Five Steps to Create Customer Support to Match Your Hyper-Convenient Service

We have all come to rely on many new services which we find hyper-convenient. For example, we rely on:

  • Video and audio recording and streaming services like TiVo, Roku, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and Spotify. We find them hyper-convenient to watch and listen to what we want, when and where we want.
  • Paying for parking with a smartphone app like ParkNow or ParkMobile. We don’t have to carry quarters or pay for time we don’t use. We extend the parking period remotely when we realize we are going to be longer than we expected.
  • Amazon services like Prime (free two-day delivery on most orders), the  Kindle eReader, Zappos with free delivery and free returns, shopping when it’s convenient.

    Photo Credit: Karl Hab via Compfight cc
    Photo Credit: Karl Hab via Compfight cc

The more convenient a product or service is, the more we seem to rely on it and expect it to “just work.” But the more we like it and rely on it, the more unhappy we are when it doesn’t work. Then we expect hyper-convenient customer support and when we don’t get it, we are even more unhappy. Here are five steps to create hyper-convenient support.

1. Tell me if your service is having a problem before I find out painfully for myself. If your servers are down or you have been hacked, come clean immediately and warn me so I don’t have to figure it out myself after a lot of frustration. I’ve had some good experiences with a few companies, but most seem to hope I won’t notice when things are down and then only admit there’s a problem if I call them to complain.

2. Make it easy for me to talk to a real human being either by phone or chat. So far, Ally Bank has provided me a hyper-convenient service and I can still reach a real human being if needed. By contrast, the online bill payment for LabCorp, which was well-designed to make payment easy, was an epic fail when I needed to question the amount on a bill. I finally had to go to to learn how to trick the voice menu into sending me to a real person. When I got her on the phone, she even acknowledged there was no other way to reach a human being at their company. Some hyper-convenient services actively avoid any contact with customers. What are they thinking?

3. Connect me to a person who understands the problem at least as well as I do. It is frustrating to talk to a support person who clearly understands less about the problem than I do, so have a system that can transfer me to a higher-level of support. For example, there was a recurring glitch in the phone app for ParkNow which I knew how they could fix. After several rounds with their helpdesk, I finally had to send an email to the support person saying, “please send this solution to your programming team.”

4. Fix it immediately or tell me when it is going to be fixed and let me know when it has been fixed. Most things that are broken in hyper-convenient services are fixed quickly or the company goes out of business. The exceptions are monopolies (e.g. power and cable companies) and that is why we rant so much about their services. Some companies have tracking for repair processes, but most don’t communicate well about progress. They seem to believe that they can either fix the problem or report progress but not both.

5. Apologize and compensate me for the hassle. Amazon has been pretty reliable, but even when they screw up they have responded well. They tend not to argue with me, but instead, fix the problem, say they are sorry, and give me a credit on my account for the hassle. More companies could do this easily with positive results. It’s cheap compared to losing customers and having to find new ones.

Entrepreneurs and innovators dream about creating the next hyper-convenient service. Customers dream about getting hyper-convenient customer support.

What’s your best or worst experience with hyper-convenient services?