On customer service

24Nov07

These days we are getting feedback on the Beta/Release candidate builds of XP SP3 we shipped to some customers.

While looking through the feedback and formulating the questions to ask the customer , I constantly try to put myself in their shoes. Let me explain why-

If for example I call up my broadband provider with a complaint, I completely hate it when they treat me like a vegetable with fingers.

Cust Rep- Please click on start , go to run and type cmd and hit enter

Me- Duh Duh Duh Duh. Why not just tell me to open a command prompt.

Cust Rep – Please type i p c o n f i g and hit enter.Now can you tell us what you see ?

Me- Duh, I told you already ! The whole freaking problem is that I do not get an IP address! Your DHCP server isnt working! I don’t get a DNS either , which leads me to think that maybe my port on your switch itself is down

Cust Rep –  Yes Sir I completely understand.Now can you go to start prompt right click on my computer and go to manage hardware.

Me- Damn you!

Now, having had this experience, I know it sucks when the person on the other side does not give credit to my intelligence. The difficult thing is identifying if the customer is a novice or an expert .

If I was to give instructions on collecting netmon traces to a TAM from Dell, he would probably hate me – but if I assume everyone using XP is a techie and end up asking a school teacher to collect netmon and netdiag traces and ftp them to a server she/he would hate me just as much.

I usually end up starting at a novice level and based on the response scale up my ask and questions to the customer. It’s been working fine for most of the time except on an occasion or two .

What really does help is that I have the freedom to do so. There is really no script that I have to follow like the customer service rep’s at call centers have to. I can create a relationship with the customer and formulate questions based on how much they are able to understand and do.

The whole cycle of handling customer feedback has been a great learning experience for me. It’s for once put me on the “other” side of the customer and helped me understand the various way’s people interact with their computers and Windows.

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7 Responses to “On customer service”

  1. huh? they make you do call center work as well :O

  2. though i don’t know you personally, but could not stop myself from commenting.
    its purely a call center work :-O

  3. customer support indeed *sniggers* 😛
    i often have funny incidents when i need to call these call centers .. esp when I see right through their fake accent to realise that he is in mumbai or bangalore 😉

  4. hey, on TJ’s b’day, you told me that sp3 was released. you liar 😉

  5. I would say it must be fun doing something like that ( call center work but…) with a flexible attitude for different kind of janta …..

  6. in the end every software engineer does do some sort of call center work doesent he/she ? It’s usually called “client meeting” but you can look at it either way.. nevertheless..it’s fun 🙂

  7. Its immensely satisfying to know how your work affects people. nothing like being on the frontline and meeting clients.


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