A few evenings ago we lost the internet connection at our house. As with all infrastructures, things can and do go bump in the night. Although it does seem a little more frequent with the internet. Normally it’s not the end of the world since it was in the evening, however in this case I was trying to post a notification that should have been up a few days prior.
Unlike other infrastructure outages, when you lose your internet connection you have no initial way of telling whether it’s a network outage or that your Wi-Fi router or the providers modem has just suddenly given up. Lets face it, when the lights go out all you have to do is peer out the windows to determine if the whole neighbourhood is out or you’ve just forgotten to pay the bill.
Not so with the internet, as it usually takes about 15 minutes of unplugging, resetting and rebooting before you can confirm a network problem. Then and only then do you call the provider. Doing so before is pointless as they’ll keep you on hold, but reminding you every 15 seconds how important we are or that they value our business, only to be told to unplug, reset and reboot everything. Alternatively, when you do get through they’ll tell you that it’s a network problem and they don’t know how long it will take to repair.
What struck me the other night when all this happened was why our provider can’t advise us when there is a network problem? No I don’t expect a phone call, nor an email since the network is down, but what about a text message. You see our service provider is also the largest cell phone provider in Canada. How hard would it be for them to fire off a simple text message to all their internet customers advising them of the problem? Because of service bundling, many of their internet customers are also their cell customers. This is not a terribly unique corporate setup as there are many other vertically integrated cable, internet and cell operators around the world.
I’m sure they would have a million excuses as to why they could never do this such as the complexity and cost involved etc. etc. This, by the same company who can stream on demand TV shows into my home within seconds of pushing a button.
The point is, this company has the capacity and the infrastructure to provide this notification to customers yet doesn’t. Yet how much frustration do they cause their customers in having to contact their customer service department.
So let me ask you, what can you do in your business to be a little more proactive and respectful of your customers? Why wait until the customer calls?
In this case, a simple text message is all it takes and I for one would have appreciated receiving a heads up because it would save me the need to unplug, reset and reboot.
Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2013
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