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Good Customer Service / Help Desk Operations Wed 29 Jul 09

Yahoo! Small Business Demonstrates Help Desk Customer Service Can Be Done Well

Yahoo_Small_Business_logoMany bloggers, myself included, write about the various happenings in their life and use these events to demonstrate a point. In many cases the happenings are used as a bad example.  This time instead I have a good example of customer service. The unique thing about the example of good customer service is its rarity.

I use Yahoo! Small Business for my email and domain (mwschaffner.com) hosting and have been very pleased with it.  I've been using the older, i.e. classic, email version and until recently it worked fine.  A few weeks ago I started having problems switching between my yahoo.com account and my mwschaffner.com account.  When I would click on the link for mwschaffner.com I would get a Page Not Found error.

At first this wasn't a big problem as I would try the link again and it would work.  However, over time it began to happen more frequently and retrying it was unsuccessful.  So I decided to call the Help Desk fully expecting a long delay and "it works fine here" type of responses. I'm happy to say this wasn't the case.

When I filled out the basic information including my phone number they indicated that the waiting time was 0 minutes (I thought, yeh right).  I was surprised that when I hit the enter key the phone immediately rang.  A computerized message ask that I verify that I wanted to talk to a representative which I did by entering a "1" and was informed that a representative would be with me shortly.

As promised, a few seconds later Megan came on the line.  She read the issue and gave me an opportunity to explain further and then asked permission to access my account and tested the issue confirming the problem.

Megan then indicated that she couldn't fix the problem but would have to escalate it to an engineer.  She indicated that I would be contacted in 24 to 48 hours by an engineer and checked that it was okay to use my yahoo.com address as the contact point as trying to reach me at my mwschaffner.com address might be difficult for me to get to.

All during the conversation, Megan was personable, empathetic, understanding and she listened to what I had to say.  A number of times Megan asked if I had any questions about what would happen or if there were other problems she could help with.  It was a surprisingly enjoyable conversation.

In less than 24 hours I received an email from the engineer, Brutus, stating:

We have been able to confirm and replicate the issue that you are having with accessing the email account for your Yahoo! Custom Mailbox account and are working to resolve it as quickly as possible. We apologize for the delay in the resolution of your troubles, but we're currently in the process of determining and resolving your issue. The estimated time of resolution is 3 to 5 business days while we look deeper into this issue. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing you.

Brutus then went on to give me two work around solutions so I would be able to get my email in the interim.  Within the promised time the problem was fixed and I was back in operation.  All in all it was a very pleasant customer service experience with the Help Desk.

When I had a question about one of the work arounds they promptly answered it.  All of their communications were specific to the issue or my question.  None of it was boilerplate shotgunned out in an attempt to get lucky at addressing the issue.  Each answer and communication was all tailored and specific to the situation. 

Looking back at this they did a number of things right:

  1. The person on the call was friendly, empathetic and truly listened to what I had to say.
  2. The person on the call clearly explained what would happen
  3. I felt that the person on the call was truly trying to solve my issue not to just clear a trouble ticket
  4. Yahoo! made a number of commitments in regard to when things would happen and met or beat every one.
  5. They provided interim solutions
  6. Everyone clearly communicated what was happening and what I should expect.

They got it right and they did it right.  Obviously I don't know their thought process in designing their system but since it does provide such great customer service I suspect they designed a system to first provide good customer service and second to meet their internal needs for tracking tickets etc.  Too many Help Desk systems are designed around the needs of IT with little thought given to the needs of the customers and that is why I believe so many fail to provide good customer service.  Thanks Yahoo!

Customer service like this shouldn't be hard to do and it should be so noticeable by it rarity.

What examples of good customer service / Help Desk have you seen and what was it that made it so good.

"Yahoo! Small Business" logo copyright Yahoo

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