A Geek's Guide to the Customer Service Experience

Are companies starting to depend on providing a pleasant customer experience in order to cover their flaws in providing basic service?

Apple logo, Steve Jobs

One more anecdote about customer experience: I want to recognize Comcast for a great customer experience. Within a few days of the iPad Mini exchange, I noticed an error on my monthly Comcast bill. With dread, I called Comcast customer support. I will not go into any details, but will say customer service lived up to my expectations of providing horrible service (without resolving the error). While trying to decide my next move, I found a page from Tom Karinshak, SVP of Customer Experience, on Comcast’s Website. It provided an opportunity to provide feedback directly to Karinshak. I filled out the online form and assumed it would end up in the bit bucket. In less than two hours, I received a phone call from an ECARE specialist, Kimberly. Since I was out, I missed the call. Kimberly also e-mailed me and asked for the best time and phone number to contact me on. I had done some investigation of the billing error and discovered the cause. I responded to her e-mail with the details of the problem and a suggested solution. The next day, I received a call at the time I requested, with the issue resolved in the way I suggested. What made this interaction even more amazing was it took place during a weekend.

Although this is a temporary fix to Comcast's above-mentioned customer service woes, I give credit to Karinshak for recognizing the issues with Comcast customer care and taking steps to provide immediate relief. I know there is potential for Comcast to always provide a great customer experience. Why? Two months before I had contacted Comcast’s Cable Card Activation Group, and they are the most professional, efficient and pleasant support group that I have spoken with in years.

A few observations to remember when developing or upgrading your customer service experience:

·         Resolving the service issue is more important than the customer experience

·         All things being equal, customers prefer a pleasant experience

·         You can always turn a horrible customer experience into a great one

In the end, it is the personal service that determines whether a customer service experience is a pleasant one or not.

About the Author

John Palinkas is a partner at The IT Transformation Institute. ITTI is a catalyst for transforming the IT industry. ITTI helps change the DNA of IT teams, solving today’s problems and breaking the cycles that led to them, and to create next-generation IT organizations. John has spent more than three decades in the IT services industry, working with industry leaders like AT&T, AT&T Solutions and British Telecom. He has led numerous multimillion dollar, multiyear outsourcing and service-delivery engagements for dozens of Fortune 500 firms. He has extensive experience and expertise in IT transformation efforts, outsourcing analysis, M&A integrations and service implementations. John serves on the executive committee for NJ SIM Chapter, the leadership team of NJ itSMF LIG, and is a regular contributor to CIO InsightHe can be reached via email at John.Palinkas@TransformingIT.org, and you can follow him on Twitter via @jpalinkas.

To read his previous CIO Insight article (“A Career Moment or Career Suicide?”), click here

This article was originally published on 01-22-2014
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.

Click for a full list of Newsletterssubmit