Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Another Unexpected Pleasure

I've written a few posts now about customer service, both good and bad. I've decided that it is just too easy to come up with the bad. Look on any site which talks about one company or another and inevitably someone will post a hair-raising tail about the horrors they experienced at the uncaring or incompetent hands of that company.

Yep, that's way too easy.

So, instead, I think I will only write about the very best customer service -- the kind that surprises me and gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling. I challenge you, dear readers (both of you), to come up with better stories. Let's reward the good we find with the same enthusiasm that we lambast the bad.

I had a surprisingly good experience just the other day. I have been in the process of moving to a new web hosting service for my company's website,, for about the last month. It always takes a while to go through this process, what with moving all the content and testing it on the new service. The final step, prior to canceling the old website, is to tell your Domain Name Registrar that the site has moved. Most of these services actually have online facilities to make these changes. Mine, Network Solutions, Inc., was no exception.

The trick with online procedures is, though, that you need to have a username and password in order to make those changes. I had originally created this website about ten years ago, so my account name and password had long since fled the drafty corridors of my brain. They did have a procedure where the username and password could be sent to you via the email address under which you registered. Of course, that was ten years old, too, and had long since been terminated. To deal with this, they had a form I could fill out which, when faxed to them, would allow them to change the email address, which would allow me to follow the other procedures to eventually get in contact with my account.

So far, so good, they seemed to have thought of everything. I filled out that form and faxed it to them. Then I waited.

And waited.

I suddenly realized that I had no clue how long this would take. So, I resolved to call them.

I got in relatively quickly (about a 3 minute wait) -- finally, a company which actually staffs its help line with enough people! When Maria came on the line, I quickly described the situation and asked simply how long it would take to make the change. She was able to tell me immediately that it would take one business day. Wow! A help line person with the information immediately at hand!

"But, Mr. Peters, if you would like, I can ask your security question and if you can answer it, I can take care of everything right now."

Great! Give it to me!

She asked the question and I got the answer wrong. As I recall, when I originally set up the question, it had been meant to remind me of the password (which it didn't). Sometimes I am too clever by half. Oh, well, I guess I'll have to wait for the faxed sheet to be processed. No big deal.

"Actually, Mr. Peters. If I may call you back at the number registered for the account, we can still process the changes."

What? A company that has actually thought out all of the issues that their customers might face? I'm shocked!

Well, needless to say, the process worked like a charm. I was able to make all the necessary changes without letting a single day go by. Kudos to Network Solutions, Inc!

So, tell me your story of good customer service. Does it beat mine?

1 comment:

Debby said...

This is not really tratitional customer service, but customer service is about one human being taking the time to listen to another. The is an example of that. I was meeting with my Protégé the other day. At the end of the conversation, she mentioned that she was dividing some of the perennials in her garden and was offering the extras. I asked if she had any Monarda (bee balm) and unfortunately she didn't. She did have one other type of flower that I could use and so we settled on how the exchange would take place. The next morning she had the box full of the perennial geraniums AND she had gone out and purchased one red flowering bee balm plant for me. (Bee Balm spreads rapidly.) I was taken back by her thoughtfulness and generousity. As I said, not really customer service as we think of it, but a demonstration of how it can be!