One of my daughters tried to log onto her music store to buy what likely is her 500th song, only to find that her ID wouldn’t work. It’s worked for four years, and there is likely a simple explanation of what is wrong. I shouldn’t get annoyed when I’m called in, though I would expect that this giant genius computer company must have an eloquent way to retrieve an ID.
But my industrious and clever child failed to solve her problem on her own, and asked me to help. I could only do what she’d done already: search the company’s website for online support. That failed. So we called support. The funny thing there was that we found four telephone numbers for SALES: online sales by lines of business, store locater, store sales. When we found support we got a friendly woman whose job is actually just as a human ACD. Cool: she directed my call quickly.
Too easy. The next was Technical Support. I explained my daughter’s Gregor Samsa tale of awakening one day to find she could not buy from the music store.
“What is the model number of your computer?” Huh? Can’t I run this program from a laptop NOT of your manufacture? I just explained to you that I have no problem with software or hardware.
Oh, saith he, then you can only handle this online through email. Go to our support site and send an email.
I promise you, we would have needed Sacajawea and Toussaint Charbonneau and Lewis and Clark to find that particular area of the site support. But our phone assistant managed to lead us there in short order.
What is amazing is that over the years every technical problem with this company’s laptops, routers and MP3 players and billing has been cumbersome. They have had bad batteries, updates that freeze the system, and a lousy store interface. And still my family cries out for more. They aren’t gluttons for punishment, they just can’t find a decent alternative. And they must feel cool.
This is not the first business to favor short term emphasis on the coolness of brand over great service, and it won’t be the last. They’ll get lots better (as good as their amazing stores and laptops and personal devices) at service when they have to.
The trick is timing when you have to be the best at service. May each of us engineer great service experience before the market turns on us.
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