When things go wrong…keep the customer in the loop

This post is focused on customer service and why more businesses need to embrace it.

Late one evening while browsing this site, I noticed that some pages were slow to load and some did not load at all. I decided to try a different browser but that didn’t solve the issue. I also tried a few of my other sites and noticed that they were displaying similar behaviors. I thought perhaps WordPress was having some issues but I couldn’t access the backend to check. Then I opted to check my web hosts (MediaTemple) status page but did not find anything that applied to me. I decided that I should open a support request since I was now out of options and then proceeded to do some reading and complete a few other tasks.

When I came back to my computer, I fired up Outlook and sure enough there were some emails from MediaTemple:

  • The first acknowledged that they received my request and would be in touch shortly with an update.
  • The second let me know that there was a bigger issue at play and that I could track updates via a weblog post.
  • Consecutive emails provided updates to the weblog post.

By then, my troubles with my web sites were resolved and once again I was happy as can be.

Learning lesson

Let us take a look at the steps that MediaTemple took to ensure that “I” the customer was kept in the loop.

  1. Upon sending a support request –> They emailed me with a notification that they received it and provided insight into the next step that they would be taking.
    Review: Consider the last few times you sent a request to a company for support. Did they notify you that they received your message? If not, perhaps you sent the message multiple times. How did you feel? Perhaps frustrated?
  2. In the second email –> They let me know that there was a bigger issue at play and even provided a URL to track future updates. Bonus points: They took the time to customize the email to “me” by simply using my name.
    Review: While the first message may have seemed automated, the second message was genuine and provided options for myself (tracking the issue via the weblog or writing back to customer support).
  3. In the consecutive emails –> They provided updates on the issue.
    Review: Although my web site issues were resolved — MediaTemple sent out courtesy reminders to let me know (keep me in the loop) about the progress of the repairs.

Applying to your business

Happy customers are ideally your best customers. It’s a win-win situation, you keep them happy and they become loyal customers (additional revenue) and often times even recommend you to friends and family (free marketing + additional revenue).

The truth is that as a business, you have to work harder to keep customers updated when issues arise. There has to be a balance with rectifying the issue and providing updates. While, it is true in every industry that there will be “difficult” customers–most are actually understanding. Surprisingly, a good portion of customers are not use to receiving this extra courtesy and you will find that they will work with you as you create solutions.

If you found this post to be useful, please do consider linking to it from your website or even sharing it.

  • http://twitter.com/mediatemple mediatemple

    Hey Lorenzo! We certainly appreciate you showcasing your positive experience on your blog. We very strongly believe that transparency and consistent support are key to providing top notch customer service. I’m very sorry for the brief service interruption, but am happy that we managed to keep you calm and happy throughout the issue. As you know, we’re available via support request, phones and Twitter 24/7! So you can expect this type of service and response at all times. Once again, thank you for sharing!