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Re-Inventing the Customer Service Experience

March 12, 2007

About a year ago at 6 AM in the morning I shot an email off to the service rep that had processed my order at one of those low-cost online companies. Worth a try, I figured. Before 6:30 AM my phone rang. “Who calls me at this hour of the morning?” I wondered. It was Len from GoDaddy.com.

I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say. You see, one of the drawbacks of the online world is the distinct lack of customer service, especially when you are almost always paying so much less than you pay in the offline world.

When it comes to difficult transactions, I like to have my hand held. I like to assure myself that my online clicks and forms and submissions are correct. I like to have someone walk me through the tough spots – or even do it for me.

Len had helped me register a bunch of web sites. They’re so cheap these days that you may as well buy several of them, while you’re at it. He had understood my hesitancy to process what for me was a big order (maybe six or seven URL’s – big deal, huh?).

Skip forward almost one year. On January 6th (which is a Saturday, by the way) it was time to renew those web sites. Again, I was hesitant, and thought, “I need some hand-holding.” I remembered that I had Len’s contact information, so I said to Sheryl, “He’s probably not there anymore, (studies show that employees stay with their companies about 37 hours on average) but I’m going to send him a note this morning and if he works this coming week, maybe he can help me renew the sites.”

The phone rang 15 minutes later. Here is what Len said, “Mr. Benidt, I would have called you sooner, but I was on break.”

Look, you can register web sites at any number of places online. We originally chose GoDaddy because it was reasonably priced and relatively full-featured. But, we will stay with them forever because of Len’s service.

I have been an Expedia.com customer for years now not because they are so much better than Travelocity.com or Orbitz.com, but because they have a toll-free number where I can talk to a real person who “holds my hand.” In fact, they gave me a VIP toll-free number early on in my dealings with them – and I’ve been using it ever since.

Here’s one more for you. Zoho (www.zoho.com/crm) offers a full-featured CRM manager for free. That’s a “Customer Relation Manager,” not unlike SalesForce.com, for free. Who dreams up these money-making ideas?!

And imagine this. We know a speaker who is converting his CRM database to Zoho.com. He is paying Zoho NOTHING for this remarkable program – and even so, their customer service department is helping him convert his SalesForce.com contacts and his Outlook contacts into their program. Is this a great Internet, or what?

Look-out below, offline companies. We thought that companies like GoDaddy, Zoho and Expedia were changing the face of business by offering low prices, convenience and inventive products and services. Think again. Companies like these are completely re-inventing the customer service experience, too.

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