Funny story to share…
First of all, let me start off by saying that I hate Customer Support. The reason I offer a lot of private label products and services is so that I don’t have to deal with the customers that buy them but can’t figure out how they work. Today I decided I would spend some time ‘in the trenches’ and respond to some support calls myself.
This gentleman has sent a nasty email to our support inbox explaining that he wasn’t able to use our product because we sent it to him as .doc and .txt files and would we please only send PDFs. To understand the irony in this, you have to realize that A) the product he had purchased was private-label web content which gave him the rights to modify it and claim it as his own work, and B) The PDF he is asking for doesn’t allow any editing and a .txt file is probably THE most compatible way of sending text to anyone worldwide on any computer.
I get on the phone with him and rather quickly diagnose that he has no idea what a zip file is and believe this is the root of his problem. I launch into an ever more and more simplified discussion of the ‘little icon with the open folder’ versus the ‘little icon with the zipper on it’. He claims he doesn’t see any zippers and I feel I am losing him.
I invite him to an instant webinar so I can share my screen and show him the zipper folder. Ten minutes go by while he figures out how to connect… I make idle small talk on the open phone line.
I start sharing my screen showing him how to unzip the folder, when i realize the issue is further back. He is watching me and it becomes clear that he doesn’t understand the concept of downloading an item attached to an email. I diagnose that he is trying to open a zipped folder attached to an email without downloading or unzipping.
At this point I realize that him watching me isn’t going to solve the issue. I need to watch him.
I make him the presenter and he figures out how to share his screen with me.
At this point I’m seeing his computer. He is a gmail user and the toolbars on his web browser are taking up half of the page. I watch him save the email attachment. I teach him about right clicking and extracting. So far so good.
After unzipping, he tries to open one of the .doc files. I see a Word 97 box flash in front of me. I let out an involuntary giggle. Error messages start flying all over the place. He is trying to read each one when I blurt out “This software is 16 years old!” I think we just found your problem.
He gets defensive about his computer claiming it is only 3 years old.
It is running Windows XP and Word 97. I try to explain to him the difference between hardware, operating systems and software. He isn’t following me; just keeps saying the computer is 3 years old.
Then an Asian porn website pops up in a new window. (He is still screen sharing with me). He is not phased by the fact that he is now screen-sharing porn. There is no change in his voice at all. All he says is “I thought computers were smarter than this…that’s not even my type.”
The call was over about 30 seconds later. I told him we would gladly cancel his subscription. Now that he had learned how to unzip the folder he should have plenty of content. I encouraged him to take his computer for an upgrade and virus scan and wished him well.
After having hanging up and having a good laugh, I reflected.
We cannot possibly afford to serve a customer like this. He made a $27 purchase and was furious at us because ‘it doesn’t work’. As I watched him on the screen share, he had trouble opening and closing windows and knowing how to save an attachment. At the end of the call I wished him well and told him to come back if we could help him with anything else. But I don’t mean that. Sometimes to grow a business you have to be willing to say no to a customer or even fire a customer.