We recently received some pretty high-level praise from a journalist who was amazed that we actually answered our 800 number. No, not with a computerized menu — with a real person who answered her question right-away and even followed up with an email. This shouldn’t be a shock, but unfortunately, it is.
All industries have suffered from sky-rocketing costs and a down economy which has led to a rash of outsourcing customer support to foreign companies and using computerized voicemail systems to save on costs.
The problem is so bad that some people avoid calling support lines at all costs because they’re afraid to get the run-around or some person on the other end that barely speaks English and only knows how to follow a scripted database on a screen.
We’ve always felt that customer service and support is important. Every support person we’ve ever hired is based in the US and is diligently trained on our product line, with constant on-going training to keep them up-to-date on the latest waves of technical issues that pop up.
And, did I mention that we don’t charge for support? Not a dime. You don’t even have to own our software to call in. In fact, many of our callers are simply trying out our slideshow tools to see if they are a good fit.
It is expensive for us, but well worth it. Why? Because we almost never lose customers. Once a customer has a problem and we help them, a loyalty is built and that customer helps lead us to success.
I’m confident we’ve made the right choices with our support department for a simple reason. We receive a constant stream of compliments and rave reports from customers we’ve helped. The feedback makes us know we’re doing our job, which makes us want to do even better.
So as I asked before, is customer service a lost art? It’s been our experience and from our perspective, companies cut support budgets at their own peril. In this economy, holding on to loyal customers is more critical than ever and providing free, reliable and truly helpful customer service is one way we can show our sincere appreciation.