Customer Service – You’re Doing it Wrong

"no" imageI spend a lot of time at my daily J.O.B. following up on orders with software/hardware companies. Most of the time, my experiences are good enough, even pleasurable, although I’m not really big on having to make phone calls in the first place. But today when following up on an order, I ran across something I thought was a bit unusual.

Two months ago I placed an order for a piece of software. It was relatively inexpensive, but highly recommended to me by some colleagues in my industry. I decided to give it a try, and sent off the purchase order per their website instructions. Two months later, I still don’t have the software, or anything from them saying that there is a delay or any other issue. So I trot off to their website and look for a customer service number I can call. To my surprise, there wasn’t one. Instead, on the page with their mailing address, was a clickable statement, “Why our phone number is not listed here.” Of course I clicked it, to be taken to a page that, in five paragraphs or so, said to this effect: We would love to talk to you but we are too busy and it costs to much to talk to people on the phone. So, email us, and we’ll get right back to you. And this quote pretty much sums it all up for me: “We think you’ll agree once you’ve tried us, we’ve decided to offer the best email support on the planet. Every email is answered within 24 hours.”

This does not bode well for me trying to figure out where our order is. It also does not bode well for me recommending this company, or their software, to others. Ironically, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for the product, a text-to-speech software that can be used by disabled (or non-disabled) people to read email, web pages, text files, etc. I can give it no such reviews, as I’ve not yet been able to try the product, and don’t know when I will be able to. I don’t care how small you are, if you are offering something for sale, then you’d better be able to back it up with at least minimal customer support, and not some long, drawn-out excuse for why you won’t provide that service. As a busy tech-geek, I don’t have time for excuses when I’m trying to get the job done. It’s unfortunate that this company can’t see that their behavior now can hinder their future success. They’ve already lost me as a future customer, and I won’t be able to say anything good about them to anyone who asks, either.

It isn’t always about the product; sometimes it’s about how we get the interaction we need as we’re going along.