Two Polarizing Customer Support Examples

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I’ve had to contact customer support on two different occasions in the past week. They were polar opposite experiences.

In one, I walked away frustrated and amazed that it took so long to accomplish such a basic task.

In another, I walked away happy, solving my problem in less than two minutes with none of the headache I expected.

I want to talk about what we can learn from both, but I’m going to leave the name out of the former as the point isn’t to trash the company but to learn from the experience.

Situation #1: I need to cancel a service.

I’ve been a customer of this service for some time, but it’s time for us to part ways. I scour the site for a way to cancel myself and do some searches in their support documentation. I can’t find anything except upgrading my service so I hop on live chat.

It took nearly 30 minutes of live chat with two operators to get this service cancelled despite having super clear intentions from the very start and making known that this wasn’t up for debate. At one point, I was transferred to a Customer Loyalty Administrator, which was frustrating. I had already waited for quite some time, and now I was transferred elsewhere?

In total, that chat took over 31 minutes from start to finish (disregarding the 5 minute wait in the queue).

Key takeaways:

  • When your customers want to leave, let them leave. I’m a believer that energy is normally better invested at the top of the funnel (getting the right customers to use your service and getting them in the right buckets) versus the bottom of the funnel (saving cancellations).
  • Give everyone on your team the power to solve problems. I might have been transferred to the Customer Loyalty Administrator for any number of reasons, but I can think of two likely ones: 1) they wanted one more shot at saving the cancellation or 2) the original operator couldn’t cancel my account.

Situation #2: A package didn’t get delivered.

I ordered something from Amazon, and although the tracking information read “Delivered,” we didn’t receive it. I went straight to contact support expecting to have to pay for the replacement.

First, I was amazed at the simple solution Amazon has in place for phone interactions. Customers don’t have to wait on the line and press a series of buttons to get themselves in the right department. It’s all handled through You select what order you’re calling about and the reason for your call. You enter the phone number and they call you. The agent is immediately up to speed on your issue.

Second, the conversation was super fast. She said it was delivered on a day in November. I said I didn’t receive it. She then said, “No problem. I’ll ship a replacement out right now.”

No arguing. No blaming the delivering company. No hassle.

Key takeaways:

  • Find ways to alleviate customer pain points on the front-end. Having phone customers pre-select what their calling about trumps the traditional “Hit 1 for questions about an order” process every time.
  • Give your people the power to make the situation right. I’m guessing there is some sort of dollar limit on the amount they can immediately replace. In my case, the product was $60 so not exactly cheap. In any case, give your support pros the power to solve issues and provide a delightful experience.
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