Monday, July 30, 2012

Two customer service stories that make me cringe a little

I usually let the experts like Shep Hyken, Vala Afshar, Mike Lylte or some of the other amazing folks on the #cxo tweet chat talk about customer service and customer experience, but in the last 24 hours two examples came up that I thought I'd share.

First let's start with a data provider/Telco sales story. We recently signed a two year contract for our new facility in Salem NH. We are in the process of the fiber buildout and things are progressing nicely. Our sales team is great and we are making great headway. 

Whoops but a few weeks in, our account executive changes. I'll admit this feels a little like the old "bait and switch" game and leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I asked for my usual contract clauses, including "If the account team changes, I can leave with no penalties in 90 days". I didn't get that one though.

That's not the story though, but helps to set the stage. So our new AE is scheduled to come in and meet with us today. Yesterday he cancelled saying an internal meeting came up. Really? An internal meeting trumps a customer meeting? Now maybe it's a really important internal meeting but that sort of implies that I'm not a very important customer.

At Enterasys I can honestly say "There is nothing more important than our customer". We live by this. I've been late for meetings with the CEO because I was talking to a customer. In fact "customer meetings" is about the only excuse that is accepted for missing some of our meetings. 

I get that things come up, but if customer service is important, I mean really important, it seems like customers would come first. I guess that's why we have a net promotor score of 81.

My second story is in the same sort of group. Not really bad, but still leaves me feeling less than important. We are switching antivirus vendors. Our current one dropped the ball on some pretty big problems, though in their defense after a few months they did agree to do anything they could to help. Unfortunately it was a day after we told them we were leaving, so I take that somewhat with a grain of salt. 

Anyway we are on a short timeframe and had largely decided to go with ESET. If you want to know why we chose them, hit me up. We have some relationships with another vendor and as a favor agreed to give them a shot, even though we need to decide in 4 days. 

We setup a call with the local account team and as we are talking through our environment it turns out to be a little bigger than they thought. Apparently they have a different team that handles accounts over 1500 nodes, and we were over that. So the account executive says "Oh I'll need to get someone else to cover this, I only handle accounts up to 1499 nodes". 

Uhm OK, so we need to decide in four days and you want to bring in a new team and lose a day? To be fair they have been very supportive and are really working to convince us they are the right choice. They haven't dropped the ball but again it just feels wrong that they are that strict about who gets what account that they wanted to change midstream. I mean what would have happened if we started with 1490 nodes and then hired 10 new people? Would I really have to start a new relationship with a different team because I hired one too many?

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