April 26, 2018

  • Thought

    I just had a fantastic customer service experience with American Express.

    I had a fraudulent charge on a card. They spotted it and warned us. I then decided to cancel the card since I pretty much never use it anyway, and I was able to cancel the credit card by talking to their toll-free voice assistant. I still can’t quite believe I cancelled a credit card in about 5 minutes without talking to a human about it.

November 14, 2005

  • New Way To Recover From Customer Service Problems

    Jason Fried from 37signals points out a really fantastic approach to dealing with service problems.

    Last month blogging ASP TypePad had some service issues where the growth of the service made access to some blogs very slow. There was widespread criticism of the service at the time and it seems that Six Apart has not only resolved to make things right they’ve given us a great new approach to providing customers with recourse.

    image lost to link rot

    As you can see in the image above, they are positioning the credits you can request almost like a survey, forcing you to consciously think about the impact their scaling issues had on your specific blog.

    My guess is that many people will look at this goodwill gesture and take a small discount or none at all because they’ve done this in good faith. The alternative for them would have been to give everyone a credit that would have kept most users happy, but that would likely have been the highest of the bunch offered here anyway, so they can only gain from this.

    Has anybody seen this voluntary credit request pattern seen before? I really like it.

    Originally published at www.onedegree.ca on November 14, 2005.

September 8, 2004

  • Hard Disk Drive Emergencies And Customer Evangelism

    I had the unfortunate luck to have my hard drive fail a few weeks ago. My back-up was about 8 days old but clients and Basecamp filled in most of the gaps.

    I thought I was in good shape until I realized that the back-up of “My Pictures” had only five digital photos in it instead of the over 2,000 we’ve managed to take in the last two years. It seems that the last back-up had been too large for the drive and it gave up without copying the pictures.

    Needless to say this is a disaster. Two years of my kids’ lives, once well documented, were now (literally) a memory. Recalling how I had inadvertently destroyed most of my own childhood pictures in Grade Three, I knew that these pictures were far more valuable than anything else on the disk. I knew that data recovery could be costly, but I also knew that in 20 years when the kids were grown we’d pay any price to have those memories back.

    I therefore began the quest for a reputable data recovery service in Toronto and after some Googling found my new favourite company — ActionFront.

    From the very first visit to their website to picking-up 2 DVD-ROMs with all our photos archived for safe-keeping, this has been an absolutely great experience.

    ActionFront realizes that:

    1. Their customers are almost guaranteed to be panicked and stressed when they first contact them.

    2. The only people willing to use their service are those who know they have something valuable that is close to being lost.

    3. At the same time, customers are feeling vulnerable. It would be really easy for someone to take advantage of you when you find yourself saying “I’d pay anything to have my data back”.

    4. For most customers this will be the first time they’ve gone through this nasty experience and they’ll need hand-holding.

    ActionFront worked incredibly well to address all these issues. Here are a few of the things I noticed that made me a customer evangelist for ActionFront.

    1. ActionFront’s home page puts “Call 1–800–563–1167 for immediate assistance” front and centre. If you have a disaster you want to speak to a real person, not wade through a huge site.

    2. The site does have lots of details if you want to understand your situation better. They offer lots of background on why they are the best, testimonials, etc. And they also offer specific information on types of drives, common points of failure and the complexity of the process.

    3. They have an amazing pricing model. If they can’t get you the data you want, you don’t pay anything. They charge a higher price because of this but it makes the decision an easy one. They give you the quote and if the data is worth that much to you, you say “go for it”. If it isn’t, you get the disk back.

    4. They responded immediately via e-mail and phone. Follow-up was incredibly professional and with a reassuring “doctorly” tone. Here’s part of an e-mail: “Here is the evaluation results and quote for this recovery case. Please take as long as you need to decide how you’d like to proceed. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Keep in mind that this quote is based on a successful recovery of your critical data. If the recovery is not complete, the partial recovery results must be to your satisfaction or there is no charge.” and then a few e-mail messages later: “Here’s the list of recovered files. It is important to realize that this good list is what will be returned if this recovery is approved so please look through the list carefully to ensure that all of your critical files are present. If you feel this is a successful recovery, respond to this email and we’ll get started preparing this data for return.”

    5. Their offices were clean, their staff professional. The clean-room was visible as you entered. In all, it seemed like this was the right place for my dead drive to be revived.

    6. When I picked up the drive and recovered data it was packed in a custom shipping box with lots of foam and anti-static sleeves. And to seal my affection, it came with a booklet on how to prevent future disasters — essentially saying “we don’t ever want to see you again”.

    Well done!

July 30, 2004

  • Budgeting for Advertising and Customer Experience

    Great column (as always) by Mark Hurst. This one, entitled Budgeting for Advertising and Customer Experience, deals with an all too common problem — companies that budget well for advertising to get people to their site but spend almost nothing to ensure that people can actually use the site once they get there.

    I see this every day as I meet with companies to discuss their websites. Many of them have such underfunded and poorly thought out sites that they don’t even know what the potential is. I met with a major insurance company who was happy that five customers had signed up using their complex online quote and purchase process. Five! And that was a good day. My guess is the process that many customers a minute through call centers and sales agents. No wonder the CEO doesn’t want to spend more on web initiatives.

    Of course, with a proper strategy, a well-designed site, and an integrated approach to marketing in and between multiple channels, I’m sure that the Web could be on an equal footing with the call center. But how to convince the CEO that a properly implemented web strategy and user experience would mean one hundred times the sales through the web channel? If you suggest that poor site design makes 500 potential sales per day into 5, who will ever believe you?

    Still, I am encouraged, as Mark is, that some folks are starting to get the madness of this approach. Read the article and you too will be left shaking your head at the illogic of “business as usual”.

    (And congrats to Good Experience for finally adopting a blog format and getting an RSS feed! Not sure when that happened but I just clued into it.)

May 7, 2004

November 24, 2003

  • Thought

    Companies must understand that there is now officially nowhere to hide.

    If big business thought old school consumer activitists like Ralph Nader were a thorn in their side, wait till they see what wired consumers like the Neistat brothers will do to their brands. The brothers’ iPod’s Dirty Secret site does an absolutely brilliant job of airing their grievance about a defective iPod battery.

    It will be interesting to see how Apple responds and how long it takes for them to wake up to the impending PR disaster as this rapidly spreads across the net.

September 25, 2003

  • Thought

    Best Customers Advocate:

    “My name is Bruce Kasanoff, and I recently introduced a new service where I spend 30–60 minutes (their choice) talking to one of your best customers. As an objective and independent expert on business relationships, my role is to learn how they really feel about your services.”