Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

My Enhanced CX (Customer Experience)

Yesterday, I was having a problem renewing a couple of my website domains via my GoDaddy account. So, I called the customer service hotline.

The guy who was assigned my call was efficient, learned about my issue then promptly fixed my problem and explained why I had encountered the difficulty. That was standard operating procedure.

What surprised and delighted me was what happened next.

Based on my information, GoDaddy’s rep knew that I lived in Saratoga Springs, New York. So, he asked me what I thought about jockey Ramon Dominguez’s accomplishment of winning 6 races at Saratoga Race Course over the weekend.

His question started a conversation about the work I’m doing for the New York Racing Association this summer at Saratoga Race Course and about his family’s love of horse racing. He told me that he often takes his kids to Santa Anita in California but that his relatives have been to Saratoga and have recommended that he visit, too. He then told me that he and his family were planning to vacation in Saratoga Springs next summer. I told him that I thought they would really enjoy their visit, wished him well, thanked him for his help, and we ended out conversation.

For me, it was a terrific customer experience. Yes, we resolved my business problem but there was also an emotional connection and exchange of humanity. My opinion about and trust of GoDaddy was definitely improved by the experience.

In GoDaddy’s follow-up questionnaire, I suggested that they give that man a raise. I hope that they take my recommendation seriously.

Another Customer Service Horror Story

Just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, my brother’s Hotmail account started sending out one of those “I’m stranded in Spain, my wallet’s been stolen and I need you to send me $$$ so I can get home”– email scams to contacts in his address book. I learned about it from friends who contacted me to ask if my brother was aware that his email had been hacked. Oddly, I never received the email directly from him because, as we learned later, somehow my address had been deleted from his contact list.

The situation became more complicated because we were both visiting my mother in New England and her home is equipped with only dial-up internet service and also because my brother, who also only has dial-up service at his home, had signed up for his Hotmail account on a computer at his local library several years ago.

Consequently, when my brother attempted to change his Hotmail password, the system didn’t recognize my mother’s computer and asked my brother for the answer to his secret question. However, the automated Hotmail system didn’t remind him about what the question was and it had been so many years since he’d joined Hotmail that he didn’t recall the question. So, throughout the day on Thanksgiving and continuing through Sunday night, he kept trying to contact Hotmail customer service but the automated system kept giving him the runaround and bouncing him back to his original screens.

When I returned home, I Googled Microsoft customer service and found an 866 number. However, when I called that number there was no option to connect with a Hotmail CSR nor one to connect with a live body. Considering all the criticism that Microsoft has been getting in the techie world during the past several years, I was amazed as well as frustrated.

Fortunately, when my brother returned home on Monday night, he received an email from Hotmail which helped him to change his password. As far as we’re aware, no harm was done however we still find it astonishing that it was such as hassle and took five days to rectify a pretty simple problem. Given 21st century CSR technology, we would have been happy to talk with a live body in the Philippines or Mumbai rather than to just go round and round with an automated customer response system.

What’s your customer service horror story?

Customer Service Adventure-Lessons Learned

home_depot_logoIn September, I wrote about about a customer service problem I experienced with my local Home Depot. Since Brindle Media’s services include marketing, branding and customer service, I thought it would be useful and fair to the Home Depot organization to to share my experience and post this follow-up.

A brief overview: Due to negligence on the part of the plumbing subcontractor that installed a water heater which I’d purchased at Home Depot in late July, our laundry room was flooded. The plumber paid for an emergency crew to dry out the laundry room and installed some dry wall which had to be removed but refused to take responsibility for restoring the room to its original state. The plumbing company then proceeded to turn the victim into a victimizer and accused me of trying to rip them off. That whole process took us to mid-September. When I complained to the local Home Depot who had hired the subcontractor for installation, their position was that I needed to negotiate directly with the subcontractor. This is where social media and customer service entered the picture.

After blogging about the problem on September 14th, I Twittered about the blog and hash-tagged Home Depot. Within minutes of that tweet, I was contacted by Michael at Home Depot’s customer care center in Atlanta who then connected me with Stephanie in the company’s Customer Care Social Media department. Within 48 hours, I was connected with Sedgwick Claims Management and on October 22nd received a check to cover the cost restoring our laundry and family rooms to a semblance of their pre-accident state.

As a customer, I was very satisfied with my treatment by Michael and Stephanie on behalf of Home Depot and by Tammy at Sedwick CMS. The good news is that the situation was resolved. The bad news is that the resolution took three months. It was interesting and disturbing that no one on the regional or local level at Home Depot ever bothered to follow up.

So the lesson here is that when you encounter a customer service problem with a national retail chain, social media tools like Twitter and Facebook can provide you the leverage that you need to get the attention of the customer service department and help resolve a problem using a top-down rather than a bottom-up approach.

Hopefully, you won’t ever find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to employ this advice !

Customer Service Adventure-Update

To be fair, Michael from Home Depot’s customer care department contacted me within minutes of my blog posting explaining my recent adventure. Another customer care rep, Stephanie from the corporate office, has been working to try and resolve the situation but her efforts to connect me with the regional Home Depot people here in the Saratoga area have not yet been successful. I appreciate her efforts but I wanted to share some of the comments I received to my initial posting:

Peter wrote: “When I renovated my home in Rockville years ago, I bought the appliances and most stuff from Lowe’s. However, since Lowe’s was farther away, I opted to hire a contractor recommended by Home Depot (after buying some more things from them). Home Depot is the worst. The Lowe’s contractor finally straightened out what the Home Depot contractor did wrong/failed to do. One of the best examples? I asked the Home Depot supplied electrician to connect a dimmer switch to the chandelier in my dining room. They did, and it didn’t dim the chandelier, but rather caused the lights to go off and on in a bizarre pattern, with some bulbs popping like in a bad movie, smoke to issue from the chandelier, and the circuit breaker to blow. Guess they didn’t teach the Home Depot ‘partner’ what ‘ground’ and ‘hot’ mean in electrician school… apparently, I was lucky not to have lost the whole house to an inferno...”

Lynn wrote: “I have been on a mission for quite some time to let everyone know NOT to hire people whom Home Depot employs(or suggests)as subcontractors. I have yet to see one job completed by any of these subs that has come up to the standards of most LICENSED, INSURED contractors.The best thing you can do in the future is NOT hire anyone from a home store like that until you have properly checked out their credentials and/or referrals, as you would do with anyone working in a trade. It sounds to me like your plumbers might not be properly insured, as they should have had NO problem in correcting THEIR mistake. As for Home Cheapo…keep on them too, especially to report the plumbers as ‘Sub’ standard in their quality of work .”

Jeff wrote: “Been there done that with Home Depot. We use Lowe’s now (in our experience, much better customer service). Like you, we bought an expensive product from Home Depot and they farmed out the installation. When things did not go right (which, of course, they didn’t), Home Depot would not take any responsibility. And neither would the contractor. It was not a fun situation. We have not had a similar scenario with Lowe’s”

The adventure continues….

Addendum added on 9/17/09:

Home Depot has connected me with their insurance company and I’ve been asked to provide estimates for the project so that we can resolve this matter. I can’t say they I envy the customer service reps
their jobs but at least dealing with them has been a positive experience.