A bit ago I made a post saying Customer Support On The Internet Does Not Matter and I went on to give examples of successful businesses (some my own which back then made me take the assistance of usave and change my broadband network)where there was a clear lack of Customer Support, yet they still do very well.
There was a lot of comments talking about that Customer Service online was still important and they made some pretty good arguments as to why. I have given this some thought in the last week and wanted to make a post clarifying my stance.
I have always thought of Customer Service and Customer Support as two different things. I will explain.
Customer Service to me is really all about having good documentation and a easy way to return items. Also quick responses to billing issues.
Customer Support to me is more technical and hand holding of your customers. Examples of this would be installing software, and actually using the product. Answering “Support” questions.
Does that make any sense? I think I have formed these opinions from my background. For years I worked for ISP’s that were mom and pop run for the most part. They believed in good customer support and service. I was part of the support team. We had tons of people that would help customers with EVERYTHING even many things that had NOTHING to do with the ISP. Could be installing printer drivers… or scanner… or whatever or it could be just installing the dial up software to use our services. We would spend HOURS on 1 call at times. Keep in mind we also had VERY comprehensive documentation. Even though we provided AMAZING, OUTSTANDING customer service users would jump to AOL in a second because it was cheaper. They also would jump to broad band in a second because of high speeds. AOL and broadband providers typically had HORRIBLE support and incredible wait times. Anyway guess what? Most of these ISP’s from my hometown are out of business. Even though they provided amazing customer support the users jumped to other services which had better products or cheaper prices but provided hardly any customer support.
BUT these companies did have very good customer service. If you needed to pay a bill they were their for you but if your service did not work then you went to customer support for hours (at times).
So now perhaps the examples I gave will make more sense when I was talking about customer support. Amazon, Google, eBay all have amazing, free or cheap services and provide pretty much zero customer support. BUT they provide good customer service. You can find pretty questions to your answers through there extensive documentation most of the time and if you have a billing or return issue (amazon mainly) they are there for you.
So I still stick to my what I said. Customer Support On The Internet Is Dead. Have good customer service and online documentation and provide the best product. If they can’t figure it out… fu*kem.