Good Customer Service Is Important
By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
Good customer service is something important to me. In my own work in publishing, I try hard to deliver some basics of good customer service in my responses through email or on the phone or in the mail. It is important to be timely and thorough in this process.
There are countless examples of companies that don't practice good customer service and I wanted to point out a recent example. For the last several years I get my internet connection, landline and television bundled through CenturyLink. Overall I've been pleased with their service and responsiveness. My wife and I enjoy using our DVR to record television programs then watch them together. We watch a variety of different types of programs.
Last Sunday I went to one of the standard stations— CBS and found a message from DirectTV (the television arm of CenturyLink). Apparently DirectTV and CBS are in “negotiations” for service and that service is now disrupted—i.e. you can't get it. No one knows how long these “negotiations” are going to be going on. I called the billing area of CenturyLink and learned this disruption was a complete surprise to them as well. DirectTV did nothing proactive to warn their customers. They simply put up a screen on the disruption.
In this article from the Wall Street Journal, I discovered I was one of 6.6 million people having this experience with DirectTV. Someone at DirectTV knew this was going to happen and they did nothing proactive to help their customers. Apparently there is some local cable where you can still get the channels when you attachment. I've been trying for the last few days to get one of these local connectors from DirectTV but they are “back ordered” (little surprise here). The package finally came but it is not a simple fix with pages of instructions and various wires and connections (not hooked up at my place yet).
I'm certain with the millions of customers involved and missing a standard network channel, someone at CBS and DirectTV are doing some consistent work to resolve this customer service nightmare. My key point in this article is some of these people knew this was going to happen and they did nothing to warn their customers or partners like CenturyLink (at least that is obvious).
Here are some basics for good customer service:
1. Answer your phone and return your phone calls.
2. Answer and respond to email.
3. In your answers, attempt to resolve the issues if possible. I can think of several emails from Morgan James authors this past week where I wasn't the right person to answer the author's question. I still responded and pointed them to other people on the team who could provide the answers. At least they heard a response from me—even if not the response they wanted.
How important is good customer service to you? How do you handle it in your own writing life? Let me know in the comments below.
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