I Want Good Service Without Having to Cancel to Get It

No less than four times in the last month I have had customer service experiences that I can’t seem to shake. These included a car dealership, a furniture store, a VoIP provider and a mail order purchase. Although completely different products, services, and providers, the incident was the nearly the same in each case. It wasn’t until I contacted them to cancel the product or service that was in place or being ordered, that the “real” customer service was turned on.

If I had only been treated that way from the beginning, things may have turned out differently for them and I may have remained their customer.  Invoice credits, fabric upgrades, free months – They were all very nice, but not enough and too late in the game to change my mind.

I am part of a dying breed I think. I know a 10-minute call here or there can save me 15% or more on my insurance, but I like my agent.  He and his team have never let me down in 15 years and I will pay a premium for that.  Recently, I could have saved .5% on my auto financing rate by using the dealership’s offer, but I like my credit union and they gave me their best rate upfront, not as a last ditch effort to get me to finance with them.

So it is not surprising to me that many enterprises that first adopted low-cost hosting, network, and even cloud solutions are learning that they, too, want a better customer service experience, and are now willing to pay more for it.  I have heard this directly from the companies I work with as well as in industry surveys and reports that show customers want higher or “enterprise-grade” support options.  It is very uncommon for the cheapest provider to be the best and in your time of need, you want to be sure that your provider has the experience, control and people in place to get you a quick and acceptable resolution – especially when it is your company and its customers at risk!

We are still in the early stages of the cloud adoption curve and as we hear on-going reports of outages and security breaches. It is very rare that affected customers go on the record afterwards to applaud how their service provider reacted and resolved the issue.

But when it does happen, it makes you realize that all clouds are not the same.  You can’t quickly resolve a problem, if you don’t have visibility or control over the underlying architecture.  I know there are a lot of good providers out there, but what if the problem isn’t easily solved? What if it takes experienced network engineers or security experts? What if it takes a team of resources with enough clout to immediately round up top-level support personnel from the leading hardware and software component providers in the industry?

Everyone can’t offer that level of response and support, and sometimes it is worth the added cost to be sure that you have those resources standing by in the event you should ever need them.  I expect to see this trend continue in the Cloud market, especially as companies start to migrate business applications that were previously not Cloud candidates.

My advice to those companies is to first be sure your provider has a history of reliability, and for the times when their reliability may be put to the test, be sure they have a history of support.

What about you?  Do you have any stories of exceptionally good (or bad) service from a Cloud provider?  What do you feel needs to be done to enhance customer service in the Cloud?  We look forward to your comments.
The Networking Exchange Blog Team About NEB Team