To borrow a phrase from Lisa Barone; I’d rather stick a pen in my eye than read another story about some company doing a good job of customer service on Twitter. Ever since Comcast went viral with “Frank’s” ability to solve problems the people on the phones couldn’t, it seems every company under the sun has been getting their support teams on Twitter and attempting to solve problems that way. A Google search for “customer service twitter” returns only about 150 million results.
I’d say that horse is dead, can we stop beating it now? Customer support reps are SUPPOSED to provide great service…it’s like, their job, right?
Who should we be talking about? The people who earn their living doing something else, but still step up and try to help when they sense frustration directed at or about the company they work for. I recently had such an experience (Guess you figured that was coming)
Last week I was trying to get an answer to what I thought should be a fairly simple licensing question. You see, my company uses ColdFusion on its public facing web servers, I wanted to know if we could legally use the license on more than one machine at the same time.
Side note: I have been a fan of ColdFusion since its early days when it was created by two brothers in their Minnesota garage. I can’t fault the brothers for selling off the company, but as ColdFusion has moved from Allaire, to Macromedia and now to Adobe, the support has gotten just horrible.
Traffic has grown on the company sites to the point that we want to implement fail-over servers. ColdFusion is not cheap (that’s one of its few downfalls). I wanted to find out if we could share the license on both the public-facing and fail-over servers if only one of them had public traffic at a time. Simple question, right? Wrong.
Over the course of two days I was bounced from sales, to pre-sales, to tech support to customer support, to volume licenses and back again. I think I may have even talked to a janitor at one point. Most people didn’t understand what I was asking (at least it seemed that way to me), others understood, but said it was not their area.
I was thrilled when, at last, one of the customer support reps told me she had found a document that provided the answers I needed. I was dumb-founded when she told me the document was for “internal use only” and she could not forward it to me or give me an official answer based on it. Imagine my joy when she transferred me to technical support.
Throughout all of this I sent FOUR, tweets out to the world mentioning Adobe and my growing frustration.
Enter our Hero, Jeffrey Tranberry. Jeff does not (officially) do customer support. Jeff is not involved with the ColdFusion product line. Jeff is on the Photoshop development team. However, unlike the people that passed me from one department to another, Jeff is one of those rare employees that enjoys his job and his company. He wants to help whenever, however he can. He reached out to me with a simple message “Let me know if you don’t get your issue resolved.”
After a very brief exchange, I emailed him my question and he forwarded it on to someone he thought could help. Within a few hours I had an answer – in print – from an actual support person. Hooray!
Let’s quit congratulating companies for adding Twitter to the list of tools they use for customer support. In my opinion, if an issue gets to Twitter, it’s because some other method has already failed. Let’s stop congratulating people who are supposed to be doing customer support anyway and just happen to be on twitter.
Let’s start celebrating those rare employees who reach out when they aren’t required to, who step out of their comfort zones to help a customer when they have no real obligation to do so. Let’s all tell Jeff and the others like him, we appreciate them and what they do.
Have you been helped by a non-support person on Twitter?