If you’re purchasing a product from a company that has a service department, get an idea of how well they support their customers and their products before you make the purchase. Never underestimate the importance of receiving the help you need, the second you need it.
Certain products require support from time to time, but how much thought do you give to the product’s company support? Most likely, your focus is squarely on the price and features of the product and the level of support that backs it up can go unnoticed… until you need it. So, what do you consider good support?
Being a Support Manager, I may appear biased but I’ve spent a lot more time being a consumer! When I think of great support from a service provider that I use, I think of three things:
- Speed of response to my need
- Accuracy of the help provided
- Ownership of the situation
These three things are what I look for when I am in need… whether my need is as simple as a refill at a restaurant or my need is a more detailed explanation of my phone bill (every month) or just about anything you can think of that needs further attention.
Let’s examine each of the three elements that create great support:
Speed of Response to My Need
To spell out #1, I need to give a good example of what Speed of response looks like when done right. Have you ever been at a grocery store or department store and as you are walking up to check out, someone is coordinating the checkout lines and immediately notices you will be the, say, 3rd person in line? Then that person immediately either takes you to their own register or has someone waiting to accept you at their checkout counter? That is great speed of response! Your need was identified and met before you had a chance to even worry about it!
Accuracy of the Help Provided
How about #2? Accuracy is what keeps us moving forward when looking for answers from others. A great example of this can be when you are working on a ‘home’ project and you realize you need a special tool or set of tools to get this job done right. You head to the hardware store, explain your need to a representative and they literally walk you to the spot in the store that houses that mysterious tool or need you’re in search of. And the tool does exactly what you need it to do. With that kind of accuracy from the person you are getting support from, your job just got easier. There was no stoppage of work because the support was fluid.
Ownership of the Situation
And #3… This is the home run in the support world. If you have a problem and someone else voluntarily makes it their problem too, then you don’t feel alone in the pursuit of the solution anymore. This goes a million miles towards customer satisfaction to me. A great example of how this works best comes from an issue I had with my wife’s vehicle.
Her car was no longer accelerating like it used to. I took it to the dealership and a sales representative actually approached me in the lobby. I told him I was just looking for the parts and service department. He not only took me back to the department, but along the way he inquired on my issue. I parted ways with him but he gave me his number and said he would follow up with me if that was okay. I agreed and low and behold after my visit with the service department a couple days later he actually called me. He just left a message and wanted to make sure I was good. Well, it turns out the issue did NOT go away. So I called him back.
I was ready for him to just avoid me since it didn’t work out but he answered, heard me out and had me schedule a time to come back when he would be there. We both went to the service department and spoke to the manager who in turn had a team get right on looking at the bigger issue I was having. Because of this sales representative’s ownership of this issue, I bought my next car off of him. I trusted him, that relationship was solidified and now it would take a lot to shake my confidence in this rep and the company he worked for.
Count on Support to Always Be There, or Count Them Out
The bottom line here is that if you are in need, you are in need. It’s simple: Cause and Affect. If you are not getting great support you will know it. And when you ARE getting great support you will know that too. Speed to help me, getting it right the first time (accuracy) and ownership of the issue is what makes for a happy, happy customer!