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The human side of a real customer service

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Customer service satisfaction

In a previous posting, starting from a personal experience, I was talking about the customer service provided by large companies in the business -to-consumer segment, which often has only the name of customer service but where the customer has to do everything himself. If I am coming back to this subject, it is because I had to face again such situation with computer problems, and that I found a solution which is not really in the trend of the usual customer services policy the companies wants to impose to us.

Two weeks ago, I was facing a computer crash with my laptop. Black screen, no answer to any input. I took contact with the manufacturer, and then, a nice telephone travel began! I spent around 45 minutes on the phone, and during this time, I was transferred to 10 different people before to have the right person. I was told that my machine was not under guarantee anymore, and so, that I will have to pay the repair of the machine. This was not a secret for me, as I subscribed by the time a contract for 3 years full services, and, as the computer was 4 years old, this contract was overdue. As far as I understand, the function of a technical service is to provide service and technical solutions to the customer, even if we have to pay for it. Does such stupid question means that, because my computer does not work anymore, that I have to stop working? Then, I was asked by a technical to proceed to a range of test instructions in order to diagnose the problem of my computer. As I was suspecting a major issue to my computer, and as I was loosing my time to do things which are not in my competences and to the detriment of my customer, I decided to contact a member of my professional network, an IT consultant providing services for small and medium companies. I sent a mail to him by explaining my problem. Around 10 minutes later, he contacted me by phone to have more explanations about my problem, and to get more information about my needs. In function of my needs, he sent me 15 minutes later a range of price offers for available machines, fitting with my needs and expectations. I selected a model and sent a mail back with my order. One week later, the guy delivered the machine and organized the retrieval of my data from the old machine to the new one. By chance, my hard disk was intact, but the main board was out.

By experiencing such situation, I listed few advantages of a “human” service, which made me think that small is still beautiful. The first advantage is that by having a privileged contact, you can have an immediate quality service, as the contact knows about your problem, and will handle it from A to Z. The fact that you will be satisfied or not by the quality of service is a concern for him. Another advantage is that you can have a personalized advice in accordance with your needs, which could represent a appreciable money saving. The manufacturer where I bought my previous machine proposes a website where you can select the different components of your machine, but if you are not an expert or if you have not the benefit of a tailor made advice, you will probably spend more money than what is needed to fit your needs and expectations. By benefiting of an onsite technical service, it avoid me to lose my time and in my case, to lose money too. By having such service, I can continue to work for my customers, and not spend my time to solve problems out of my competences and my core business. If I have to interrupt my services to my customers, I am paying money twice: the money I will not invoice to the customer, and the money I will have to pay for the service I requested. We have to see not only the cost of a service, but also the loss of revenue for a non-service.

It is obvious for me that the human side of a service remains an asset. It brings also on the lights that there is a difference between management of claims and real added-value customer services. The services provided by local contractors is more added-valued for small businesses, and is also an asset in term of local economical activity and local employment. It is obvious for me that service based on human relationship still has a future. But as consumer, we have to remind that we are first human being, with respect rights, and not consumers only considered for their money. Each of us, we can contribute to sustain such human service, it is just a question of will.

PS: If you are owner of a small company located in Belgium and if you need IT services, please send me a mail and I will forward the references of an excellent IT consultancy company.


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

June 6, 2010 at 14:28

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