The Importance of Consistency in Customer Support

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    Recently, my work laptop was running slow and the track pad broke. I handed it off to our business manager so she could take it to the store for repairs.

    Her experience at the store was a trying one in which she had to overcome two obstacles that she found frustrating.

    The first customer service fail she encountered is that you can no longer simply drop your machine off; customers need to remain at the store during the initial troubleshoot. She told me this was new and far less convenient than before. She was told the reason behind this change is that they don’t have  enough room to keep so many machines in the back. We agreed this was a silly reason and speculated the real reason for such an inconvenient change may have been to make the store look busier. Perhaps they think if you’re there, you’re more likely to make a purchase. Or maybe they’ve had experience losing machines in the past and thought it was best to keep customers around while they work on them.

    Then it occurred to me there is actually a really good reason to have customers hang out for a bit. According to’s Top Five Customer Service Myths infographic, 80 percent of service calls are no brainers and resolved within minutes. I’m not sure if this is consistent with hardware repairs but suspect that is also the case. This reason makes a lot more sense to me than having a lack of space. And it is more appealing from a marketing perspective.

    The second customer experience fail was when four staff members scolded her for not making an appointment for each machine. Naturally, you can understand she didn’t make an appointment for each machine because she was planning on dropping off all three laptops. When I heard this, I started to wonder if this store just isn’t equipped to support business needs, but then I rationalized this could easily happen to any individual consumer. Think about it. If you were bringing in your personal laptop and your spouse’s iPad would you think to make two appointments? Either way the burden of effective communication falls on the vendor not the customer. Not to mention four service reps lecturing a customer is ridiculous.

    At the end of the day, after waiting an hour and a half, one laptop was fixed and the other two needed to be left behind for further work.

    According to,  for any customer worth more than $20 a year, it’s always cheaper to answer their needs and keep them happy than lose their business. I doubt this one-time sour experience is enough to push our business manager to find new hardware support. Whatever the store’s reason is for not allowing drop-offs anymore, let’s hope it’s a good one. Americans say they tell an average of nine people about good experiences and nearly twice as many (16 people) about poor ones.

    And I’m pretty sure I told more than 16.

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