Excellent tech support

I know, I know, the title sounds like an oxymoron; no one ever gets excellent tech support. Mostly we like to grumble about how bad it is, and justifiably so. Mark Bernstein wrote an apt observation about this matter (on Valentine’s Day, of all days):

These days, by the time people contact tech support, they’re angry and they’re desperate. The desperation stems from the expectation a long wait after which they’ll receive scant help from ill-equipped operators, and the anger anticipates that the whole effort will be fruitless.

The software industry has trained people to expect this.

Its current solution to the problem, unfortunately, is to price the near-certainty of failure into the product. After all, how angry can the angry villagers be if they only spent 99 cents?

We’ve got to find a better way.

I am, therefore, pleasantly surprised at the support I got from Apple for a small iTunes problem, one that I thought would be too small to warrant any attention. Within about six hours I received a personalized email message that was responsive, to-the-point, and cordial. How was it personalized? I’m sure it was still boilerplate, but it addressed my specific problem and provided a concrete solution. About 24 hours later I got another message asking me whether everything was now OK. When I replied in the affirmative, I got a third (and final) message, including these words

…I am glad to hear that the issue is now resolved. We know first hand, how great it feels to get what you need, and to have things run smoothly. Just if you need anything — anything at all — please do not hesitate to let us know by replying to this email. We’ll always be happy to assist you with whatever you need. Nothing makes Apple happier than to hear that we have pleased our customers….

I know, it’s all just marketing, but it’s so much more responsive than the lackluster comments I get from the people who work for HP, Comcast, Cisco, and the like.

Categories: Technology