Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.
As I mentioned last week, I recently purchased a new desktop machine. My new machine had an issue, and the experience got me thinking about support and customer service, and how it so rarely enters into our purchasing decisions.
Typically when we purchase a new computer or software we spend a lot of time looking at things like features, functionality, price, longevity, performance and of course cost.
But we rarely look at what will happen when something goes wrong.
Now it's tempting to think that if you've purchased the right package or purchased from the right vendor, nothing will go wrong and support won't even be needed.
Trust me, it doesn't work that way. Something will go wrong. Perhaps not with every purchase, and perhaps not even something significant, but even with the best vendors mistakes can and will be made, issues will arise.
I'm still evaluating this new vendor's response to my issues. I will say that they're off to a somewhat rocky start having failed to respond to some of my emailed inquires, but once the issue became clear, the response was fairly quick.
Unfortunately many companies really cut corners when it comes to after sales support. It can be expensive and doesn't add directly to the bottom line. And to be perhaps a little blunt, if it's anything like the flow of support questions I get here at Ask Leo, the majority of issues that many customer service folks face are likely to be issues that people can frequently solve themselves with just a little bit more effort.
Unfortunately cutting those corners is a clear case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Good customer support actually adds to the bottom line long term by fostering repeat and loyal customers. And, there are many legitimate issues that good customer support can and should be available to help with. Even a good approach for the simple and common questions will only foster more good will and loyalty.
Other than experimenting as I am with my own purchases, I don't have a magic way to figure out who's customer support is good and who's is not. It's all about reputation, and as such I would spend time browsing the web and particularly customer support forums. Particularly in those forums see how many questions are actually being answered and if any are being answered by company representatives.
Beware too that as companies go through various budget and other cycles, customer support is one of those items that often gets cut to "save money". Make sure that whatever information you find is current.
Let me also turn it around: how do you identify good customer service before you make a major purchase?
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.net and enter 12352 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse the hundreds of technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.net.
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