This is not me whining about getting bad customer support. As customer support goes, this experience wasn’t that bad. I’ve had bad customer support experiences, see here and here. I wanted to write about the experience I recently had with Space Monkey/Vivint because I think it’s an example of how simple, small changes can make a big difference in outcomes. Companies like Comcast and iStock have big, systemic problems–Space Monkey/Vivint could fix what happened here in a few minutes. Perhaps there are similar opportunities to find easy customer service wins in your organization.
I backed Space Monkey on Kickstarter three years ago and just got my device today. It’s not the device they said they would send me–I was supposed to get V2, not V1, so you can see between the 3-year delay and getting the wrong product I’m already off to a bit of a rocky start with Space Monkey. But I get a blog post out of it so I’m not angry 🙂
I plugged in the device and installed the app, per the instructions, but so far the app has not been able to find the device and connect to it. I’m probably doing something wrong, so I clicked on the support link in the app.
That led me to the support page Set Up Space Monkey.
I tried everything on this page, but couldn’t get my device to work, so then I saw this:
I’m a guy who prefers to type rather than talk, plus I’m in Hong Kong, it’s 11 pm, my kids are sleeping, and so avoiding noise is best for me. So I clicked on live chat, the window opened, I entered my name and email address and a summary of the issue, and hit submit. Here’s what happened next.
My Online Chat With Vivint Support
I want to first state that Tanner G is not the problem here. There are some systemic issues to what went wrong. Here are the problems and the solutions.
1. Problem: Tanner didn’t know what webpage I had just come from. He didn’t know what I wanted support with. He evidently hadn’t seen what I had typed in when I started the chat. This looks like a technology problem, not a Tanner problem, and probably not a training problem.
Solution: Online chat technology should always tell the support rep what webpage the customer was on when they clicked on the chat request link. Ideally it would show the entire path the customer had taken to get there. This way the support rep can see in a few seconds what the customer has already done and will have a good idea of what the issue is.
2. Problem: Tanner isn’t a dedicated rep for Space Monkey. If I click on an “online chat” link on a Space Monkey webpage, I expect to get a rep who knows Space Monkey inside and out.
Solution: Maybe there isn’t enough demand for Space Monkey support to justify having a full time rep focused on that and nothing else. I get that. But then whoever is receiving Space Monkey support requests, along with whatever else they’re supporting, should have enough knowledge to make me believe they support Space Monkey and nothing else.
If there isn’t a real option for providing online chat support for Space Monkey, then they should remove the link from the page and just have email and phone support (there is no email support link at all, another thing to fix).
3. Problem: Multiple support numbers. The number listed on the Space Monkey page is different than the number Tanner gave me. This is weird. It’s a minor thing, but still an issue because it’s one more point of the customer thinking “Wait a sec…”
Solution: Use one number for support–everywhere. Eliminate all incongruences.
4. Problem: Tanner wasn’t clear in his communication when he said “…call ### for assistance today.” This is a training issue.
Solution: Train reps on clear communication. When you say “today” that makes the customer think “Wait, just today, or every day?” Ideally Tanner would have immediately said “Sorry, we shouldn’t have the online chat link on that page at all, it’s a known issue we’ll fix shortly. In the meantime, you can get support at ### or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
5. Problem: Tanner should not have ended the chat without confirming that I was done. Again, this is a training issue.
Solution: Support reps should always, always, always make sure the customer ends the chat, not the rep, unless the customer disappears for 10 minutes and the rep can’t get a response.
Tanner isn’t the issue. Tanner is obviously a friendly guy. He’s probably a college student in the Provo/Orem area at BYU or UVU and is getting paid $11.75 an hour to provide chat support and I’d say he’s doing fine. 60 seconds of “training” by way of a supervisor saying “Hey, by the way, here are some minor things to improve on…” would take care of Tanner. Preemptive training would be better. But the real solutions here are the technology and having the right support structure in place. Fix those, and then the human element becomes almost a complete non-issue.Liked it? Share it!