What happens when I send a note of praise to your company? Does it get handled efficiently and effectively? Does it build my loyalty or destroy it?
I usually refrain from nasty notes. In most cases, I figure I’m better off encouraging continued good service with a letter of praise than sending a nasty letter in a vain attempt to change a place that gives bad service. When I do send a note of thanks by email, where responding is simple, I expect a response. Some companies do a great job. A friend wrote a note to say that Formula 409 had been really effective at cleaning a problem mess and he received a thank you and coupons for all kinds of free product.
So I recently wrote to a company praising their tech support (see below for a copy of the letter). I had some trouble installing a new DSL modem and getting connected. I wanted the tech rep’s supervisor to know that I got some of the best support I’d ever gotten, but there was no email contact for tech support, general contact, or a simple “comments and complaints” address. So I sent it to the only department that had an email address on the website: sales. Now, you would think if anyone knew the importance of customer service it would be the sales department.
To my surprise, I didn’t get any response. How hard would it have been for someone in sales to say “Thanks for contacting us. I’m glad we could help you out. I’ll see that your comments get forwarded to the tech support people”.
So I have two questions:
- Why didn’t sales respond?
- Why isn’t there a email@example.com email address?
The sales department’s failure to respond wiped out much of the goodwill created by the amazing technical support rep. If I had sent a complaint, I bet I would have gotten a response, but someone who sends a complaint may have already decided to hate you forever. Recovering the good will of that customer will be hard. If you do it right, that person will be loyal forever, but doing it right takes a lot of work. When someone writes you a letter of praise, though, it’s more like dating. That person is saying “I think I would like a long-term relationship with you.” You don’t have that loyalty yet, though. Think of it as a test, like a first date. Is there someone there? Is there a good response? If not, you’ve squandered that opening the customer offered. That’s what the Zoom modem people did to me.
If you want people to say good things about you, you should make it possible. So why don’t you have an email address for testimonials? You have “support”, and “sales” which should handle problems and complaints. Who do you have assigned to handle praise?
Here’s the note I sent:
I am not writing for a sales question, but because there was no general contact email address on the contact page.
I just wanted to ask you to forward this to management and especially management in support to say that I was really pleased with the support that I got today on my Zoom 5615A modem. I’ve been tearing my hair out for two days going to a WiFi hotspot and searching the internet, calling my ISP, and made an inquiry to Zoom which got me connected, but then I ran into troubles when I rebooted and couldn’t get back where I was.
This afternoon, I could tell that though the tech was running through a step-by-step protocol, he seemed to know a lot more about modems than just what was written in his protocol. So I asked him a few questions, got him to explain some things so I could better explain my goals and my situation. Deviating far from the script and giving me the more fundamental knowledge I needed to frame my question correctly, he really sorted me out. Everything works now — modem, router, the whole deal. I would also commend him for his patience as I went through this screen and that screen and changed over to another computer.
[other identifying details snipped]