From FAB to FAIL in one hour or less

Poor customer service is counter-intuitive; it’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Bad idea, in my opinion.

I recently switched to a different cable Internet service provider. Because I work from home, fast and reliable Internet is pretty high on my list of needs. The sales team sold me on how much faster their service is for both download and upload, plus a little cheaper to boot. I was skeptical at first, but their offer was too good to pass up. Plus, my former provider had recently informed me of an impending price hike.

A few days later a technician comes to my house to hook up the new cable TV and Internet. He is polite, professional and dedicated, working well past quitting time to resolve some minor issues that could possibly impact service quality. And the service is as fast as advertised – even faster, in fact.

Wow! I’m really impressed; a super happy customer.

The next morning I gladly spend some time reconfiguring my email settings to work with the new ISP. Hmmm… my Microsoft Exchange email works fine, but my POP email account can’t seem to connect properly. I can receive mail, but can’t send it. No matter, I just need to fool around with the settings a bit. Well, that didn’t work.

Let’s call the ISP’s tech support. Oh no, the automated phone runaround 😦  That’s okay, just a little patience to get to the right person and everything will be fixed in a jiffy, right? After all, I have blazing fast Internet now!

Grrr, about an hour has passed since I started dealing with this, and I’m still getting passed from person to person with the call getting dropped several times, causing me to start over from scratch. Determined, I keep plugging away.

At last, I reach the right department and speak with a tech person who understands exactly what the issue is, and even better, he says it’s a really easy fix. Hallelujah! “Fabulous, what do I need to do; is there a configuration setting I need to change?”

“Yes, that’s correct. But before I can give you that information, first you need to sign up for a tech support contract.”

Say what?? “But I’m a brand new customer just trying to configure my new Internet service. I don’t need an ongoing service contract.”

“Nevertheless, that’s the only way I can help you.”

“That doesn’t make sense. Why would you penalize me for becoming a new customer? Maybe I should just switch back to your competitor.”

“You can do as you like, but I can’t help you unless you buy a service contract.”

3 – 2 – 1 – Boom!

I just went from biggest fan to disgruntled customer in no time flat.

Stubbornly refusing to give in, as a matter of principle, I search online user forums for answers. Amazingly, I quickly discover dozens of other disgruntled customers who encountered the exact same roadblock.

Out of desperation, I contact the service provider that hosts my email server. “I realize the problem is not on your end, it’s the ISP gateway on my computer. But perhaps you’ve encountered a similar situation before, and you might be able to help me…?” I plead, hopefully.

Without missing a beat, their tech support agent replies, “Certainly, let me see what I can do to help you.” After explaining the problem in detail, she tells me that she has not encountered this issue before, but maybe one of her colleagues has the answer. Do I mind if she puts me on a brief hold?

When she returns after a few minutes, she suggests that I change the outgoing server name to a specific DNS address and change my outgoing server port setting. She provides a couple alternate port settings, and on the second try it works. Yes! I’m ecstatic and very grateful.

She thanks me and says, “Have a nice day.”

Finally, after several hours and loads of frustration, I have a simple 2-minute solution to a problem that should have been a very minor issue.

Thank you, Hostway. You’ve reinforced my relationship as your customer and won my loyalty. Well done. See how simple it is, cable Internet service provider?

Nose, meet face. Let’s be friends.

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About galjody

Professional communicator and brand image engineer; writer; sci fi geek
This entry was posted in Communications theory and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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