Tech companies and customer service go together like pickles and… chocolate cake. Yeah, it can be that bad. We’ve all been there. The hours-long computer voice menus that lead you around in circles and then tell you all their lines are busy, please try another time. The dropped calls. The less than polite customer service rep who implies that whatever your problem is, it’s certainly no concern of his. We’re sorry, but the princess is in another castle.
Well, believe it or not, the times are changing. For one thing, as a society, we rely more and more on digital devices to streamline our daily activities. Not so many years ago, phone calls were made in booths, bills were paid in person and every appliance came with an owner’s manual. With the onset of the computer age, however, that has all changed, rapidly. And there’s no sign that progress is slowing. If anything, it’s growing exponentially.
We now use our laptops, smartphones and iPads to do everything from ordering groceries, to taking classes, to paying our bills and taxes. And what this means for tech companies is that we need help managing all those devices, and that requires customer support. Because customers will not continue to buy a company’s products if they can’t figure out how to use them, customer support is no longer an option: It’s a necessity.
Recognizing the value of good customer support, some companies are really stepping up to the plate. Apple is one of them. Apple’s secret to success is twofold. Not only do they pride themselves on innovative products, but, for the past decade, they have made it their mission to outshine their competitors in the arena of customer service as well. Despite recent falls, Apple still out rates all other major electronics companies in consumer surveys, especially in the category of customer service. All of this means they have developed a very devoted following.
But, Apple is not alone. Rackspace, an email and cloud hosting company, is also making a name for itself with its stellar customer support and publishing its tales to Youtube for illustrative and marketing purposes. “Fanatical” is the term that the company uses when describing its devotion to meeting customer needs. Some people claim that Rackspace has raised customer support to an art form. One story has it that a customer service rep went so far as to have a pizza delivered to a customer during a particularly long trouble-shooting session over the phone. And even paid for it. Rackspace has recognized the need for fanatical customer support and will go the extra mile to see that their customers are happy and their needs are met.
General Electric, the major appliance company, is also among the standouts. Not only do they reach out to those who purchase their household goods with email, live chat and telephone support options, they also work hard to keep internal customers happy as well. GE’s “black belt” program aids its customers in their efforts to cut costs, streamline their production processes and increase profit margins. And GE does it all for free.
In this competitive age of technology, where customers need and demand quality support services, customer support simply cannot be overlooked. Success in that one area may well make the difference between a company that thrives and one that folds.