuses this year?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodi Kaplan August 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Bob, they’re after you! I don’t know why, but they are.

You’ve sure had a run of bad CSR luck.

I have had only good luck (knock wood) with Aweber, but I did do a quick rundown of some of the biggies on my blog (if that helps you).

http://kaplancopy.com/blog/2011/08/03/top-email-service-providers/

Oh, and not strictly a customer service issue, but have you heard about LinkedIn’s social media marketing policy (they can use your profile and info any way they like, basically).
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Becky Blanton August 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm

You’re not alone Bob. Other folks hate Aweber too. http://www.warriorforum.com/internet-marketing-product-reviews-ratings/387243-aweber-replacement-whats-your-best-recommendation.html

I use Mailchimp. It’s free, easy and I understand it.
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Luke August 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Customer service is made of people unsatisfied with their job, with unfulfilled dreams and life that isn’t the best.
All this frustration is clearly visible. (all round the world) Plus they may not even be arsholes but the owner gave them directions on how to treat the customer.

It is a fantasy world, and every time i have any sort of problem with anything i felt like am entering a magic world of Harry Potter, LOTR and Narnia mixed together.

You call 2nd time and the guy dont know what the f%ck you want. The first guy is gone, it like you are making the first call.

I once got a technician in my house that knew less than me (internet problems), acted like a “guru” and told me to buy new pc!!! “There is something wrong with the pc cos my supa*dupa hardware is telling “ALL OK”.

I treat customer service as a bonus, a funny crazy world full of acid.

But to solve a problem ? I prefer myself…
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Bob Poole August 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I’m really not paranoid! They are after me. That is especially funny as I was exchanging emails with someone in the UK today about their social media application I am testing. I find it glitchy. Their response was – I’m sorry you’re having some issues but honestly most people don’t have these problems…. you seem to be the unlucky one ;)

Even if it were some ghost in the machine causing problems that does not excuse poor customer service and just not doing what you say you’re going to do.

Thank you so much for the comparison of ESP’s. My current one is not in that group. I have not mentioned their name as their support staff are some of the best I’ve ever come across. It isn’t for lack of customer support that I’m leaving them.

Thanks again.

Bob Poole August 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm

The monkey is looking mighty hospitable from what I can tell so far. And, I love their sense of humor.

Bob Poole August 17, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Hi Luke and welcome to The Water Cooler. I agree there are a lot of frustrated, unhappy folks working in C.S. The good ones end up leaving the company or changing jobs. The ones who can’t do either of those two things stay unhappy and it comes through. Hopefully, more and more companies see the value of allowing their employees to delight their customers.

Patty Newbold August 18, 2011 at 12:30 am

Bob, what awful experiences with customer service!

I am truly sorry you have had a bad time with AWeber, because I find them fantastic and enjoy the fact they are local. As a customer of theirs who previously managed all the hoop-jumping of running a list of 80K without help like they now provide, I also appreciate and stand behind their insistence on confirming new customers’ lists are truly confirmed opt-in lists. I hope you have woken them up to the need to do it with more attention to the customer.
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Bob Poole August 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Hi Patty and thanks for your feedback and comments.

Interesting you would say that about AWeber. My research, the actual experience of a good friend of mine with a large following, and my IT support companies experience it people lose up to 80% of their subscribers. It isn’t because they have old or spammy lists. Quite the contrary. As you probably know, most emails are doing well to get a 20% open rate. That means on a double opt-in which AWeber mandates you will lose the other 80%.

Have you ever had to switch companies from someone else to AWeber? Did you experience this? What would you suggest for avoiding the nightmare I described?

Thank you very much. And, since we live in the same area, can you do anything about stopping the rain? :-)

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