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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

The Customer Service Paradox

It seems like everyone touts the importance of keeping customers happy. In fact large companies in the past were often quite adept at taking care of customers, who after all made the decision to do business with a company because they expected problems to be solved. In most cases you got a real person on the phone and an answer to your question or problem.

These days, we have the all too ubiquitous answering robot instead of the receptionist who answered the phone. Many companies seem to actively discourage customers from calling, making them endure long waits, shoddy service, connections to the wrong number, all in the name of saving money. At times you want to scream, “Just get me a real person!” Sometimes you actually do. I wonder how much money they save if each poor customer service situation costs them customers.

Today was a great example. I had occasion to talk with the service departments from several companies and had on the whole a frustrating and rewarding experience. It seems there was a problem accessing certain web sites from the Internet. This is nothing unusual except that it was a certain group of sites from one specific hosting company on only one computer.

Wait a minute, this can’t be possible. What could keep one computer, particularly the owner of the certain sites, from accessing them on one particular computer? The search for the answer took us on a long odyssey from the service departments of the web host and the Internet service company. It shifted back and forth from long waits to wrong connections, even to one company sending us to a completely wrong company for help, then to helpful and sometimes frustrated service people.

First it seemed to be a problem from the web host but their service was on and working fine. We tried the Internet service provider and after about three frustrating hours of waiting, misdirection, and people who didn’t know what they were doing, we reached a very caring technician who spent a long time on the phone with us.

We still don’t know exactly what the problem was but the solution may be a chance occurrence. It seems the web host may have updated their hosting servers and the Internet service company took overnight to update their servers when that happened. The result? One computer with both companies serving it would not be able to access sites until the overnight update, resulting in exactly what we experienced.

We won’t know until morning if this is correct but it would be a fascinating solution.

Meanwhile, we were very happy with the service from one company and very unhappy with the service from the other company. That last company will be remembered for a long time with a bad taste every time they are mentioned. We may mention their name in connection with the bad service. And they will wonder why the bad reputation they seem to have when after all they have good, caring representatives on call.

If, of course, you can endure the obstacle course to get to them.


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