The key to good technology - it’s people! August 3, 2005
As products to make our lives easier get more complex, customer service becomes more important than any other aspect of the technology experience. From good information on the packaging to a decent corporate website, to the folks on the front lines of the call centres, the quality of service is becoming more important than the quality of the technology.
Recently, I have been peripherally involved in a great example of What Not To Do. The saga begins with a 15-month old Epson brand printer/scanner/copier that stops working. The two week plus ordeal consists of the following attempts to get help from the manufacturer:
- several visits to Epson’s website, showing no useful information and no way of contacting the company;
- a trip to an authorized service centre, where the unit is identifies as a “bad” product that generally becomes unusable once the ink cartridge is changed;
- a long-distance toll call to Epson;
- shipping the unit to the manufacturer, and receiving a replacement (sounds good, right? Wait for it…);
- discovering that the replacement does not support the same operating systems as the original unit, including the one in use here;
- more long-distance calls to Epson, where a representative provided multiple instances of entirely incorrect information, including claiming that full point OS upgrades are alternately free or $29.95, and finally explaining that no-one doesn’t upgrade their OS all the time, whatever the cost, so there!
Ultimately, after this is doesn’t really matter what happens next. The damage has been done. It wouldn’t matter if Epson made the best and cheapest printers in the world, a person who goes through a customer service experience like this is never going to be a customer of this company again.
Technology manufacturers and software providers need to remember that for many users, it’s the one moment where things aren’t perfect that they remember, not the millions of hours of flawless performance. It’s the people that are the most important part of any consumer technology and poor people experiences can ruin a good tech experience forever.