Thursday, February 23, 2012 Customer Service: Transforming Strategic Service Tiers Into Service That Sucks

Recently I ran into a strange issue with Perhaps the best way to describe it would be unusual behavior in the application that appeared suddenly with no clear cause. If it were a medical condition, I would put it in the category of, "if this happens, call your doctor."

In the past, I've generally been impressed with customer service. When I called them, they were often quick to realize that I wasn't simply an end user that had lost forgotten their password. They were friendly, worked quickly to diagnose my issue, and escalate it if necessary -- not that I had a lot of issues with the platform.

So, that probably underscores my surprise and tremendous disappointment in their customer support with this most recent issue.
  • Want to submit a case? Gotta go through the web interface. Standard response time, 1-2 days. 
  • Email? So outdated. No options. 
  • Wanna talk to someone on the phone? Be told repeatedly by the automated system that, unless you have premier support or you have a lot of users unable to access SFDC, you should use the web interface. Then wait for a long time on hold, have someone answer and then they submit a case. Standard response time, 1-2 days. 
  • What to use the online Chat feature? Only available at the Premier level service tier. 
  • Thinking about contacting your account rep? All that they can do is submit a case. 
In short, their customer support response tier has gone from a benchmark to matching the lowest common denominator of crappy in order to make their premier level seem more valuable. They have essentially deteriorated their base service to service and support in name only. Keep in mind that this is a component of your business infrastructure that you're paying upwards of $1000+ per seat per year for -- what many businesses would consider good customers, business customers.

The funny thing is, considering many of their recent presentations and Dreamforce keynotes, maybe I would get a more responsive experience if I posted my issue on Facebook or Twitter. 

So what's the take-away? Perhaps, as an enterprise software vendor, there is an expectation of an entitlement to annual maintenance fees for service and support. Old habits die hard. At the same time, it's not unusual to see service and support devolve like this -- it's probably more common than 'amazing' customer support. Either way, it's certainly not the level of service that's going to win your business great word of mouth.

No comments: