I recently cancelled my cable TV service that was provided by a nationally recognized carrier. I did it gleefully. I did it with joy. It was really fun. It made my whole day. Yay, I was free!
While my "TV" watching needs are now being met by Netflix and a digital signal converter box, the reason I was SO happy to cancel my cable service was because their service SUCKED - in all ways, shapes and forms. I dreaded whenever I had to deal with them directly. Everyone dreads when they have to deal with them directly. This cable company is the worst part of moving. Seriously. I would rather unpack 10 boxes than talk to them, wait on hold and wait for them to appear in an oh, so convenient 8-hour "window."
I wish I could say that this was the only company with tragic customer service. When I was in the catalog business, customer service was one of our highest priorities. The customer service agent was the face of our company. We invested in training, coaching, monitoring and rewarding our agents. All employees, regardless of function, were encouraged to listen in on phone calls. Our goal was to make everything as easy as possible for the customer.
While the digital world has made buying some products easier, it often does not provide a superior customer service experience. Live chat is OK, but not perfect. Sending an email and waiting for a response is frustrating. And I DARE you to find a phone number.
If you want to opt out of an email, you need to go on an archaeological dig to the bottom of the email and squint really hard to read the 4 point type and clink on the link that is highlighted in a light gray on a white background. No problem.
In the middle of this "hands free" customer service environment, great customer service stops me in my tracks. I was recently at a laundromat trying to figure out the machines, tokens, and best washer to tackle a big pile of clothes. The manager running the facility saw my confusion, came over and walked me through everything, got my tokens, pointed me to the right size of dryers and just generally made my day. I wanted to hug her. Someone actually helped me! Someone actually made my experience easier!
As we create our marketing messaging and customer experiences, let's not forget that it will NEVER cost us to make it easy and simple for the customer to engage with us. We need to leave the cable company customer service mentality behind us and make someone's day easier. Really. Try it!
And yes, I was still really happy when I turned over all 4 of my converter boxes and pulled the plug on "you know who."