Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’

Why a Firm Needs a Social Media Team

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

I got home from vacation this week to discover my Dish Network account had been suspended. Evidently there was a billing issue with the auto-payment system and they had not been paid, unbeknownst to us. My wife spent an hour or so spinning her wheels on the phone only to ultimately be disconnected. At this point she was ready to abandon Dish Network, pay the early term fees, and go to Hulu and the networks for access to her favorite shows. Having followed DishNetwork on Twitter for a while, I knew I’d get better service from their Twitter team. It turns out I was right. Here is the story in my wife’s words, posted on her blog.

I have never been a big believer in Twitter. Sure, I follow a few celebs (hello…Conan is HIL-ARIOUS..) but tweet myself?? Yeah right.

That is until tonight. After spending a frustrating 55 minutes on the phone with Dish Network because of billing issues, and then being disconnected while waiting for a supervisor….I was ticked. Ready to cancel, ready to make heads roll in order to make my point. But my tech savvy (geeky….) hubs send a tweet to Dish Network. They immediately responded, and within the hour someone from the Dish Network Twitter Team called us, and not only took care of our issues, but were so willing to provide great customer service that it blew me away.

So, kudos to the Dish Network Twitter Team. I have a feeling you’ve saved many accounts from going elsewhere….mine included.

Dish Network scored on several points. First, they had a social media team. Second, that team was empowered to do things the telephone support crew swears they can’t do. Finally, the service was prompt, reasonable, and satisfied all parties. It really makes a difference when a customer service team is courteous, knowledgeable, and actually does provide support. While Dish Network certainly could do with a major overhaul of the telephone customer support, the Twitter team is outstanding. They will be my first option if a future need arises.

Fun with AT&T Tech Support

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Somehow I managed to pocket-dial an order for the AT&T Navigator app for my Xperia. I became aware of this through two text messages sent to me from AT&T. I called in last night to cancel it during the free trial phase. I took the opportunity to mention how useless it was for AT&T to put a paid app on the phone when Google offers a superior product for free right alongside it. She seemed to agree.

While I was on the phone it I figured I would ask about the Eclair upgrade, fully expecting another “stay tuned for news” line that I’ve been getting through Facebook and Twitter. To my surprise she said, “Let me look that up for you.” After a brief moment on hold, she came back with “The X10 is already out, so if you are eligible for an upgrade you can get it. Would you like me to look up your eligibility?” I explained that I currently own the phone and was looking for the Android OS upgrade, not a phone upgrade. She sounded mildly embarrassed and took another shot. Back on hold I went. She came back and apologized, as there was no information available.

While I was at it I went ahead and asked about Froyo for the HTC Aria. She looked that up, and found the update from September, but no news on Froyo. I made a comment on how it would be nice for AT&T to join the modern era and she laughed. It was nice to get someone who realizes how backward AT&T is. Throughout the conversation she took all the comments on AT&T’s backwater ways in stride, and kept in good humor for the duration of the call. This stood out to me because of all the lousy customer service they’ve offered me over the last several years.

So, the bottom line is, we very well may not see Eclair for another year through AT&T. The status quo is a long delay for anything, including getting Android at all, so most of AT&T’s customers have learned not to hold their breath for any good news. In the mean time, calls like last night’s serve to ease the pain a bit. Friendly customer service reps make a huge difference, and AT&T finally found a good person to fill the need.

AT&T logo

Apple’s Unusual PR

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Yesterday we discussed some of the problems people are having with the new iPhone 4. There are a few major issues that have been making headlines, and naturally some customers are looking for answers. In the past, emailing Steve Jobs directly has been useful in solving a conflict with Apple. Jobs sometimes chooses to act on the behalf of the customer. Other times, and I suspect it is most of the time, Jobs blows people off. He knows he can afford to, because no matter how bad he treats a customer, people will be beating down doors to buy his product. It’s good to be the king, at least in this case.

A customer reportedly emailed Jobs about the antenna issue. There are a couple of versions of the response going around. One has Jobs saying, “Just avoid holding it in that way” (Engadget). Another has Jobs saying prefixing the above statement with “Non issue.” Here is a follow-up from Apple, reportedly toting Jobs’ company line.

“Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”
Apple (via Engadget)

Basically, if your phone doesn’t work, you’re holding it wrong. Oh and did we mention you could buy our $30 case to fix the issue? But then again, every phone has this issue so get over it. Pretty poor customer service, but if you can treat customers like dirt without any dent in your bottom line, why not? Sarcasm and cynicism aside, this is not the way to run a business, no matter how big it is. There are some real people laying down quite a bit of money for a brand famous for its “just work” modus operandi. Apple has some explaining to do.

On another note, it looks like there were 50 or so replacements for the cracked cases. It looked like Apple’s service was improving, but that too has been nipped. People’s nearly indestructible iPhones apparently are quite easy to destroy.

The quality controls on the new iPhone, and even the iOS 4 are not quite up to par for Apple. Apple has thrived on the reliability people have come to expect from it. These issues are out of character for Apple, a chink in the proverbial armor. One would think that Apple would bend over backward to maintain its image. It isn’t, and evidently it doesn’t need to. People are still buying the phone in droves.

I would hope that Apple tries to do right by its customers. So far it hasn’t. One can always hope though.