Industry Insights from Our Experts

Balance the stakeholder benefits!

Filed under Productivity, Usability

Being a business owner, I can understand that an investment in usability (customer!) must be balanced with revenue, more importantly, profit (investor!). However, a poor customer experience can and will affect sales, reputation, and the potential loss of loyal customers. With the advent of social media, a customer’s experience (good or bad) can be viral! I recently upgraded our home Internet connection plan with our service provider. What is supposed to be a simple upgrade is turning out to be more complicated than it should be (I say this because it isn’t solved yet). Here’s the story, and following that, my recommendations for improvement.


The order

1. I ordered the upgrade to our Internet plan

I called the ISP, was prompted through the IVR, and was put on hold for a very short period of time before connecting with a customer service representative. Note that my path through the IVR was not technical but that of account inquiry / changes. The CSR was very helpful, gladly put the order in for my upgrade, and let me know I’d need a new modem as the old one would not support the new plan. Modem’s weren’t currently in stock, but they would ship one as soon as they became available (~ 2 weeks).

2. A month and a half later, still no modem

I called the ISP account / inquiry CSR, and had them look into why I hadn’t received the modem yet. Turned out they shipped it to an old work address. Ok, no big deal – I understand, let’s get the modem shipped to the correct address.

3. Modem arrives, time to hook it up

So the modem arrives, and I read through the installation instructions. Seems very straight forward, just plug it in, call to activate, and voila, the new service is up and running! Well, in theory anyway… I plugged in the modem, and called to activate the thing. I’m put on hold with some nice music. 10 minutes go by… 30 minutes go by… an hour goes by… two hours go by… two and a half hours go by… Ok, I give up. I’m very thankful that I happened to know someone who does the installations for this ISP, and they were able to communicate with the ISP through the ‘backdoor’ and get my modem activated (thank you, you know who you are). Yay, it’s up and running. Sort of.

4. Running speedtest – same results as the old modem

Ok, so the whole purpose of the upgrade was a faster connection – but I’m not getting it. Now what do I do? Dare I call technical support and wait on hold? No way. I’ll try my luck with my personal connection. Again, thankfully he helps me out, get’s things working better, but tells me the signal strength to my home isn’t strong enough. WHAT!? I need a technician to the house… (he offers that help, but I opt out, he’s done enough!)

5. I contact technical support yet again (today)

By phone, it looks like more than a 2 hour wait again, so I requested the call back feature. I gave the online chat a try to see if it’s any faster, but it didn’t work. I opt to wait for the callback…

Some improvement tips!

Here’s some simple ideas they could use to improve the overall experience (utopia!)

1. Verify the delivery address for the modems. Save on courier charges, additional CSR time and avoid customer dissatisfaction. If the delivery fails, don’t wait for the customer to call and inquire.

2. During the upgrade order, test all you can to ensure the service can be provided at that residence.

3. Provide a means to activate the new modem via IVR or the Internet. Don’t make the customer wait.

4. Improve the online chat experience. How many times do I have to click in order to chat? If I’m logged into my account, why do I have to provide you with my name, phone number, email and account number in order to chat?

These things seem pretty straight forward. A partial quote from the CEO in the latest 3rd quarter financial and operating results: “We remain focused on continuous innovation and product leadership to enhance the customer experience…” OK great, prove it!

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