I’m slightly confused as to why people think their clients stick with them, or more importantly stay with them. Do they really think that they can serve up whatever user experience suits them and the customer will stick with it? I’m not just talking about functionality and usability, I’m also talking about customer service.
I have recently had a rather poor experience on a side-project that I run. I’m being moved from one provider to another against my will (the result of a buy out) and losing vast amounts of usability and some essential functionality as a result. Ok, I guess I can work with that and research ways around the problem eg other providers, different kinds of webhosting for downloading digital files. I received assurances from the new provider that certain services would be extended to me for 3 months however these were then removed after 1 month. And when I called to ask if this could be dealt with in any way, reminding them of the previous conversation, I was basically told “computer says no” or not even that really. Finally, they emailed me to ask if I needed any questions answered about migration and I replied with 2 questions – that was 5 days ago and no reply as yet…So I am now in the process of having to migrate my project to another platform completely.
I’m lucky. I know the basics of programming and that gives me substantial benefits in terms of navigating my way around the multitude of website hosting providers, free software publishing platforms like WordPress and free creative tools that exist all over the web. So for me it’s more of an extreme annoyance than a complete full-stop to the project. But as I said, I’m lucky, most of the people using my old provider don’t have that kind of experience so they are left with reduced functionality and a new and rather slapdash provider.
While I appreciate that it’s not really an incoming company’s fault if they don’t offer the functions I need to make my project work, surely every company is now aware that even if they lose me as a customer, if they give great support/customer service then I am more likely to recommend them to someone else further down the line – net promoter score in a very literal sense! As it is I am highly unlikely to recommend the incoming provider to anyone.
There are so many simple, easy touches that make the customer experience better that there is no excuse any more for delivering a poor experience in usability and customer service. Web Hosting Rating asked me to look at their site and maybe write a review and frankly I am happy to, because they clearly demonstrate just one easy way to make people feel more informed and better helped. It’s not rocket science, it’s a blog. And it’s not even a daily updated blog, it’s an information blog that provides guidance on making the most of the services they provide. More that this, it thinks widely. It references software you might want to host on the platform, how to install and apply it and suggests way to maximise your engagement. And of course all of this makes using their service more attractive and simpler.
There’s a lot of buzz about customer service via social media. It doesn’t have to cost the earth but I firmly believe it will make the difference between businesses succeeding and failing. I would be interested to learn how many of the people who were moved to my new provider are happy with the service they are receiving, how many will leave and how many will stay because they have to.